Clinton Hill-based artist Perryn Ryan makes saying ‘no’ a practice, and she doesn’t feel bad about it.

But when she recently got asked to design two giant murals on the theme that saying no is beautiful, alongside work by poet Arielle Estoria, the answer was a resounding “yes.”

“I was excited and I’m still very excited,” she told BK Reader on Wednesday.

The murals and poem were commissioned by Pure Leaf tea to raise awareness about preventing burnout, as the city opens again slowly after the worst of the pandemic.

Artist Perryn Ryan is pictured with the No is Beautiful Mural by Pure Leaf and Arielle Estoria on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021 in New York. (Stuart Ramson/AP Images for Pure Leaf)

Alongside Estoria’s poem “The Beautiful Art of No,” the murals seek to remind people to create space for the things that are really important to them.

“For me especially, no is an integral word in my daily life, Ryan said. “It’s how I create space in my life.”

The illustrator and visual artist said she hoped the murals and poem inspired people to find balance for themselves and start saying no to things so they might create more space for themselves.

“It’s definitely something I’ve made more of a practice as I’ve gotten older,” she said.

Poet, Arielle Estoria is pictured with the No is Beautiful Mural by Pure Leaf and Arielle Estoria on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021 in New York. (Stuart Ramson/AP Images for Pure Leaf)

“For me, no, is a big part of implementing boundaries and not letting myself be kind of sacrificed at the expense of other people’s desires and wishes,” she said.

Spoken word poet Estoria agreed.

“As an LA-based entrepreneur, I’ve previously succumbed to societal pressures to say ‘yes’ when I wanted to say ‘no,'” she said.

“However, I’ve since learned the strength of saying ‘no’ – not only does it alleviate stress, but it unlocks opportunities to explore new passions and achieve a healthy work-life balance.”

No is Beautiful Murals by Pure Leaf and Arielle Estoria on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021 in New York. (Stuart Ramson/AP Images for Pure Leaf)

Pure Leaf has dubbed this month “NO-vember.”

In Brooklyn, the mural — which features stylistic flowers, fruits and bodies sketched in bright pops of color on a black background — covers two walls of a building under the William Vale Hotel.

Ryan said, after weeks of simply seeing the design on a computer screen, seeing them in large scale was “surreal.”

As well as the mural project, Pure Leaf is creating a “No Burnout, More Balance Program”, which will issue $100,000 worth of grants to help alleviate and prevent burnout in association with the entrepreneurial nonprofit Ladies Who Launch.

The program will provide grants to business owners within the Ladies Who Launch community as a way to prioritize balance, ease stress and relieve burnout.

Recipients, participants of LWL’s 2021 Launch Program, can put the funds toward anything that alleviates their workload and prevents burnout – whether it be childcare, mental health counseling, wellness, mindfulness or community-building activities, Pure Leaf said.

The murals will be on display in Williamsburg at Wythe Ave and 13th Street, and in Manhattan at 8th Ave and 35th Street,  now through November 21. 

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Jessy Edwards

Jessy Edwards is a freelance writer based in Bushwick. Originally from New Zealand, she has written for the BBC, Rolling Stone, NBC New York, CNBC and her hometown newspaper, The Dominion Post, among others.

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