We had another great time at the Venice Chalk Festival on November 13, 14, & 15 in Venice, Florida. This is the largest international street painting event in the world, with artists from 16 countries, including Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, China and Russia. It was a great chance to see some old friends, and make some new ones. It's always great to meet artists that I am connected to on Facebook, but actually get to shake their hand and talk face to face.
The event created a Guiness World Record piece of art with artist Kurt Wenner on one of the runways. It involved many artists and two weeks of work. It was so long, you could only view it from atop a scaffold.
I did a 3D piece out at the Venice Municipal Airport, which was 12' x 26'. Titled "Picnic Pinup", it was my version of the theme "Eat, Drink and Be Merry" with a pure American twist (hot dog, potato chips, lemonade and a cute girl). My art took about 13 hours (2 days), so on the third day, I helped Janet Tombros, Ron Hawkins, and Henry Darnell on their tryptic piece "The Making of Wine with the Minions".
The weather was very hot on Friday, and we were very popular with our pop up tent, as there was no shade out at the airport. Saturday and Sunday were much more comfortable, a bit cloudy and very windy. It made it difficult to keep the chalk on the ground. And the ground at the airport was extremely rough, but the tempera base coat helped a lot.
Thank you to our host family, Cris and Jim Anderson who allowed us to crash at their house during the event. And thank you to Denise Kowal and all her great volunteers who make this event possible each year.
I was invited to participate again at the 5th Street Art Festival in Wilhelmshaven, Germany on August 1 & 2, 2015. I traveled with another South Florida artist, Carrie Bennett. There were two other artists from the US, and a total of 40 artists from Mexico, Italy, Urkraine, Russia, Germany and France.
I decided to create a piece of original 3D anamorphic street art featuring the mythical Jackalope. I added a vintage style American cowboy for this fun piece. The Germans have a similar mythical creature, called a Wolpedinger, that is a rabbit with wings, fangs and antlers, so I figured the Jackalope was the American version of this creature. I made sure I printed up an explanation in both English and German for viewers, since I wasn't sure if it would be understood, and I speak very little German.
Art Wins Award!
I was very happy and surprised to win third place in the 3D catergory! Alex Maksiov from Russia won first and Ruben Poncia from the Nederlands won second, both artists are amazing, and I was honored to share the stage with them.
Thank you to my space sponsors: Speed & Cotton and the Hotel Keil. The event was very well run by Michael Diers and his group. Attendance was estimated at 60,000 for the weekend, a new record. I hope to return again next year to this great event.
After the Rain
Washing it off
Scrubbing off the chalk
This past weekend in Lake Worth was the 21st Street Painting Festival. This was my 11th year, and 10th year as a featured artist. I had met Patrick Pierson about a year ago at the Disney Festival of the Masters, and then saw him at Sunfest. I really liked his work and thought is would be great for street paintings (colorful and fanciful and fun). I approached him with the idea of a collaboration and he was all for it.
About 2 months before the event, I chose one of his works that I thought would make a good 3D street painting. I sent him the image and he loved the concept. We spent about 3 hours doing layout on site on Friday afternoon, preparing the surface with washable tempera paint and using a template to sketch in the lines. We started the serious chalking on Saturday around 9am and worked until about 6pm. We did have to break for lunch, and then cover for about an hour for a light rain in the middle of the day, but it didn't do any damage.
Sunday, Patrick returned and we were joined by my colleague, Nate Baranowski. The finished piece took about 23 hours of work onsite, and was 12' wide x 27' long. With absolutely beautiful weather, which was forecasted to be rainy, we finished around 1:30pm. The turnout was huge, one of the best we had ever seen at this event. There was a line about 15 to 20 deep to look through the lens and take photos all day.
Thanks again to Maryanne Webber and the Lake Worth Street Painting Festival for putting this wonderful show on each year. It is the biggest in the US, maybe the world with 600 artists participating and 250 pieces of art being created over the weekend. South Florida is lucky to have this amazing event.
