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
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 Florida Artist Forms New Organization - International Street Painting Association - To Help Promote the Art of Street Painting
Internationally acclaimed street painting artist Jennifer Chaparro has announced the creation of the International Street Painting Society Inc. to promote and recognize street painting as a legitimate art form and to serve as a forum for street painting artists worldwide. The new international organization is now accepting members and promoting the work of street artists and street painting festivals throughout the world.
“This is a totally new not-for-profit organization, which will focus on connecting street painters worldwide. There are other local or national organizations, both for chalk artists and general artists, but the International Street Painting Society will focus on street artists, which can include chalk & paint, traditional and 3D art that takes place in a public forum. Our goal is to elevate awareness and educate the public, on an international scale, about street painting as a true art form,” said Jennifer Chaparro, Founder and Executive Director, International Street Painting Society, Inc.
Membership in the International Street Painting Society at present is open to Students, Amateurs, Professional Artists, Art Lovers, Non-Profit Festivals or Organizations, and For Profit Festivals or Companies. Major corporate sponsors are needed to help fund a grants program to help artists with expenses when traveling to events and education and art supply grants that will be available soon. Sign up now and your membership is good until January 2014.
Street Painting is a physically and emotionally challenging art form. Its roots can be traced to the 1500-1600's. In Britain, street artists were known as screevers and their work can be documented to around 1550. “Their subjects were more based on the written word and political lampooning,” said Chaparro. “In Italy in the 1600's, artisans who had finished jobs in the great cathedrals, often took to the plazas in front of the churches, and drew reproductions of the paintings inside. The public would throw coins at the artists as they worked, to show their appreciation. Many of the works were religious in nature, usually of the Madonna and child, thus the name Madonnara became the term used to describe this kind of artist in Italy,” Chaparro added.
The Mission of the International Street Painting Society is to promote and educate the public about the art of street painting internationally as a legitimate art form; to provide opportunities worldwide for street painters/chalk artists to connect, network and share information and prosper as artists; and to connect persons with an interest and passion for street art. If you would like additional information about the International Street Painting Society Inc. you may visit the website www.internationalstreetpaintingsociety.com. The International Street Painting Society is a 501(c)(3).
Jenny Wuerker, Jennifer Chaparro, lead artist, and Steve Heil.
This was my second time chalking in Buffalo, but the first time working with local artists. Marie Verger, the organizational force behind the festival, was able to encourage two artists to participate. Jenny Wuerker, a landscape painter with a gallery in town, and Steve Heil, the local high school art teacher, were my assistants for the day, and did a fantastic job!
We started at 8:00 am in the morning. It took about an hour and a half to get the art set up and the tempera paint down, and transfer the design with the template. Here is Steve getting the tempera down with a roller. I was sweating already, as temperatures were in the mid 80's before 10 am.
Steve finishes up the tempera layer.
We were making pretty good time, until about 1:30pm, and the rain started. We watched it come in, and had two tents up, but had to scramble to get the plastic and tarp down over the art. At first, it looked like it would be a minor shower, and then it would move on. But it kept raining, and then it started running down the sloped parking lot and down the cracks in the concrete. It lasted about an hour, and we quickly pulled off the plastic to minimize damage and get it to dry as quickly as possible.
We jumped back on it, and really work hard to get the piece done in one day. The sun came back out and it got pretty hot again, so we were glad we had the tents. The size of the art was about 12' wide by 20' long, so that you could sit on the horse in the picture.
Steve and I hold down the plastic, and wait for the rain to stop.
Jenny typically works with paint, and had never used pastels before, so this was all new to her. The technique of layering the chalk takes a little bit of getting used to, I have to admit. I think it is similar to watercolors, since you need to put down lighter colors first. Lighter colors are hard to make dense and pure when layered on top of dark areas.
Jenny and I work on the colt and try to figure out the tangle of legs.
And collaborating is always a bit difficult. I am used to working with my daughters, but I know their skills well, and what they do best. The challenge here was to assess what each of us could bring to the art and direct it to it's best use. I think both Jenny and Steve have a new appreciation for how hard it is to complete something of this size so quickly and the challenges of the weather and surface. I hope the experience didn't scare them off from doing more street painting in the future!
CLICK HERE to see the video!
"What is the surface that I will be chalking on today?" It seems like a fairly simple and minor question, but to a street painter, it is very important. I have been chalking for years, and have completed many street paintings. I enjoy the challenge that each new piece of art and each new surface presents. It's part of what keeps it fresh and different.
Sometimes the surface is rough asphalt. A common practice in Florida is to mix in pieces of shell, which makes it even harder to chalk on, since the chalk doesn't like to stick to shell or large chunks of rock.
And sometimes it is just bumpy. Sealing it (albeit temporarily) with a wash of tempera & water, helps the chalk stick. It makes the colors brighter, also.
This was one of the roughest, bumpiest surfaces I have chalked on. The picture was taken at the end of the day, and you can see how the low sun shows all the bumps in shadow.
Smooth concrete is nice to work on, but it to can present some challenges too. It can have a sharp "tooth" to it, that can rip your fingers or gloves to shreds. Usually, it is a better canvas because it is white or light gray, so you don't have to put down the tempera paint as a base. Occasionally it can be too smooth, which the paint would then be needed.ck here to edit.
And sometimes you end up with a line or crack right down the middle of your art. The best thing to do with this is either make it part of the art, or try to fill it with chalk so it "disappears".
Here you can see how rough the pavers were in Curacao.
Bricks or paver bricks are a challenge because of all the cracks that have to be filled with chalk. When I worked on the pavers in Curacao, I broke a lot of sticks of chalk, trying to get it to cover. The other problem with pavers, is that many times they will be different colors. This may be pleasing to look at, but it can be a bear to work on. The bricks are fabricated of different substances and they all take the chalk a bit differently, so you have to constantly adjust the pressure and amount of chalk applied. One thing to remember is the more porous the surface, the more chalk you will use.
You can see the outline of the large squares of granite in this overhead shot.
The other end of the spectrum is a super smooth surface, like a polished granite or marble. Even unfinished granite can be very difficult to work on. Chalk just does not like to stick to it, and the tempera base is almost imperative. The large pavers in Ireland were granite (below), and we were glad that we had brought paint to prime the area first.
And lastly, when you get bored, start chalking your body! In this shot on the right, Mercedes and Carmen start experimenting on themselves in Naples, Florida.
It was pretty hot that day and I think the heat finally got to them!
This is probably the number one question I get as a street painter. What happens to the chalk when it rains? Besides the obvious smart ass response "We get wet" is that it washes away. And here's what happens to the art...
After one night of rain, a days work is almost completely washed away. This piece was 4' x 6' on concrete, and took about 6 hours to complete at the Italian Family Festa. The original was intense with color and contrast, the results of layers of chalk. But a wicked storm blew through Tallahassee in the middle of the night on Saturday and did a lot of damage. There was a tent over the work, but it didn't help much.
Madonna with child by Italian Renaissance Artist Guido Reni
The day began rather dewy and damp, and it took awhile to get the layer of tempera paint to dry enough so I could start chalking. It was so damp, I couldn't get the duct tape to stick for the border. But we were lucky to have a relatively rain free day.
Here is the finished piece on Saturday.
There is no way to preserve or seal chalk on the street or sidewalk without changing the art. It is what makes the art special. It is but a fleeting flash of brilliance and beauty, like a colorful sunset or listening to a concert. Enjoy the moment! (Then take a picture and share it with all your friends on Facebook!)
Award Winning Street Painter & Chalk Artist