The past month has been extremely busy for street painting. I usually try to escape the heat of Florida in the summer, but the rain, heat and humidity seems to have followed me. In case you missed the multiple posts on Facebook and Instagram, here are a few of the highlights:
We all have stories of events where we felt like we were going to melt into the asphalt. Rod Tryon, a veteran chalker for many years, had a harrowing experience recently in San Rafael, California during a particularly hot spell, where his shirt actually caught on fire!
He has a concave lens on a tripod that he uses to help create his anamorphic sketch for his 3D pieces (it's faster than looking through a camera every time you want to check on your work.)
As he was standing in the middle of his drawing, he smelled something burning. He wondered what it was and then felt a very warm sensation on his lower back. The back of his cotton shirt was actually burning. He quickly patted it out and was OK, but shaken, to say the least. (See the picture below.)
Braving the heat and rain in Deerfield Beach, Florida
Summer in Florida is usually too hot, muggy, buggy and rainy for chalk art. But summer camps are always looking for new and fun things to keep their kids occupied., so I worked with the kids, in grades 1st-7th, to introduce them to street painting! I was scheduled to do a larger piece, but the rain in the morning made the surface too damp. I ended up showing videos and a powerpoint inside, and by then it was dry enough to go outside and experiment. I did a few smaller 3D samples, showing how we grid it out with a chalk line first. Below are a few photos from our day.
For the first time at the Lake Worth Street Painting Festival, I painted instead of chalked. This was my 12th time at this event. I was planning to chalk a large 3D anamorphic piece, but was asked three days before the event to step in and do a mural on the side of a shipping container, since one of the other artists couldn't get to Florida in time. I had to come up with a totally different idea that would span the 20' x 8' x 8' area. Sponsor was Bessenroth Builders, a local builder that builds homes in the containers. Cyndi Kostylo and Cass Womack worked on the other container next to me.
I decided to pull up some art I was working on my tablet. I combined an illustration of my daughter from a selfie she had sent me with her new white hair. I added a paisley background and a rose that I had been working on, and then added an appropriate saying. Much of the street art in Miami has a message, so I felt it was appropriate to include a positive, art related message.
It took about 16 hours, with Craig helping to prime and grid the area. The surface was constructed of masonite (rough side out) screwed onto the surface. Not sure if they will coat the art and keep it for a while. Unfortunately, masonite is not very durable in wet weather.
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!
As more and more of us (chalk artists) travel to festivals, the subject of traveling with chalk and supplies came up on Facebook.
When you travel to another country to chalk, how do you take your chalks with you? Do you take them as carry on item or do you check in as luggage? Any restrictions?
Susanne Ma - I carry them. Security might do secondary check, so have pics of your work ready. Once you show them the pics, it'll be like, "Ohhh..."
Rod Tryon - I used to carry them on, but got tired of the additional pat down checks and series of questions of what the heck are these? Now I check them (for quite a few years now) and have had no problems (knock on wood.)
Lori A. Escalera - It doesn't seem to matter anymore. You take your chances either way. TSA searched my luggage last year going to Sarasota and didn't even put a tag in it that they went through it!
Maribeth Friedman McFaul - i took a single box to Italy in my luggage with the hopes of chalking a little something just to say I had done a street painting in Italy. However, I was told NOT TO DO THAT as I would have gotten a ticket from the police. In Florence you need a permit for Street Painting. There is a spot by Ponte Vechio not far from the Ufizzi GAllery where up to 3 artists create new paintings almost every day for tips from the tourists. I gave my box of 48 Koss to Johnny (from Ireland.) He was SO HAPPY because he was almost out of colors and the supplier was closed that day. Second best thing to doing my own square! : )
Rod Tryon - @Maribeth- Glad you got to see the street painting in Firenze. Tomo was in San Rafael. I was working right next to him. Too bad you didn't get to see his work live. He is fantastic.
