This year's theme of "evanescence"--or soon passing out of sight or memory--could not be more appropriate. With the next hard rain, these artists' hard work will be gone. Festival organizer Denise Kowal told me some of the artists struggled a bit with the open-ended theme. It was more difficult to conceptualize than past motifs like Extinct and Endangered Species or Love and Peace. But they rose to the challenge.
As always, one of the most fun things about the Festival was experiencing the 3D paintings, like this hourglass. (Apologies to the artist, whose name I neglected to note in my excitement.) This type of art exists thanks to Kurt Wenner, the creator of what he calls "interactive 3D pavement art illusions." Interestingly, before he became a chalk artist, Wenner put his training at the Rhode Island School of Design to use at NASA as an advanced scientific space illustrator.
Instead of a large 3D painting, Festival organizers tried something new this year -- a curated section of pavement art featuring high profile chalk artists from around the world. (Somewhat amazingly, the Festival secures visas for international artists and covers airfare and accommodations for all invited artists.) Not one to be left out of the fun, Wenner got back to his roots as he joined these other artists and painted a 12 x 12 square of pavement.
Wenner told us his street paintings in Rome were often larger than the space allocated for the Festival. His work was well-received, and he often made $200/week in tips from appreciative passersby. When asked whether they got permits before putting chalk to pavement, he looked at me as if I were crazy. (Once a lawyer....) For a great Q&A with Wenner about working as a chalk artist, click here. His entire website is worth exploring.
With so many great paintings on display, I can't resist writing a second post about the Festival. Stay tuned for the next installment.