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
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