|Hombre and Katrina by Lori Escalera (CA)|
|"The Art School" by Eduardo Relero (Spain)|
For the first time, I participated in the Festival as a volunteer. It was a blast. I had a chance to chat with many of the artists on Saturday, including Eduardo Relero. I loved his take on what an art school might look like. When asked what was up next for him, he said he'd be creating pavement art at the Mexican Embassy in Madrid in a few days' time for a Day of the Dead celebration. Cool! These are some serious artists. To see more of Eduardo's work, click here.
|Mangrove Man by Sitka Dogan|
This year Dogan created an Alice in Wonderland-ish Mangrove Man with a hat perfect for viewers to perch on. Once the work was completed, Dogan added some leaves for that little something extra. The man was also holding a stem with some leaves in his hand. Most of my job that day was telling helpful art lovers not to sweep the leaves off the work. That included me -- the first thing I did when I arrived was lean down to remove what looked like a gummy blob on the work. I quickly realized it was masking tape and Sitka intended it to be there. Oops! It's hard to see in this image, but the man has an adorable tree owl in his forehead as a third eye. Hence the yoga pose (which I just realized is tree pose -- how perfect!)
|Pablo Cacho by Santiago Hernandez|
The change in location also introduced the work of these talented artists to people who might not have previously had the Chalk Festival on their radar. I suspect they'll be heading down to Venice when the Festival returns (hopefully in April). And one other benefit of the pivot -- the works are permanent and can be displayed in the future. Kowal said several people had already asked about bringing the paintings into schools or exhibiting them in other locations. So there will be opportunities to make more lemonade out of the lemons Hurricane Ian rained down on us.
The work above is a portrait of Pablo Cacho created by Santiago Hernandez. The backstory is that Santiago helped Pablo create his first 3D pavement painting. Perhaps the portrait is recreating that experience. Pablo was one of the emerging artists at this year's Festival. It's a tightknit community.
|"Chariot of the Sun" mural designed by Kurt Wenner|
Wenner is known as the creator of 3D street art and has become a familiar face around the Chalk Festival. It was Wenner who designed the 22,000 square foot megalodon shark that secured a short-lived Guiness World Record as the world's largest anamorphic (3D) painting. Click here to see that work and Wenner at work on a chalk painting. (Yes, I am a regular at the Festivals.)
While the Festival wasn't what Kowal had envisioned, it was still great fun. Tentative plans are for a full-blown festival -- with chalk! -- in early April. With any luck, the delegations of infiorata artists who were scheduled to come to this Festival will be on hand. What, you might ask, are infiorata artists? They create large scale "carpets" using flowers as their medium. Click here to see an example. I'm already looking forward to it.