Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chalk it up to.... well chalk I guess

The two greyhounds girls are heaved into the back of the land trawler, (spelled Kate's Tracker) and off we go to meet some friends at the Sarasota Chalk Festival. We were lucky that a client had an office near the festival we could park at, and this was a good thing because about 200,000 people attended the seven day event. It proves that if something is fun to do, and it's free, people will come in droves, and they did. We all find each other, and I ask if anyone sees a boat related picture, call me and tell me where it is. Because of the crowds, and the size of the event it was difficult to see all of it in one day. There were more 250 artists participating in the event, and they used a lot of pavement. 

I won't say the 3D pavement art art was the highlight of the festival, but it was certainly the big attention getter. It was stunning to see the drawings literally exploding out of, or into the pavement. The 3D street painting technique is a form of anamorphosis, or "Slant Art" developed by artist/architect Kurt Wenner. The Terracotta Legoman painting above is nearly completed, and it took four artists headed by Peter Westerink 5 1/2 days to complete. One of the most interesting things about this form of street art is that it can only be properly seen from one specific vantage point. By clicking here you can see a series of photographs showing the construction of the Legoman piece, and note how unrecognizable the image is if you look at it from the other side. There is a lot of cool mathematical plane projection going on here. 

The festival was broken down into groupings starting with Beaten Earth (terra battula), Historical (prior to 1939), First Festival honoring the very first chalk festival in Mantua Italy, 3D Pavement Art, and Contemporary Art, or from my viewpoint Leonardo to Escheresque.

The fun thing about being there on Saturday was most of the pieces were still being created, and you could watch the ongoing work. This is a dirty art business, with artists squatting on the pavement, hands, faces, and clothing covered with a myriad of colors, and a zillion pieces of chalk everywhere.  

And if you thought the professionals could get mucky, the festival closed down a side street just for children, and I'm sure that hoards of little urchin's bathtubs that night had a really colorful ring around the water line. Judging was done on Sunday, and the festival came to an end. The city's permit required all of the art, much to the chagrin of many, to be completely washed away by Tuesday morning at 7:00am, so out come the pressure washers. Kinda sad, but the artists didn't mind, it's performance art you know.

I managed to get the word boat into the story, but alas the only "art boat" that was in the festival was a pirate on a ship, but nowhere near completion. I just hate to throw away perfectly good pixels. These occur all over the world, and there are many chalk festivals in the US. If you get the opportunity to see one, do it, it's a great way to spend the day. I'll be back to ranting about those holes in the water next time.

You can see Kurt Wenner's gallery here

All photos by the Installer.

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