Frequently Asked Questions About Street Painting...
Are you available to do special events?
Yes! Every event is unique, and I enjoy working with people to create a piece that will be truly eye catching, memorable and create a buzz for your event. I am available for weddings, corporate events, product promotions, wine/food events, arts/music events, etc.
How long does it take? When did you start this work?
We usually start around 8 or 9 in the morning and work until dusk, then again on the next day from 8am until we finish. It depends on the complexity of the work, how large it is and how many people work on it. I sometimes use an assistant for large pieces.
What do you charge?
Every event is different (hours required, complexity and size of work, travel expenses), so I prefer to get all the details and work up a customized quote specific to that event. Please feel free to call or email me to discuss your project. I will get back to you quickly with a quote.
Do you use a template or grid to lay it out?
I use a paper template and pounce it with chalk to get a pattern on the surface, so that it has the right proportions. I trace the art so that it is reduced to line art, then output it on large format paper. I then poke holes in the paper and sand the back, so that the holes will transfer the chalk. I place the paper template on the ground and push chalk through the holes, lift off and have a series of dots to use as my pattern.
I also use the grid or freehand method, it just depends on the art (how complicated it is and how large).
How do you do the 3D images?
I use a couple of computer programs that help to skew the art into 2 point perspective. This art isn't really 3D, you don't need the special glasses to see it, but it does look correct when you take a picture with a camera or camera phone. I use the perspective tool in Corel Draw 13 and Photoshop, and then add a grid on top. But those are expensive programs and pretty complicated to use, also. For beginners, I recommend 3D Chalk Art by BionWare. It's cheap ($7) and basic, and fairly easy to use.
What kind of chalk do you use?
I use regular soft pastel chalks (NO oil pastels). Brands we use a lot are Lowe & Cornell or Dick Blick (see link at bottom of page) house brand. They aren't too expensive, they cover and blend well, and they have brilliant colors. I also order special chalk from Eternity Arts Chalk in Michigan. They are larger and softer, and are good for large areas of color. I also was recently asked to test a new product, Street Stix, by Richeson Pastels and can be purchased on the Dick Blick website. Click here to see some samples of the work I did with these new pastels.
Can the art be preserved?
Some have experimented with spraying lacquer, but it isn’t permanent, because the elements are very hard on it. We do spray the work with hairspray occasionally to help keep the chalk from blowing away while we are working. If the work is on a board or wall inside, I spray it with fixative, but it can still be smudged.
Do you do murals and paintings?
I do paintings in watercolor and acrylic on paper and canvas, and I also do mural work. I am a graphic designer that specializes in logos and corporate identity, and work on printed materials and websites in addition to my chalk art.
Do you work alone?
Usually I work alone. But some of the pictures on this website are of works that I did with my daughters and some are with assistants that I hire to help. I have a network of artists that I can contact if a project needs to be done quickly or is too big for one person.
What kind of surfaces do you work on?
Usually we work on blacktop or asphalt, but sometimes it's concrete, bricks and even chalkboards or canvas. It can be outside or inside, too.
Why is the asphalt white (or black)?
Usually, I lay down a layer of tempera paint mixed with water first, before we start the process. It is completely washable and won't harm the environment. It helps the chalk to adhere to the surface and it's like priming a canvas.
What happens after the festival is over?
It either gets washed away by rain, run over by traffic or power washed off. When we work on asphalt, they open the streets back up, and the traffic wears it off quickly.
Do you do this just for fun?
I started doing this for fun at the Lake Worth Street Painting Festival, but this is now a full time job and I am hired to chalk at special events all around the world. That being said, it is still fun!
Is it hard on your knees/back?
YES! If I didn't have knee pads and Aleve, I'm not sure I could do this!
How many years have you been doing this?
I have been drawing and painting all my life, but I started street painting in 2005. In 2009, after I was laid off from my full time job because of the recession, I threw myself into it full time.
What happens when it rains?
We cover the art with plastic sheeting and duct tape, and hope for the best. Sometimes we use water soluble hairspray as a fixative, but that is only temporary.
Are these festivals competitions or just for fun?
Sometimes there is a competition as part of the event, but not always. Some events are for charities to raise money, while others are just put on by the Chamber of Commerce as a fun community event.
Can I take a picture of your art?
Of course! I love it when people take pictures of our art and the internet has been a great resource for sharing pictures of our work. Please feel free to use and share your own pictures. If you use my photos, please contact me, and give my photographer, Craig Houdeshell credit in any publication.
If you have a question you don't see answered here, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll try to answer your questions about street painting techniques or materials.