PostSecret creator divulges truth behind art

Send a postcard to Frank Warren, and he’ll be sure to “keep your dirty little secret.”

Warren, creator of PostSecret, an ongoing community art project that allows people to mail their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade, decorated postcard, talked about his project and books last night at Worsham Theater in the Student Center.

“I collect secrets,” Warren said. “Some call me the most-trusted stranger in America.”

Warren said he started the project in 2004 as part of Artomatic, a five-week multimedia arts event held in Washington, D.C.

“I’m not really an artist,” Warren said. “If anything, I’m an accidental artist.”

Warren said he handed out 3,000 blank, white postcards to people in Washington and told them to put their secret on one side of the card.

“People put their secret on the front with a drawing or painting or picture,” Warren said. “On the back is my home address and postage.”

At the lecture, which was sponsored by Student Activities Board, Warren shared never-before-seen postcards and showed secrets that had been left out of his books because of potential copyright violations or shock value.

Warren, who has helped raise funds for the suicide-prevention hotline 1-800-SUICIDE, said many of the postcards deal with serious personal problems.

“Very few secrets have to do with murder, homicide and crime,” Warren said. “Most have to do with body image, eating disorders and suicide.

“All of us have a secret that would break your heart, if only we knew what it was,” he said.

Warren said there is a connection between the experiences that cause the most pain and the ones that have the most meaning to people.

“The children the world almost breaks become the adults who change it,” Warren said.

Alexa Arnold, an international studies freshman, said she has submitted three secrets to Warren, one of which was included on his Web site (

“I’ve been following PostSecret for three years,” Arnold said. “It feels more personal now that I’ve met (Warren). I told him which secret was mine, and he remembered it.”

Warren said his project would never end.

“I truly believe PostSecret is a community art project and belongs to all of us,” Warren said. “I hope the postcards never stop coming.”