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'Before I Die' Installation In West Hollywood Reveals Angelenos' Deepest Dreams

What's the one thing you want to do before you die? Angelenos will get the chance to answer this question publicly thanks to the artists at Before I Die, a public art project that invites residents to write their deepest wishes on a street-facing chalk billboard.

The "Before I Die" chalkboard went up Tuesday night around the construction zone for the upcoming DBA nightclub on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood. Bowls of chalk are on hand so that people can complete the sentence, "Before I die I want to...". According to a rep for DBA, the blank spaces filled up in about 12 hours and people have been writing or drawing on any open space since.

The responses range from serious (proving haters wrong) to zany (becoming an immortal vampire). There's a surprising amount of scat on the board (who would want to poop on a cow?) and a bunch of Los Angeles or California-focused ones: pass the bar exam, meet Kobe Bryant and go to Burning Man.

Yes, it's kind of morbid. Not only is it basically a list of people's unfulfilled desires and goals, it also confronts viewers with an uncomfortable reality: many of these people will never be able to realize their dreams. But the piece is also brimming with life and hope and urgency. To quote the immortal words of Andy in "Shawshank Redemption," this board reminds us to "get busy living, or get busy dying."

The billboard will stay up for at least one month, and workers will wash it clean every Sunday morning so that more people can write responses in the blank spaces. DBA is set to open in early November.

Check out some photos of the very first responses in West Hollywood and see the project's past appearances in DC and Chicago.

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  • London, UK

    The elusive <a href="http://www.banksy.co.uk/" target="_blank">Banksy</a> is probably the most famous street artist in the world, and London is Banksy's stomping ground. Known for his cleverly scathing stencils, Banky's work has been torn from walls across the world and sold at auction. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/12/21/new-banksy-paintings-london-mayfair-canary-wharf_n_1162337.html#slide=545163" target="_blank">Head over to London's Canary Warf, and you'll spot this stencil of a girl falling with a shopping cart, which was painted in 2011. A month later, Banksy painted the words ""Sorry! The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock" on the same building. </a>

  • Los Angeles, CA

    The <a href="http://www.colapublib.org/libs/whollywood/index.php" target="_blank">West Hollywood Library</a> on San Vicente Blvd. in Los Angeles may be the best place to spot the big names in L.A. street art. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/13/west-hollywood-library-murals-unveiled_n_1009014.html#s406553" target="_blank">In 2011, the library commissioned Los Angeles artists <a href="http://kennyscharf.com/" target="_blank">Kenny Sharf</a>, Retna, and <a href="http://www.obeygiant.com/" target="_blank">Shepard Fairey</a> to decorate the building's walls.</a> Fairey's mural (left) features his peace dove and elephant motifs in his unmistakeable style.

  • New York, NY

    One of New York's most celebrated artists is the Brooklyn-based paste-up master <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/hryckowian/galleries/72157621980500654/" target="_blank">Swoon</a>. Her work can be seen in the Williamsburg and Bushwick neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Read more about her work <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jaime-rojo-steven-harrington/whats-new-in-bushwick_b_1572690.html" target="_blank">here. </a>

  • São Paulo, Brazil

    São Paulo is a destination for street artists, and many graffiti kings from around the world have brought their paint cans to the city. In this mural <a href="http://www.brooklynstreetart.com/theblog/" target="_blank">Jaime Rojo and Steven Harrington from Brooklyn Street Art</a> introduced to us, local artist <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jaime-rojo-steven-harrington/eduardo-kobra-pays-honor-to-oscar-niemeyer_b_2707936.html" target="_blank">Kobra honors the late master architect Oscar Niemeyer.</a> Eduardo Kobra. Installation.

  • Paris, France

    While Paris has a lively street art culture, native <a href="http://www.jr-art.net/" target="_blank">JR</a> has garnered the most international fame. JR has exhibited his giant black-and-white photos in cities all over the world from Japan to Palestine to New York. In 2009, JR decorated the River Seine with this image of a woman's eye for part of his <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/jr-book-women-are-heroes_n_1475269.html#slide=936422" target="_blank">"Women Are Heroes" exhibit where he covered public spaces across the globe with images of women. </a> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/19/inside-out-project-new-york-city-jr-times-square_n_3103236.html" target="_blank">Most recently, JR just completed a massive photographic installation in Times Square, New York. </a>

  • Moscow, Russia

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/03/p183-dead-street-artist-russian-banksy-dies_n_3006544.html" target="_blank">A month ago, Pasha P183 -- known as the "Russian Banksy" -- died at age 29. </a> His works in Moscow have given the city a claim to graffiti fame, and P183's secretive personality made him internationally notorious. In the image to the left, the Russian words read, "Give to get a ticket home."

