BYU alumna creates ‘I Miss Everything About You’ art series

The picture Barker took on her way to the Great Salt Lake that inspired her installation essay series. (Emily Dyer Barker)

A local artist and BYU alumna is working on her final installment of her Public Spectacle Essay series, “I Miss Everything About You.” 

Emily Dyer Barker saw the words “I Miss Everything About You” scrawled in graffiti while traveling to the Great Salt Lake. The graffiti was written on a concrete barrier and stood out to her. After exiting the freeway, she turned around to take a picture of the sentence with her flip phone.

The words had been erased when she returned later, but she “couldn’t forget the vulnerable desperation those five words on vertical concrete offered.”

That graffiti inspired two public installations: “How to Write a Crazy Love Letter” and “Acceptable Reasons to Cry in Public.”

“The five words are both a love letter and an essay of grief,” she said in a press release. “I’m curious to see what will happen as we honor these words with this installation.”

She wrote that although she won’t ever know the reactions and feelings of all the people who viewed the posters, she “felt connected” while printing them and sending them off into the world.

Emily Dyer Barker uses letterpress printing to promote love and awareness through her art installations. (Emily Dyer Barker)

Barker hopes to gather 250 people to contribute to the project. Everyone participating will be emailed a survey about a person they miss in their life.

Anonymous responses will be used in an essay she will write to be printed on posters, with each poster showcasing a different part of the essay. Barker hopes this will be just as successful as her last installation’s essays.

The first installation essay of the series, “How to Write a Crazy Love Letter,” was mailed to 150 people. Barker hand-delivered 150 sets to her students, classmates and teachers. There was great public response as thousands of posters were installed throughout Salt Lake City and Utah County.

With the help of writer Kate Finlinson, Barker’s essay installation, “Acceptable Reasons to Cry in Public,” gathered a sum of 310 curators in November 2012. Working with the curators, they installed the project throughout several countries, including Canada, England, Spain, Australia, South Africa and across the United States.

“We found out about the events at Sandy Hook Elementary when one of our curators tweeted that learning about the shooting was an acceptable reason to cry in public. Due to the immense sadness of that devastating event, we decided to discontinue the digital installation of the project,” Finlinson explained in a press release this month.

Letterpress printing is a very physical process, so Barker is connected to her art. She hopes the installation series will inspire people to feel connected to their communities and be more loving.

“I see each poster as a handwritten love letter designed to connect with whoever witnesses it,” Barker wrote on her Kickstarter page.

More information is available through the project’s Twitter account.

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