Artist gives out free paintings

SAN FRANCISCO Bren Bataclan has a plan - he wants to lift people's spirits in the Bay Area by giving away 30 paintings before the middle of January.

"I think as an artist during this downturn this is the best way that I can help out - to just spread cheer and be positive," said Bataclan.

But there's even art in the way Bataclan gives away the cartoon inspired art work. This time, the art giveaway is at Montgomery and Market Streets in San Francisco. As always, attached to the artwork is a note that says, everything's going to be alright, and instructing the viewer to just help themselves to the painting.

For 30 minutes there are lots of lookers, but no takers. One woman stopped by for a good long look and walked away, but moments later - she returned to take the painting home, obviously very pleased with her free gift.

"I thought if I didn't take it, I would be thinking about it all day - and think it would be really cool to have a painting that I got on my way to work - and be able to have it in my house and to always remember this day - it's kind of cool," said Hillary Lounsbury, SF resident.

This Daly City raised, Boston based artist, has given away his work in 20 U.S. cities and 20 different countries - usually near where there's been bad economic news, maybe an unemployment office, or a company that's had layoffs. Last week, he heard back from a man who had just found his art work at Yerba Buena Gardens.

"He was about to lose his job and thanked me because it helped him be hopeful about the whole economy," said Bataclan.

He'll never forget what he heard shortly after starting the giveaway back east five years ago:

"This woman found it the first week of her chemotherapy and she visited me, and hugged me, and said it helped her deal with that first week of chemotherapy," said Bataclan.

Bren says this artwork finds the people not the other way around. So if one of his pieces finds you - Bren would like you to send him a little note to reassure him that everything will be alright.

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