He writes under an alias and leaves his work as a gift to the city in his signature type-written signal: so basically Batman, but with poetry. ‘Boy Under the Bridge’, known to his mates as Ricky, is a local writer who shares his beautiful work in a unique way, and all to bring a bit of joy to those who discover it.
This is Melbourne’s message of gratitude to Ricky (@boyunderthebridge) for creating and sharing his beautiful poetry with the people of his city – just because.
When we had a chat to Ricky recently, he shared a little more about the motivations behind his work, telling us he began placing his art in public places around 2015 when he moved to Sydney from Brisbane. ‘I was inspired by the street art culture and wanted to contribute – I also can’t draw!’
‘I like street art that inspires people to stop and think – and that surprises people. It has a very synchronistic feel to find something that you need to hear. It can change the tone of someone’s entire day.’
It wasn’t until this year that he took his routine to the next level: ‘I was sadly made redundant at the start of the pandemic, so I start writing more as a way to keep my own spirits up.’ During lockdown, Ricky came up with the idea of making his art more interactive, and so, the treasure hunt began, ‘I noticed more and more people were noticing my pieces and tagging me. They would say things like it brought so much joy to their day. The idea then came to me that I could make a bit of a hunt out of it.’
If that’s not creative enough, Ricky also has a blog where he reflects on different life experiences; ‘my writing reflects where I am personally and what the collective community is experiencing.’ There, Ricky candidly talks about mental health, having struggled with his own for many years.
‘I wanted to live out loud. I think when we do that, others see us and it helps normalise certain experiences for everyone. As I got a hold of things… I entered the non-profit-sector working for mental health organisations such as ReachOut and beyondblue. I also started studying a graduate diploma in counselling last year, so it’s all coming together.’
One of his reasons for creating his art is to help others, or even encourage them to help themselves: ‘I had a recent conversation with a friend about endometriosis – I then wrote something about invisible illnesses. Everywhere I can, I suggest people embrace their own forms of expression.’
We can’t help but appreciate that Ricky’s poetry perfectly captures the unique moment in time we have all been facing this year. And that those who discover a tiny piece of @boyunderthebridge poetry might just be very grateful for its message and the pieces’ ability to make a simple moment unexpectedly meaningful.
‘Since an early age I noticed how fleeting everything was. How quick time moves. I enjoy reading old posts and seeing how much I’ve grown and changed. And even how hard things once were, then seeing how proud I am for sticking things out.’
And today, what is Ricky most grateful for? ‘I’m grateful for opportunities like this. I’ve been writing since 2013 publicly – and being recognised has helped me to appreciate the value I, and other artists offer the world.’
Imagine if we all chose to spend more time on the things we love, whether that be an art form, a sport, or curling up with a good book. Taking time for yourself and your hobbies is good for the soul, and you never know, you might even create something meaningful just as Ricky has done with @boyunderthebridge
If you’d like to read more of Ricky’s material, his book is called Living in Cream, and is available for free download on www.boyunderthebridge.com.
Who are you grateful for? Say thank you the best way we know how, by sharing your story onsharegratitude.com