NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In a story about stories, one Brooklyn artist has found a way to give voice to thousands of people.
Every last one of the 3,500 hand-written anonymous letters Brandon Doman has collected is part of his “Strangers Project.” The guidelines to participate are simple, according to Doman.
“I invite people to share anything about your life, as long as it’s true,” he said. “The result is an incredible range of stories.”
Over the last nine years, Doman has traveled to more than 100 U.S. cities to gather the notes. They’re from random strangers who write down their deepest stories, and even some secrets, which are then put on display at art galleries, street fairs, and social media.
“The people who choose to share, for a lot of them, it could be incredibly cathartic,” Doman said. “One of the most common things is when people hand in stories is they say, ‘Wow I didn’t realize I needed to write that’.”
Several letters are dated, but not one of them has a name attached to it. It allows readers to connect and relate to complete strangers.
“You can see everyone’s different perspective on things and everyone has a story to tell,” Port Jefferson resident Sena Bozkurt said.
Some stories, like a woman who’s lactose intolerant who refuses to give up cheese, are funny while others, like dozens dealing with the death of a family member, are sad. Still others offer shocking honesty, such as one which reads “I was born in Colombia to a prostitute and a drug addict.”
“These stories come from people we share a space with every day and we don’t often get to explore these stories,” Doman said.
The Fountain House Gallery in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood is hosting the latest “Stranger Project” pop-up. It will be there until this Sunday.