Mother and Daughter invited to
Germany to Street Paint
My daughter, Carmen Chaparro, age 19, and I recently returned from a trip to Germany to participate in two street art festivals. We traveled to the small town of Sogel, which only has about 5,000 residents (and 10,000 sheep), for the inaugural International Street Art Festival – Sogel, on September 26 & 27 . About 25 professional artists from Italy, Russia, Ukraine, France, Germany and Mexico were also invited and spent a week in the small town. After the street festival was over, the artists stayed for the week and worked to complete various permanent murals around the town, including a school, utility boxes, and at our host facility, Marstall Clemenswerth. Because my bag of supplies was lost on the trip over, my street art was done all in chalk and won the Public’s Choice award. I was asked to reproduce the image for a mural in the Marstall Clemenswerth lobby, a retreat type lodge where we were staying. It was an original design with a dove with feathers in all colors, being released by hands coming out of the ground. They really liked the message of inclusiveness and peace that the image conveyed. We were the only artists from the USA to attend.
The week in Sogel was an amazing opportunity to work and get to know these other great artists. It was an experience I will never forget, and I am already thinking about how we could work out a similar event here in the US
We then traveled to Wilhelmshaven, a port city to the north, for the sixth annual International Street Art Festival –Wilhelmshaven on August 4 & 5, 2014. About 40 artists from all over Europe, the US and Mexico participated in the event which drew thousands of visitors over the weekend. Carmen was the youngest artist to participate in both events, and did her first 3D anamorphic piece. It was titled “Sausage Dog” and was from a photograph of a Jeff Koons balloon dog made of sausage. I did a 3D original work of a large forest fairy in blues and greens.
Michael Diers, the organizer of the Wilhelmshaven event said “I will say it again and I am really convinced about that: That was the best StreetArt Festival Wilhelmshaven than ever. Your pictures are in quality and in concept extraordinary. Never before we had so much audience. You only saw and still see happy people. Thank you for your stay in our town and thank you for your talent and your friendship. We will see us in 2015 in Wilhelmshaven.”
Here is a link to a video of the Sogel event: http://youtu.be/T9IYia-7ZnA . And below are some photos of our amazing trip!
Are you a street painter/chalk artist and looking for ways to make some money? Here are list of 10 ideas on how to use your chalking skills and make money:
Many artists struggle with this question. Someone wants to hire me? Ack! What should I charge? The biggest mistake is to throw out a quick number, without thinking it through.
First - ask for more details. Try to get them to email the details to you in written format. This gives you time to think and plan. And if they don't give you enough information, ask more questions.
Questions to ask:
Second - Decide on your hourly rate. What is your time worth? Do you have another job? What does it pay? Estimate the number of man hours it will take to complete, including your design time and all the time you use to do the business part (draft a quote, make a template, email a bill, etc.)
Third - Submit a written quote, either in an email format or fax. Spell out as much of the details as you can, so if there is a problem, it will be caught early, before you are committed. If you need to purchase tickets for travel, request at least half up front, so you don't get stuck with the cost.
Fourth - have the client sign and date the quote and return to you, as their approval of the costs. Keep all you emails and faxes until you are paid the full amount.
Fifth - Get paid! The remaining amount should be paid once the art has been completed (rain or shine). Usually clients will give you a check at the event, or you can have money transferred electronically.
Do not undervalue your art or your time! You need to live and make a living just like everyone else. You may encounter some clients who think you will donate your time for free, but there are plenty of others out there that have a budget and will pay you. Who do you want to work for? If all of the artists charge fair prices for their time and art, we all win in the end.
Florida Artists Complete Huge Iconic Painting in Chalk at the Sarasota Chalk Festival on November 16 & 17, 2013
The theme: the 2013 festival in Sarasota was Legacy of Valor - honoring veterans and their service.