  • Atlanta, GA

    Last August, Atlanta held the first all-female street art conference, <a href="http://livingwallsconference.com/" target="_blank">"Living Walls, The City Speaks,"</a> which included work from 26 female street artists. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jaime-rojo-steven-harrington/living-walls-atlanta-2012_b_1774430.html" target="_blank">In the image to the right, Harlow Cregar (left) with her mother, Atlanta-based artist Sarah Emerson (right), show off their work in a gallery show. </a>

  • Cork, Ireland

    <a href="http://conorsaysboom.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">Conor Harrington</a> was born in Ireland, and his paintings appear all over his hometown, Cork. His style is a unique mix of classical portraits and abstract graffiti. <a href="http://www.lazinc.com/artist/conor-harrington" target="_blank">Harrington has been quoted that he uses "the male figure, referring to the masculinity of urban culture."</a>

  • Tel Aviv, Israel

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jaime-rojo-steven-harrington/the-new-face-of-tel-aviv-street-art_b_3143131.html" target="_blank">Tel Aviv has become a hotbed for street art in the last five years, according to the blog Brooklyn Street Art. </a>Amid a climate of political turmoil, young artists have taken to the streets. If you're lucky when taking a stroll, you might spy <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Know-Hope/86464933524" target="_blank">Know Hope's long-limbed figures with red hearts</a> or even <a href="http://respect-mag.com/street-art-jack-tmls-characters-floating-in-the-meaningless/" target="_blank">Jack TML's work</a> (featured in the photo to the left).

  • Tabriz, Iran

    Street art in Iran doesn't last long. It's both illegal and scarce. <a href="http://narrative.ly/the-spirit-of-storytelling/icy-sot-conquer-the-art-world/" target="_blank">According to a feature on the Iranian pair Icy and Sot in Narritively, the duo estimates that there are only 6-10 active graffiti artists in Iran. </a>Originally from Tabriz, <a href="http://icyandsot.com/" target="_blank">Icy and Sot</a> documented their work in Iran before it could be covered up.

  • Buenos Aires, Argentina

    In Buenos Aires, there's no need to paint under the cover of darkness. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/06/argentina-street-art_n_3224835.html" target="_blank">The city's lax policy on street art has made the city a haven for famous graffiti artists across the world. </a> Argentinian born Martin Ron has completed murals all over Buenos Aires. In this image, he adds details to a sea turtle he first painted last November.

  • Grottaglie, Italy

    Grottagile is home of the <a href="http://www.famefestival.it/" target="_blank">Fame Festival</a>, a DIY street art even where top artists around the world descend on the city, and the city remains spattered in famous works year-round. If Banksy is the king of London street art, then <a href="http://www.blublu.org/" target="_blank">Blu</a> rules Italy. He has various works in Grottaglie and others across the globe.

  • Dresden, Germany

    Dresden's urban art makes it a city within a city thanks to <a href="http://www.evoltaste.com/" target="_blank">EVOL.</a> In his "Buildings" series, EVOL stencils windows onto walls or street furniture to create miniature cities. <a href="http://www.urbanghostsmedia.com/2011/06/evol-street-art-urban-art-miniature-abandoned-cities/" target="_blank">For one work, EVOL painted an abandoned 8x10 meter hole in a Dresden warehouse to create a whole, apocalyptic-looking cityscape. </a>

  • Lisbon, Portugal

    Based and born in Lisbon, <a href="http://alexandrefarto.com/" target="_blank"></a> creates his large-scale portraits by demolishing surfaces instead of painting on top of them. His <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/03/street-artists-vhils-expl_n_831034.html" target="_blank">process is just as explosive as the finished works,</a> with debris spraying everywhere as he blasts away abandoned walls.

  • Katowice, Poland

    Every year the Polish city holds its annual <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/17/katowice-street-art-festival_n_1522100.html#slide=983830" target="_blank">Katowice Street Art Festival</a>, welcoming artists near and wide to help turn the Eastern European cultural center into one of the best open air galleries in the region. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/escif" target="_blank">Escif</a>'s giant light switch plastered on the side of an apartment building, painted in 2012, is just one example of the city's impressive treasure trove of beautiful murals.

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