Mobile Art Project serves as reminder of everyone’s struggle

Matthew Valerie

By day, 2013 alumna Gerald Llorence is the Communications Coordinator for Houston First. But by night, Llorence runs a mobile art project he created last September called #uspsgerald.

For $5 a month people can subscribe to #uspsgerald and receive a thoughtful art piece each month in the mail.

“I wanted to send people some wonderful things that they didn’t expect, break their hearts just a little bit and gain some new skills along the way,” Llorence said.

The first thing Llorence made and sent to his subscribers was a sticker that read, “Everyone is Struggling.”

Subscribers were encouraged to put the sticker up in different places and tag it on Instagram under the hashtag #uspsgerald.

“The everybody is struggling sticker was a such a perfect first gift because it was a message everyone could relate to,” said Nicole Seligman. The alumna is a #uspsgerald subscriber and old friend of Llorence. “I spent so much time brainstorming where to stick it,” Seligman said.

Seligman’s favorite mail gift from #uspsgerald so far was a collection of postcards that subscribers could send out themselves.

“I immediately knew who I was going to mail them to,” Seligman said. “I love that the project inherently encourages more mail.”

Gifts from other months have included pencils engraved with one-liners like “sorry I’m an only child” and “things won’t change until we do.”

The monthly gifts are inspired by what Llorence sees around him each day.

“I’ve realized it’s so easy to criticize a lot of things in the world,” Gerald said. “Right now, I’m interested in engaging with more and trying to make the things that I want to see out in the world.”

Llorence cited music, scenes from movies and television, and certain phrases in the middle of books as some of the starting inspiration for each of his projects

“Even if it doesn’t always live up to what I’m seeing in my mind, it is fuel for me to continue until I feel like the product can match the expectations I have in my head,” Llorence said.

#Uspsgerald came out of Llorence’s love of making things, and mail.

His senior Graphic Design project at St. Edward’s in 2012, entitled P.S.U.S., involved writing and receiving letters to uncover the meaning and conventions of modern communication.

Llorence’s fascination with mail dates back to his first short story comic, which took place between a blind man and a lady who worked at his post office. He also wrote all throughout college to a high school friend who lived in California.

Gerald has a number of other projects going including a drawings series on Tumblr, but #uspsgerald is his biggest current undertaking.

“It’s the most fun and gives me a lot of freedom but also… a deadline.”

Other than hopes to one day collaborate on a monthly gift with some of his other creative friends, Llorence doesn’t have any long-term expectations for the project.

“I hope that #uspsgerald helps me keep a connection with those that I love and maybe create some new friendships along the way,” the artist said.

The sign-up for #uspsgerald is currently closed because it’s easier for Llorence to stay organized if he doesn’t have to worry about new people subscribing all the time.

“But if someone is really eager, they can email me — I’m too nice,” Llorence said.