There’s no denying that street art is constantly evolving. It’s not just on the walls of alleyways, or tags on the sides of buildings, it seems like street artists are finding more and more canvases to work with.
So when art took to the traffic signal boxes of Brisbane, Stan Been decided that everyone should sit up and take notice. He started his Instagram account, yornats just over a year ago when he was first diagnosed with cancer. He shared photos with his followers of the amazing art painted or sprayed on the traffic signal boxes across Brisbane as he went for walks during his recovery.
We caught up with Stan to chat about the cool, weird and awesome traffic box art he’s found around Brisbane (and beyond). Thanks Stan!
Why did you start Instagramming about traffic signal boxes?
After being diagnosed with cancer, I had to stop some of the physical parts of my job, so I ended up with some spare time. It was during this time that a friend introduced me to Instagram. I was always fascinated and impressed by the artwork on the traffic signal boxes and so I decided to take a picture and upload it on to Instagram with a little pun related to its artwork and location everyday. That first post was 85 weeks ago! I have done one every day since then.
What do you enjoy most about Instagramming?
The thing that I enjoy most is the feedback and comments that I get on each post. I have followers and relationships with people from all around the world from my account: Ukraine, Israel, South America are just a few. It’s so nice to connect with such a diverse group of people and I hope that I give them something that makes them smile each day.
How do you choose and hear about the latest traffic signal box art?
When I first started, I drove around to find a daily traffic signal box to post about, but after a while, it became harder to find new content. A few months later, I found the organisation that coordinates the project throughout Brisbane called Urban Smart Projects. They list the location and artist’s details of each signal box. This allowed me to find them more easily.
Can you pick 3 of your favourite traffic signal box art that you've photographed and tell us why you love them?
My favourite signal box is actually one that is a painting of me! After months of taking signal box photos each day, my family helped organise local artist Aileen Timbrell to paint a lovely portrait as a surprise gift for me. I get to drive past it regularly, which is lovely.
Two of my other favourites include Spaceman by Richard Kirwood and Lara, along with Divine Fruit by Frances Rowland Wregg and Colin Wregg. They both have amazing detail and Divine Fruit features striking pop art, which I love.
Why puns? Have you always had the gift for a good word play?
Even as a kid at school, I liked to be the funny guy with words, so for as long as I can remember I’ve never been short of a pun. I drove my parents mad, my brothers mad, my wife mad and my kids mad. But it’s nice to be able to make people laugh and it makes me happy when I see people enjoying it.
How many times a week can we look forward to a new pic?
I post a picture every day and I started 85 weeks ago. Even when I’ve been in hospital for treatments I haven’t missed a day yet.
When you’re not updating your Instagram followers, where do you like to sit down for a cup of coffee and bite to eat?
I always go back to Fundies in Paddington. It’s healthy, delicious and they have great portion sizes.
Since starting, what adventures has your Instagramming taken you on?
My Instagramming has been great fun. Before I started, I would never have thought I would be chatting with street artists from around the world! It’s been great to connect with such interesting communities and I’ve found people to be really friendly – it’s been lovely to get to know them.