This year Art Critic, Collector and Art Historian, Graham Shearing, juried graduate and undergraduate student works for the Lamar Billboard competition. selecting 7 students to display work around Pittsburgh during the month of April. Lamar Outdoor Advertising continues their generous support by providing public venues to display creative and inventive work by School of Art students.

Felipe Castelblanco

The iconic map of Pittsburgh drawn on the palm of the hand, following the lines of life, suggests a more intimate connection with this place, especially for those who feel they are outsiders. The image, along with the texts, seek also to motivate reflections about identity and place, while recognizing the presence—of an almost invisible—Latino population in Pittsburgh.

Riley Harmon

Agnes Bolt

The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic. Their irises are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness, or forgot them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.."
-F Scott Fitzgerald

Rigel Richardson

You are confronted by two reptiles in a strange, but vaguely familiar landscape. In reality, these creatures inhabit a scanning electron micrograph of stamens from Caliandra haematocephala, the "Powderpuff" plant. Human scale objects are injected into microscopic landscapes, and the newly composed image is reintroduced at an environmental scale. This contextual confusion speaks to the experienced sense of wonder and process of understanding inherent in both artistic and scientistic discovery.
For more images from this series, see:

Jee Choi
Memorial Tribute

Michael Royce

Marat, modeled after David's The Death of Marat, restages Neo-classical painting in the suburban home. One in a series of works, the photographs utilize members of my family and items from my home to reinterpret iconic images in painting. While my original intention was not to have this work displayed on a billboard, a new and more nuanced identity arises from its change in context. As a venue primarily reserved for advertising, certain assumptions are made about the nature of the imagery, subject matter and design of billboards. This project attempts to muddle the usually direct images of advertising and underscore our changing relation to technology.

Julia Cahill

Whether upon a highway into the city or a dirt road to the backwoods, the car window serves as a frame. Watching the scenes pass can be magical and surreal. There is a tempo of trees, billboards, guard rails, buildings and people swooshing by through this lens of the car. As poetic as this may seem having so many scenes beautifully framed, it is instead tragically obscured. The window is more like a wall, separating your body from tangibly experiencing the world. And what remains?

A reflection in the mirror. A mere reflection.

Alexis Roberto

"The swallow flew up. He circled higher and higher, until the people cold no longer see him. His strength began to flow away, but he still went upward. At last he saw an opening in the sky."
-from The Four Worlds, a Hopi legend

The billboard represents a great chasm on our earth, the visualization of a psychological threshold. The size of the billboard, and the chance that someone may stumble upon it unknowingly, allows those who notice it to make a geographical and perhaps metaphysical discovery in the city of Pittsburgh

This year's School of Art billboard project is coordinated by Associate Professor Ayanah Moor. Collaboration with Lamar Outdoor Advertising was initiated in 2007 by Christopher Sperandio, former Jill Kraus Visiting Assistant Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon.

Spring 2010 Billboard Locations


Seven designs by undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Art have been selected by Eric Shiner, Milton Fine Curator of Art at the Andy Warhol Museum, to grace billboards around Pittsburgh during the month of April, 2010. Lamar Outdoor Advertising has generously provided this non-traditional venue for creative interventions, humor and critique on a grand scale. The eighth billboard promotes this years' School of Art/Pittsburgh Filmmakers free public screening "Caught Looking IV" on view April 28 at PNC Park.

2010 Artists: Agnes Bolt (MFA '12), A.C. Harkness (BFA '10), Riley Harmon (MFA '12), Christie Lau (BFA '10),
Lara Mann (BFA '11), Alissa Osial (BFA '10) and Rob Southard (MFA '11).

The School of Art billboard project is coordinated by Professor of Art, Andrew Ellis Johnson. Collaboration with Lamar Outdoor Advertising was initiated in 2007 by Christopher Sperandio, former Jill Kraus Visiting Assistant Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon.

For information on theinaugural project, visit:
For further information contact the School of Art:

Riley Harmon
Billboard Simulation, 2010
Liberty Av 100 ft W/O Herron NS

We glorify our interfaces for projecting ourselves into a simulation of what is or could be. We copy a clothing ad and paste a simulation of our head on the body. We see an image of a place on Google and project ourselves into it. Copy paste experiences. "You may open the door of your room, or you may click on a folder at the desktop of your computer: both actions will send you to similar destinations: two versions of reality, apparently impeccable and dense, but which will dissolve after you start to analyze them." (neen manifesto)

A.C Harkness
Parkway Ramp 150 ft W/O Bd Of Allies NS

"MY BAD". It is a popular expression said quickly and in passing. One utterance of "my bad" and the speaker has regained control of a situation — has accepted liability and fault yet retains power. One "my bad" and the speaker has faced something negative which he is responsible for and accepted it — owned up to it. This use of this phrase provides a means of casually taking responsibility for our own actions, and potentially opening a path to self-reflection and the confrontation of the darker side of ourselves. My interest in the phrase is connected to the fact that it is the wording I have chosen for the name of my company. MYBAD, the company, is an organization that sells clients their own faults, fears, anxieties, and neuroses in the form of monstrous designs embodying their inner "bad". The idea being that once you own a MYBAD product, or "Baddie", you own that part of yourself which you hate, the part you cannot face directly, nor completely suppress or give in to. In literally owning a Baddie you can "own" and take control over that which has been controlling you.

