Before I Die

Before I Die

by Candy Chang


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After losing someone she loved, artist Candy Chang painted the side of an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood with chalkboard paint and stenciled the sentence, "Before I die I want to _____." Within a day of the wall's completion, it was covered in colorful chalk dreams as neighbors stopped and reflected on their lives. Since then, more than four hundred Before I Die walls have been created by people all over the world. This beautiful hardcover book is an inspiring celebration of these walls and the stories behind them. Filled with hope, fear, humor, and heartbreak, Before I Die presents an intimate portrait of the dreams within our communities and a chance to ponder life's ultimate question.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this hope-filled treatise on finding joy in the everyday, designer Chang illustrates the importance of living life to its fullest. After the unexpected death of someone close to her, the author made it her mission to celebrate her friend’s memory. In her hometown of New Orleans, Chang painted the wall of an abandoned house with chalkboard paint along with the words “Before I die...,” hoping to open people’s eyes to the power of intention. She succeeded beyond her wildest dreams. The movement has spread to more than 30 countries, from China, Australia, the U.S. to the United Arab Emirates and Israel. In 10 languages, people shared their dreams, from the prosaic “Have a good day”—to the heartbreaking “See my mother cancer-free.” Much of the book is given over to photos of these inspiring walls and their call-out quotes of writings , with the author explaining why each of the 48 featured locales was chosen. As a finale, Chang offers instructions on how interested readers can start a wall in their own city. “Each wall is a tribute to living an examined life,” she observes—a powerful and valuable reminder that life is for the living, and that it’s never too late, or too early, to join the party. (Nov.)

From the Publisher

Through a series of large-scale projects that combine installation art with social activism, Chang has encouraged people to engage with public spaces to let their voices be heard.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

“They're the stuff of everyday life from people of all walks of life . . .Young or old, rich or poor, the [Before I Die] wall does make you think as you walk by.” —NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams

Before I Die is merely one of the most creative community projects ever.” —The Atlantic

“A hope-filled treatise on finding joy in the everyday and illustrating the importace of living life to its fullest...A powerful reminder that life is for the living, and it's never too late, or too early, to join the party.” —Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250020840
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/05/2013
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 7.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Customer Reviews