Local Artist Stars in Coca-Cola Commercial

Categories: Art, Installations

jeff waldman salar de uyuni.jpg
Jeff Waldman
One of Waldman's swings hangs in the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Jeff Waldman's clever street art has been steadily gaining traction over the past few years. First displayed in San Francisco, his work was next spotted in L.A., then Reddit, Kickstarter, Bolivia, and eventually in an international Coke commercial.

But Waldman's no vandal, at least, not in the typical sense: a bored kid with a can of spray paint. Rather his medium is simply hanging up swings in unexpected places; the very first swing he built had a brief, sweet life in Golden Gate Park.

"Don't let the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department fool you," Waldman tells us. "Their logo is a little girl on a tree swing, but they have zero interest in the liability of you hanging one." He seeks locations where passersby will notice the swings, but also spots that are hidden away enough to last a while. Of course, property owners rarely welcome the liability that an unexpected swing installation presents, so Waldman's work is often cut down.

His work appeals to adults who don't get quite enough time for play in their busy lives. A swing, he says, is "this perfect vehicle to unadulterated joy and child-like happiness. To push your friends or to have them push you on a big swing where the gravity makes your stomach tense up and the wind whips your hair back -- it really is a moment of bliss that most people have forgotten."

That moment of bliss captured the imagination and play drive of a Coca-Cola advertiser, who approached Waldman to star in a commercial after a successful Kickstarter campaign funded his swing installation trip to Bolivia. Of his decision to work with the company, Waldman says, "The Internet has lowered that barrier of entry and now any artist or creator can achieve some popularity or fame without having to first get signed or vetted. But the question of how to turn that Internet fame into income is still not answered for many of them. Partnering with corporations to gain some traditional exposure and to get compensated for your work seems to be one of the avenues of making it in this new, digital era."

To film the ad, Waldman traveled to Buenos Aires and installed several public swings. Check out the results, below:

Since he started putting up the swings, he estimates he's hung roughly 500, but is quick to note he hasn't really been keeping track. Lately though, his focus has shifted. Instead of installing swings, he's hard at work on a documentary about the project, which will feature footage from his trip to Bolivia. A few cities are also mulling the possibility of inviting Waldman to install permanent swings in their public spaces. "As much as I appreciate the rogue nature of these installations, it would be nice if their lifespan wasn't so short," he says. "The notion that, through play, adults might benefit from moments of stress-free release and laughter is ignored or even shunned. Until that idea changes, my installations are unfortunately more akin to vandalism than anything else."

To see more of Waldman's work, visit his website here.

For more arts & culture coverage, follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook!

My Voice Nation Help

City an state government are fucked up I they think this is vandalism! What this guy does he puts smiles on people faces once they swing! I know I would have a big smile swinging. Reminds me when I was a kid.

Alex Vazquez
Alex Vazquez

Vandalism is really that vague of a term? If this is vandalism then they need to start arresting kids with sidewalk chalk

Now Trending

From the Vault


San Francisco Event Tickets
©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.