AN ARTIST from Winchester is bringing positivity to the capital by giving them 'a billion hugs'.

Lisa Sharpe's latest art installation named A Billion Hug is currently decorating Routemaster buses in London with positive and uplifting artwork.

Her work aims to inspire people while they travel with supportive messages coupled with colourful imagery, adding more love and good energy into the world.

The idea started 16 years ago, when feeling stressed and burned out at her London gallery job, Lisa saw a double decker bus drive past advertising a horror movie.

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After seeing this, she said she felt a low, dark, negative energy.

She said: "I thought 'how depressing'. Wouldn’t it be so much nicer to see something more uplifting, something more joyful, something like ‘I believe in you’ to remind people to believe in themselves...”.

Hampshire Chronicle: Lisa Sharpe's art installation A Billion Hugs

It was there and then, that she decided she was going to make a difference to people’s lives, rather than spreading fear and sadness, she wanted to spread uplifting messages.

Now, many years later, at a time when the world needs love, hope and optimism more than ever before, Lisa is taking on those very horror movies with her uplifting public art project.

She said: “With so many people struggling with their mental health right now, this is exactly what is needed to make people feel more uplifted and connected.

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“It’s been an unstable time for us all over the last few years with people experiencing unprecedented levels of anxiety and depression, and I wanted to reach out to those who are struggling right now, to remind them to believe in themselves and to feel more loved and connected – to know that they matter.

“The thing is, we never know what someone else is going through... and it’s my intention that ‘A Billion Hugs’ will uplift people as the artworks are seen moving around the streets of London - reaching out and giving someone a visual hug when they need it the most.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Lisa Sharpe's art installation A Billion Hugs

A Billion Hugs is currently on 25 buses within the capital, on the 9 (Hammersmith to Waterloo) and 211 (Hammersmith to Aldwych) bus routes until august 28 2022.

The funding for the project came partially from Lisa herself as well as a swath of donations, where patrons can pay to have names of loved ones written in the background of the art.

Lisa said: "It’s the total opposite of what bus advertisements usually do: trigger a sense of lack and fear so people feel that they need to ‘buy’ something in order to feel better: this is 100 per cent about unconditional love, unconditional giving."

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