Thursday, November 29, 2007

Renowned Secret-Keeper Bares All

By: The Blue Team

Frank Warren, the “world’s most trusted man” and creator of the PostSecret blog, shared his own secrets with students and faculty at the University of Arizona Tuesday evening.

Warren, who was born in Tucson, spoke to about 125 guests in the Grand Ballroom at the Student Union Memorial Center and discussed the history of his project, shared many previously unseen postcards and concluded with his own view of how the project helps people cope with their emotional and psychological problems.

PostSecret began in 2004 as an art project by Warren. He asked people to anonymously send him a homemade postcard that contained their deepest, darkest secret. He would then take these cards to the Artomatic art exhibit in Washington D.C. and place them on the wall in the space he rented.

The project expanded into the PostSecret blog in 2005. Along with running a business that delivers medical documents, Warren goes through approximately 1,000 cards a week and picks out 20 to post on the blog every Sunday.

“I usually select the postcards that surprise me. But I also select the cards that have a common or universal secret expressed in a new and creative way,” Warren said in a personal interview.

Most of the cards contain only a couple lines and many are elaborately decorated, which is what makes the project aesthetically pleasing in addition to the voyeuristic appeal to the idea.

While Warren says that the secrets range across all aspects of human life from the humorous to the haunting, he claims the most popular secret is “I pee in the shower.”

Warren discussed how he felt that there is something relieving about getting secrets off one’s chest and feels that is easier to tell a stranger who you will never meet or speak to again. By being able to face our secrets we find a sense of self-content and he concluded his speech with that idea.

“We have a choice to bury [the secrets] down deep inside of us or find them and bring them out to the light. Free your secrets and become who you are,” Warren said.

Though the website has had over 100 million visitors, Warren does not feel that is because everyone is a voyeur. He thinks that people can all relate to the “journey” of the person who is revealing and coming to terms with their secret and that is where the collective interest lies.

In addition to running the website and traveling across the country to present lectures and his exhibit, Warren also donates much time and a lot of the money he earns from the project and book sales to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which he was a volunteer for before beginning the project.

Suicide is a common topic of many of the postcards he receives, and Warren said he knows the good work the lifeline does and felt it is important to offer that alternative to those contemplating killing themselves.

His involvement with 1-800-SUICIDE is so strong that when he was approached and offered $1,000 to use his postcards in the All-American Reject video for “Dirty Little Secret” he told them to raise the amount to $2,000 and donate it to the lifeline instead, Warren said in his lecture.

The University of Arizona has its own PostSecret exhibit staged in the Memorial Student Union Gallery where many of Warren’s postcards are hung from the ceiling and some blown up to poster size and placed on the walls. Students can also make their own postcards to be placed on a wall dedicated to members of The University of Arizona community.

The PostSecret project has spawned the release of four books, which those attending could buy at Grand Ballroom and have signed by Warren in the gallery after his speech.

Warren’s website can be found at where one can also buy his books. This is very important, according to Warren, because he feels that there is a much deeper meaning to viewing everyone’s secrets and believes that may be the most important aspect of the project.

“All of us have a secret that will break your heart. If we can remember that and remind ourselves of that then I think there could be more understanding, compassion and peace in the world.”

The exhibit will be held at the Union Gallery next to the Grand Ballroom at the Student Union Memorial Center until Dec. 15.


Frank Warren
Creator of PostSecret
13345 Copper Ridge Road, Germantown, MD 20874-3454

Roula Seikaly
Events Curator For U of A exhibit

Amanda Janek
Arizona Alumnus
Art History

Exhibition Q & A

Name: Brian
Alumnus, Creative Writing

Q: What did you find most interesting about the exhibition/lecture?
A: I thought the output by the anonymous contributors is incredible given the sensitivity of the secrets they share.

Q: What is your biggest secret you haven’t shared?
A: Who knows! I really can’t think of one.

Q: Do you have any secrets?
A: I really don’t know, but this exhibition is making me think.

Q: Would you consider sending your secret to Post Secret if you in fact had one?
A: Perhaps, I like the art aspect of the cards, that may be more fun than sharing the secret itself.

Name: Rebecca
Student, Physiology

Q: What is it that you find interesting about this project?
A: I think it’s like free therapy; it’s relieving to get a secret off your mind after it has burdened you for so long.

Q: Have you contributed to PostSecret?
A: Yes, I sent in a secret along with two of my friends three years ago.

Q: How has that changed the way you see your secret?
A: Well it is in the open now, so I don’t feel like it is much of a secret.

Name: Robert
Alumni, Graduate Student Creative Reading & Culture

Q: How did you hear about the exhibition?
A: I got an email from my son who is an undergraduate here at the university.

Q: What do you feel about the PostSecret project?
A: I think the best part is the interpretation of some of these painful secrets.

Q: You spoke about your experience helping a homeless man during the lecture, why did you share that with everybody?
A: Well, it is not much of a secret, but it is something I have never really talked about and I feel like that’s the nature of the project.

Q: Would you ever consider sending a secret in?
A: Yes, I think I am considering sending in a secret to PostSecret.

Name: Jeff and Kerri
Married, Gardeners

Q: Did you know of Frank Warren before you attended this event?
Jeff and Kerri: Yes.

Q: Have either of you submitted a secret to him?
Jeff and Kerri: No.

Q: Do you think you’ll submit a secret after seeing everybody else’s?
Jeff: No.
Kerri: Probably not.

Q: Are you going to buy any of his books?
Kerri: Not tonight, but my sister is in line waiting to get her book signed.

Q: Was there any particular part of the evening that you especially enjoyed?
Kerri: I really liked it when he revealed the secrets that couldn’t be published in his book.

PostSecret Slide Show

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Videos from PostSecret Blog

Courtesy of
YouTube video from

During Frank Warren's speech he shared this video with the audience. These postcards were banned from being published in his books. Warren has four bestselling books published by HarperCollins. His most recent book "A Lifetime of Secrets: A PostSecret Book" was number seven on the New York Times Best-Seller List.

Courtesy of
YouTube video from

Interview with Frank Warren

Dirty Little Secret Music Video (with PostSecret postcards)

Video Courtesy of
The All-American Rejects - Dirty Little Secret

Frank Warren was contacted by the band The All-American Rejects to use postcards he had received in their music video. They offered him $1,000 and he came back with a compromise that he would let them use the postcards if they donated $2,000 to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

PostSecret - Frank Warren

Frank Warren created from an art project he began in Washington D.C. in 2004.
He has received approximately 190,000 postcards and continues to receive about 1,000 per week.