If you are driving through Washington state, a very strange billboard may catch your eye as you zip past on the highway. What you're seeing is Lead Pencil Studio's "Non-Sign II", a roadside anti-advertisement that may at first appear to say nothing, but in fact carries an important message that shouldn't be ignored.
Built near the U.S. and Canadian border in Blaine, Washington, the massive structure is made of stainless steel rods that resemble a pile of hairpins, or even television static. The tangled steel forms a window to a clear view of the sky and landscape ahead.
In an age where we are inundated with advertisements that distract us from what we are doing and where we are going, the “Non-Sign II” does the exact opposite by reminding us of our surroundings.
Lead Pencil Studio’s Daniel Mihalyo says, “Borrowing the effectiveness of billboards to redirect attention away from the landscape… this permanently open aperture between nations works to frame nothing more than a clear view of the changing atmospheric conditions beyond.”
Questioning consumer culture is a reoccurring theme of Lead Pencil Studio’s work. This stunning billboard gives us a break from constant images, colors, and words, and reintroduces us to the simple beauty of the environment.
Perhaps more surprising than the structure itself is that it was commissioned the federal government. This grand gesture is a step towards growing national interest in the environment, and even good taste in art!
Images by Ian Gill courtesy of Lead Pencil Studio