Jennifer Nichols Chaparro - I always check them, even going overseas, but pack them well. I have had them take my hairspray out (not TSA approved), but leave spray fixative. Also, try to arrive the day before event, so if they get lost, they should be able to get them there the next day. And most of the supplies you can buy at local art stores if you have to. It's hard to explain duct tape, box cutter, plastic tarps, latex gloves, sponges and ziplock bags of white powder (tempera paint).
Rod Tryon - I agree Jennifer. I had a large group inquiry at security in Dubai. Took a long time to explain what everything was and what I was doing with it.
Willie Zin - Thank you everyone for sharing your experience and comments. This will be my 1st international travel for a Chalk Event. Domestic event, when I travel, I hand carry on. I checked in once twice and both times, they opened, took some samples and didn't pack back the way it was so it was a mess when I open the luggage. I think I had a whole box (24 sticks) missing in one occasion. I guess seems like either way is fine. I just didn't know if there was any restriction or if I need to prepare some paperwork since it is going to another country...
Jennifer Nichols Chaparro - I also pack it all in a waterproof travel box that says street painting on it. You'd have to be blind to not see it, and it's sturdy enough that you can stand on it and not disrupt the contents.
Lori A. Escalera - Willie, you are traveling to a country that is well socialized with our culture/country. You will be a star. Take a little business card as a chalker (you can make one on your home color printer) or show them photos on your phone. I did that circuit last year. Its nothing like going to China or Dubai. It is like domestic with the exception of customs. There is a customs form they will give it to you on the plane. ALWAYS put that you are traveling for pleasure or visiting friends. NEVER put that you are conducting business or it is a commercial purpose. There is nothing to worry about - they lead you all the way thru.
Susanne Ma - Flying in general, it just depends on the security and sometimes how long the line is (if you're carrying on and they're trying to get the line down.) If you're concerned, I'd look for the agent that's paying the least amount of attention (they're humans, after all.) That said, you never really know what they're looking for (who knew shoes would become such a big freakin' deal?) Once, passing through Frankfurt, they made a big to-do about my hair dryer. Alice's pastels that look like blocks of clay to detonate explosives? Zero interest. The hair dryer was scanned, swabbed, etc. Victoria is providing pastels, not sure how much, but I try to only bring colors I absolutely need or need a lot of. The rest, I try to get the organizer to provide so I don't have to lug it around, this includes tarps and whatever else that might be bulky. I usually never check in a bag, so I do my darnedest to travel light. Of course, if you're getting a nice commission deal and part of it is to bring all your own supplies, then that's a different ball game, but for Victoria, I think they'll provide most of what you need.
Lee Jones - I've done both. Carry on and packed them in my checked baggage
Julie Kirk Purcell - Don't forget to pack msds sheets for anything wet, like tempera paint or acrylic. They shouldn't bother with them but the msds will help keep them from throwing something out that should be ok. I always check, hate carrying on. And always end up with tsa fliers thruout my luggage ;0) tape your pastel boxes shut and when you hand them over the luggage let them know that there is extra tape to retape them - they'll tell you they never leave them untaped but they're liars ;0) nothing I hate more than finding my pastels scattered thruout my luggage. Yuck.
Lori A. Escalera - Julie, what are meds sheets? I googled it and only found materials safety data sheets? I think I get it - so TSA knows they "shouldn't" throw it out. I always double bag my liquids.
Willie Zin - Lori, that is the msds. I deal with this at work alot. This helps transporter identify the content what chemicals they contain. Thanks Julie. That's a good idea.
Julie Kirk Purcell - Yes - MSDS - you should be able to find them online for anything you purchase or from the manufacturer themselves. ie I always grab them at nova color when I'm flying with anything of theirs. They basically say any safety information such as whether something is flammable, etc. don't carry them for things you're trying to bring despite tsa, like spray glue or fixative - that you just hope for the best but internationally I've never had an issue, just in the USA ;0) - but for things that should be fine you're actually supposed to have them so it's better to do
Award Winning Street Painter & Chalk Artist