WHAT INSPIRES THE INSTALLATIONS?

Have you wondered why we keep making these Giant sculptures year by year, for 10 years? Here's a little backstory from the project's fiction writer:

This project's fiction and spirit is fueled by several factors. It began as a way to engage our community after the Sandy Hook tragedy, but the story that we use to connect people is a universal one of a child who is attempting to support his sick mother. As the writer of the fiction, I draw from my own experience of helping my mother to navigate her cancer.

As soon as I learned that my mom had a malignant brain tumor in 1998 and that she had 8 days to live, I drove through the night to be by her side. While I was an adult (29 years old) the pain of watching someone suffer -- especially one's own mother -- is never easy. But, as is often the case, inspiration arose from the experience and I draw on that to create the fiction.

I’d always enjoyed driving at night — floating along in a little pool of light in the middle of what feels like outer space. And while you can see very little in the world around you, the light bubble contains all the information needed to stay the course until the first morning light. But this drive was much more difficult than anything I'd experienced before. The thought of arriving at my mother's bedside and telling her that I loved her scared me because I would also be arriving to this new character in our lives who was trying to kill her. And it lived just behind her eyes. How could I hug her and tell her I loved her, when the murderer inside her would also be receiving my affection?

As I drove through the night, I tried to prepare myself not to express my anger about the cancer when I'd see her in just a matter of hours. How could I look in her eyes and express my love while simultaneously feeling anger for the killer just behind her eyes? The closer I got to her house, the more unbearable that thought became.

But, as the sun began to rise, I pulled up into the driveway and a thought occurred to me. If I was to take that walk down the pitch black hallway to her bedroom, there would be absolutely no room for anger in my heart. I had to muster up compassion for the cancer somehow. And something about that thought brought the light of the morning into my heart.

The idea took away that sharp edge of uncertainty and grief. It gave me the the courage I needed to turn the doorknob and to walk to my mom’s bed and to kneel down beside her and hold her hand. With some tears in my eyes, I wasn't sure what would come out of my mouth.

'That tumor in your head isn't a monster. It just doesn't understand that it's hurting you or that you are even its host. I'm here to help it know you so that it can love you and go away.'

My mom and I spent the next year trying to get the cancer’s attention so that we could explain who their world was. I wanted the cells to know how compassionate and smart she was and that caring about her meant that their world would survive, albeit a bit less populated (remission).

Sometimes my mom would get understandably angry so we’d take some play dough in hand and make a big, fat tumor that she could destroy with a wooden spoon. It was cathartic for her to get that anger and grief out. But then we’d get back to trying to show the cells what it meant to be gentle and loving. Surely, if the cancer could meet my mom and know her love, it wouldn’t want to hurt her...

With surgery, she survived 5 years (5 times longer than expected) and she had that time to say goodbye to her loved ones and to be able to come to terms with what was happening to her. And while she didn’t survive, her courage made the world a brighter place for me. That little pool of light and hope we kept alive together was all that mattered. It was our compass then and even though she’s gone now (she passed away in 2003), that light we created in the darkness is still my compass and my purpose. Her name was Marie-Luce, which means light and I am determined to keep that light glowing and using compassion to heal cells. As a team, we at Giant Letter have no doubt that this is an important thing to provide others and that is what drives our project." - Caro

You can learn more about what inspired each year's letter by scrolling down to the bottom of each year's letter, starting with our first one in 2012

WHO IS BOBBY THE GIANT BOY?

Since the Sandy Hook tragedy in December 2012, Giant letters on lined paper between Santa and a fictional boy named Bobby have been appearing in Chicago. The project, which is created annually by Caro, Marj and Laura, aims to produce the overview effect to foster connection between strangers. The artists hope to engage and unite observers of all backgrounds. The fictional atmosphere unfolds into a new chapter, live, every year. Each installation offers a handwritten letter, accompanied by other giant items such as an 9-foot pencil, 3-foot cookies, a 4-foot glass of milk, a 30-foot tape measure, and even smaller and more giant letters included within the giant letters. Our project is slowly filling out the backstory of a giant boy who has a special ability to transform destructive emotions into emotions that can alter his reality in inspiring ways. Here's a little note from our fictional giant boy, Bobby:

Hi, I’m a 100-foot tall boy named Bobby. I may not be a real boy, but my heart is real and that's where my giant letters come from. My mom, Lucinda, and I look forward to getting to know you as I start to come to life and you can visit parts of my world. I like to hear your stories even if they are hard to hear. I know how important words can be to help us understand each other. You can stop by and drop a letter in my mailbox or you can email me if you have something on your heart that you'd like to share.

Love, Bobby