Collaborating with teenage artists and Precita Eyes Muralists Association, Seyed Alavi created a series of 24 temporary text murals in the form of comic book thought balloons. Participating youth were part of the Precita Eyes Urban Youth Arts Program. Estria, a well-regarded spraycan artist, contributed his distinctive lettering style to the project and assisted youth with executing the murals.
Many of the murals were strategically placed over phone booths, bus stops, and other locations where they appeared to be the thoughts of people walking or standing below them. The murals were proposed as temporary (3-6 month) pieces, but some building owners liked and chose to keep them. Six of the mural images were published as a set of perforated postcards in an edition of 2,000.
Before undertaking, “What Do You Think?” Seyed Alavi had completed a number of collaborative public art projects working with youth and featuring text. He has created a number of installations at public sites and in museums and gardens.
Precita Eyes Mural Art Center, established in 1977, and currently located in San Francisco’s Mission District, is a multipurpose community based arts organization that has played an integral role in the city’s cultural heritage. One of only three community mural centers in the United States, Precita Eyes sponsors and implements ongoing mural projects throughout the Bay Area and internationally. In addition, it offers weekly art classes for children and youth.
This project led to the creation of 24 murals between 1999 and 2000.