The goal: to bring together a team of award winning Florida chalk artists to bring the iconic painting “George Washington Crossing the Delaware” to life on the pavement at this international chalk festival honoring veterans. Team George was born.
We decided we were either going to go big or go home. And we went HUGE - 30’ x 20’!
This work was all chalk. We used a base of tempera and water for the white, but everything else was chalk on the street. Most of the other art that you see at this size is either paint or a combination of paint and chalk. Chalk is more labor intensive, but the result is much more spectacular.
Here are some links to more photos:
Many new chalk festivals want to have great street art at their events. So they set out to attract great artists, but go about it the wrong way. Event planners need to think of chalk artists/street painters in the same way that they think about any entertainment that they hire to enhance their event. Most events have a budget set aside for entertainment (bands, kids activities, etc.). Very few events can happen successfully without "entertainment." It's what attracts people to your event.
Once you see street painting as entertainment, it then makes sense to treat the chalk artists just like you would a band. Some events want a lot of featured artists, and others only want 2 or 3. It can work either way, just make sure that the artists you bring in are really good at chalk art, and will be good ambassadors of the art form and actually "entertain" while they are on site chalking. They should provide photos to be used for advertising the upcoming event, and be available for interviews with local press. They can also be brought in a day or two early to lead a street painting workshop for local artists.
There are a couple of ways you can compensate chalk artists. One is to approach the artists, explain what you want and request a quote for their services. The quote should include travel costs, food and art materials. You also need to remember to include any street cleaning, barricades, security, tents, and other items in your costs when figuring out the total costs. Some events will arrange for lodging, since they get special discounts or donated rooms from local hotels in exchange for sponsorship acknowledgement.
Another option is to offer a stipend. A set amount would be given to every artist that is invited, and they can use the money for their travel, lodging, materials, food and whatever else is not covered by the event. This seems like the most "fair" way to do it, but it makes it harder to attract artists from father away, since their travel costs might be too high.
The event should include a light breakfast, coffee and juices, cold water, lunches and snacks each day. Most featured artists will bring their own supplies and chalk. It's also nice when the event has a party or get together on the evening before the event for the artists and sponsors to get together and mingle. When the artists are working during the day, it is tough to have time to talk to everyone, and a pre-party is a great way for everyone to talk in a more relaxed atmosphere.
The event should either arrange the artist's flights or travel and pay for it, or advance money to the artist ahead (half up front is normal), so the artist can purchase their flights. The rest of the amount due should be paid at the end of the event directly to the artist.
What not to do? Don't charge the artists fees to participate or for anything (t-shirts, programs, etc.). Street painting is a physically demanding art form, and the artists take it very seriously. Many started by donating many weekends to the art form. Asking them to "chip in" is like asking a volunteer at an event to pay for parking and a ticket to the event.
The important thing to remember is to treat your artists well if you want to grow your event into a premier art happening. An event that respects and treats the artists as special and talented guests will become known as special event, and you will have your pick of great artists.
Fake blood splattered over finished chalk art.
As a street painter, we learn quickly to adapt to changing conditions (weather, surface, materials, etc.). We understand that those are things that make every experience different. But there are other conditions that we deal with that have to do with human behavior.
Here is a link to a video interview with a local TV station about the damage a local group did to my chalk art at the Lake Worth Street Painting Festival in 2013. The group, which I will not name, did not like the subject matter in the art, which was chosen by the state of Florida for the Viva Florida 500 poster.
I was heckled, and then when I was done and took a break, they made noise, threw flyers around and then splattered the art with fake blood. When the local deputy on duty was notified of this, they said the art was "worthless" and it was a public street, so nothing could be done.
Really. Worthless? It was bad enough to have someone ignore the 2 1/2 days of work I voluntarily donated to the event, and the beauty of the art, but then to have the sheriff act as judge and jury and pass judgement, was heartbreaking.
Hopefully, we can educate the public about street painting as an art form.
Award Winning Street Painter & Chalk Artist