This Seattle Street Art Only Appears When It's Raining

The invisible sidewalk ink puts a positive spin on the gloomy weather.

Image Rainworks
Rainworks

Seattle may not be America's rainiest city, but it's certainly up there. That wetness, coupled with the dreariness of what seems to be an eternally grey sky, could get a little depressing.

But instead of staying cooped up next time it rains, maybe listening to Death Cab for Cutie because gloomy weather requires channeling high school angst, Seattle locals should consider going for a walk. You might stumble onto a "Rainworks" creation around the city—street art made from a sort of invisible ink that only appears when it's wet.

Like so:

(Courtesy of Rainworks)

Local magician Peregrine Church has created 25 to 30 such "rainworks" around town, with more to come. He hopes the sidewalk messages will bring a little cheer to people who are sick of the blah weather.

"It's sort of the ideal Seattle art," Church says in an introductory video. "It's going to rain no matter what. Why not do something cool with it?"

To write their messages, Church and his friend Xack Fischer spray a biodegradable, environment-friendly, water-repellant coating onto the sidewalk through a stencil. When it rains, the surrounding concrete gets wet, but the sprayed bit of concrete stays dry. Take a look:

(All images courtesy of Rainworks/Peregrine Church)

And here's a video showing how the artists use their invisible ink:

About the Author

  • Tanvi Misra is a staff writer for CityLab covering demographics, inequality, and urban culture. She previously contributed to NPR's Code Switch blog and BBC's online news magazine.