Each Baddie is born of an intensive interview process with clients whereby a MYBAD officiator works with the client to identify the "bad" in them. The interview is then reanalyzed and the Baddie is given a name and shape which are then visualized in a design and materialization, a physical manifestation of the Baddie, which is the end product of the MYBAD interaction. Baddies resulting from the interviews are also available for purchase on the MYBAD website so that anyone who identifies with a particular Baddie can use it to own up to their own inner "bad".

Lara Mann
Luck Is For Those Who Believe
5th Av 500 ft E/O Birmingham Br SS

I believe in the details; the tiniest sincere motivations are some of the most beautiful things in life.

You would be crazy to believe your dearest wishes will come true, but why not?

Allissa Osial
Welcome to Pittsburgh
Bigelow Bd 75 ft W/O Herron NS

I am a proud, born and raised Pittsburgher. I've had the privilege to travel the world at a young age and there has never been another city that compares to my hometown. No sight makes me happier than coming thru the Fort Pitt tunnels and seeing the Pittsburgh skyline. I grew up anticipating the opening of Kennywood when I could finally ride the Jack Rabbit and eat Potato Patch fries again. I own more black and gold clothing than any other colors. I wave my terrible towel, and my Mondays are twice as bad if the Stillers lose. It's called the Igloo and it's where I watch the Pens. Heinz Field and PNC Park will never be Three Rivers Stadium where I grew up terrified of the Pirate Parrot. I worsh my clothes, Heinz is the only ketchup I will use, Mineos has the best Pizza, and I only know how to give directions by using landmarks.

For this billboard I wanted to create something that highlighted one of the many things I love about the City of Champions. Pittsburghese is a language all its own that I grew up with and was unaware for years that people outside of da burgh didn't say words like yinz and redd up. I wanted the billboard to be informative for people new to Pittsburgh who have yet to learn our way of talking, but most importantly I wanted it to be a monument to the city I love, n'at.

Agnes Bolt
everything and nothing
Arlington Av 400 ft S/O E Carson ES

I imagine that within this single white board every advertisement has been blasted out and plastered on until all messages have become one. Can we continue to process information at the rate that it comes? Or perhaps there is a synchronization we can reach by taking it all on at once? Tricked by the silence of this board is really the disquietude of loss of comprehension. Everything produces that which appears to our eyes as nothing- the color white.

James R. Southard
Happy National Louis Braille Awareness Month
Craig St 250 ft S/O Bigelow WS

What I am interested in this project is to take the billboard and play with its role as a advertisement. Application languages like Braille are only useful for a minority of people with a specific disability. When in an environment a billboard is impossible to read it becomes an object more than a message board. There is a humor in using this language to confuse the viewer. I hope that this gesture is not seen as at the expense of the blind. I developed the idea of accurately translating a English Braille code to call attention to what is perceptible.

Christie Lau
You Hive Reshare Dust Innate Shone
S 18th St 300 ft N/O Josephine WS

The words on this billboard describe the journey from point A to point B. By listening to the sound of his or her own voice, these strange written words are realised into an intelligible sentence. The reader has arrived at a resolved comprehension of these words by repeating them. At point B, the poetic structure of the words have been translated into the cold, robotic affirmation of a GPS. Yet, as the viewer heads to his or her point B, they have unwittingly been telling him or herself that they are already there.

Spring 2010 Billboard Locations


Carnegie Mellon School of Art joined with Lamar Outdoor Advertising to presenting eight new public artworks installed around the city throughout the month of April, 2009. Organized by Professor of Art Andrew Ellis Johnson working with colleague Ayanah Moor, selections were juried by curator, author and critic Vicky A. Clark. Selected ndergraduate and graduate artists include: Seth Boyles, Meaghan Callen, David Kennedy, Julia Kennedy, Amanda Long, Leslie McAhren, Haydee Naula and James Southard.

The School of Art's collaboration with Lamar Outdoor Advertising was initiated in 2007 by Christopher Sperandio, former Jill Kraus Visiting Assistant Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon. For information on the inaugural project, visit:

For further information contact: Andrew Johnson at

M. Callen
I am so tired of being a man.
Billboard #5, E CARSON ST N/L 100' E/O 6TH ST

One idea of popular convention is that there are certain things you just can't say out loud. I am so tired of being a man confronts the viewer with an anonymous and universal confession that hinges on just that sort of sentiment. The text, which can appear both comical and serious, speaks to intimate feelings that belie the extreme nature of billboard advertisement. The image borrows from the clean, direct style of mass advertising while ascribing to a more resigned, bleak outcome. The minimal use of design with the stark black text on white background reflects various low-budget forms of information dissemination–from office memos to "For Lease" signs. However, unlike the propagation of typical advertising, there is an intrinsic curiosity to seeing a phrase that is at once self-critical and self-effacing broadcast so loudly in the public sphere.

David Kennedy
Front Line
Billboard #7, FORWARD AVE S/L 500' W/O MURRAY AVE

A Russian soldier of the Crimean War, as represented in a nineteenth´┐Ż]century engraving, is carried through space in an algorithmic procession towards a point in space, infinitely far away. His posture is defensive, yet he loads his gun to fire at the enemy he faces, a mirror image of himself. The piece is loaded with connotation: the style of the image and its subject imply that it comes from a bygone era, yet the manipulation of the image is dependent on relatively new technology.

In this contrast lies the heart of the piece. The character was initially created to represent an event which was concluded long ago. The billboard provides a forum for examining such an event. Has this event resurfaced in a new manifestation? Are the issues surrounding that event still relevant today? As a society, we have made mistakes in the past and have suffered the consequences. Unfortunately, we do not always remember these mistakes, and we repeat them. And by repeating mistakes, we have no enemy but ourselves.

Leslie McAhren
Happy Birthday
Billboard #2, ARLINGTON AVE E/L 400; S/O E CARSON

The first real friend I made all by myself was Suzanna Chatterjee. We were complete strangers until kindergarten small talk unearthed a cosmic connection: we share the same birthday (April 27). As a result of our connection, we became fast friends and I was willing to trade shoes with her any day of the week. After fifth grade, Suzanna and I made independent mid-school choices and went our separate ways. Yet when Facebook became a tool for re-linking old friends, she got back in touch with me (on our birthday, no less).

My thinking is that there's some kind of umbilical calendar that binds us all — not in an astrological way, but rather the fact that we all have this 365/6-day cycle in common. Within every cycle everyone has a Personal Holiday, which people inevitably have in common with other people. I hope to use my public address to point at our omnipresent calendar system and say, "hey, that's interesting." But also -- and perhaps more importantly -- I wish to reach out and celebrate a series of Personal Holidays. I think it's important for all us to grapple with the fact that everyday is special for someone.

James Southard
Billboard #1, 5TH AVE N/L 500' E/O KIRKPATRICK

Memories are among our most sacred treasures. Remembering how an event happened or how a loved one looked does not conjure simple or singular mental images. Usually when you think of these things, multiple images arise in your mind: your grandmother's face, as well as her hands, her out-of-date dress, and the way she always decorated her living room. Such impressions flood your mind when recalling people and places.

Due to the pliable nature of the digital medium, I am able to manipulate the images of my past and present to echo the way I recall them. For the past few years I have been documenting environments in a warped and nontraditional way, without realizing my true motivations. I now recognize a conscious connection between my photographic style and my notions regarding memory.

Lately, my family has fallen under difficult times. My father's declining mental state, due to Alzheimers, has taken a sharp turn for the worse in the past few months. With his extreme memory loss came my own realization that the ability to reflect on our past is a privilege not to be taken for granted. I feel that vivid moments in one's life cannot be expressed in single photographs, but are better conveyed through elaborate replicas that show the remembered moment in all its aspects. I do not exclude significant facets just because they resist fitting into a single frame. Now more than ever, I hesitate to erase a memory, whether real or photographic.

Julia Kennedy
Billboard #3, BIGELOW BLVD S/L 20' E/O HERRON

The image itself is a representation of a scene so isolated and morbid, that the characters psychologically are plunged into darkness. Desolate and away from the suggestion of humanity, the characters gaze is transfixed far away from the frame, viewing a place that is not (unlike the photograph) infinitely suspended in time. Their gender ambiguity lends itself to a mingled fraternity that is only mirrored in their blank faces and longing eyes. A male and a female, forced to stand alone in the unknowing horror of reality. The photograph lends itself in its medium to creating an image representative of only a single moment. In this way, the characters and their surroundings reflect a longing and an absurdity that can only be viewed from this single perspective, a fleeting emotion that is captured through the flicker of a lens. While the image's narrative is important, its simplicity does not do justice to the complexity of the composition. The expressions, clothing, and surroundings hold more conceptual weight.

Amanda Long
Vertical Garden
Billboard #8, LIBERTY AVE N/L 100' E/O 32ND

This billboard is a vertical garden for the contemporary urban landscape. The body and the landscape get mixed up in my mind. Ancient cultures had a primary relationship to the earth. Dependent on the land for survival, early humans were intimately connected with natural phenomena and weather patterns. However, today we live in a manmade environment and this awareness and awe for the universe is largely absent from our daily life. Much of nature is experienced through car windows and through layers of technology such as computer screens. Yet there is still a need, a deep desire I believe for a sense of wonder about the landscape. With my garden billboard I want to tap into this spiritual void, to evoke a feeling of reverence for the natural world by placing the viewer in sight of dreamscape, a vision of paradise where love and nature conquer all.

Seth Boyles
Billboard #6 FORBES AVE N/L 50' E/0 MOULTRIE

I guess you could look at this billboard a couple of ways--maybe as a joke about what sort of predicament someone who chooses an education in a field like creative writing or art faces when they graduate, or, more generally, a joke about what sort of predicament we are all going into, recent graduate or not, as the economy continues into its recession. It's a joke that I'm finding less funny by the day.

Billboard Locations: