Chalk & Sidewalk Art

Disney’s Festival of the Master’s Art Show was this past weekend — I went with Aileen and Elizabeth. Two of the standard features of the event are the sidewalk chalk art competition over in the Marketplace area and the Folk Art Show sponsored by House of Blues on the far end of the Westside. I enjoy both…in moderation.

Chalk art on concrete is an interesting venture — messy and not easy for all sorts of reasons which include having to spend a few days sitting on hard concrete. We didn’t exhaust all of the observation opportunities among the chalk artists — we were nearing the end of our day and I think all of our attention spans were beginning to wane. 

One of the things I love about sidewalk chalk art is that it’s temporary. No matter how wonderful or lackluster any given work it, it will be gone in time. A good rain and it will be gone sooner. This can be a crazy maker, but it is ultimately a good-maker.

When I am seeking the praise of my peers and the affirmation of people who are experts or critics, I strive for perfection. I grind my teeth and lose sleep.

A painting or drawing which is matted, framed and under glass has the feeling of being more permanent than something drawn on cement with chalk. That difference can feel like a value difference when it is not necessarily so.

It can also nudge me in my thinking to different conclusions. The more permanent work could feel more like it defines me than the more temporary work. Even though both are simply a glimpse into me at a moment in time, the fact that the one lingers for observation for a lot longer gives it import.

As I consider various art mediums and methods, I find myself connecting dots between art and life.

I want to live my life more like chalk drawing. With chalk on cement, the reality that this is simply today’s work and it will be gone tomorrow could help me hold less tightly to standards of perfectionism. There is a built-in expression of grace which erases both the best and worst aspects of the work and makes space for the next expression. An expression that is new and improved, perhaps.

Still thinking about this. My thinking is a bit flailing about  yet, running into a statement by William W. Purkey (which is almost cliché by now, but still has an element of truth in it):

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”

Chalk drawing is a bit more like that. I think. Maybe.

4 thoughts on “Chalk & Sidewalk Art

    • Ruth Hubbard says:

      Yeah, that kind of chalk art that looks 3D from just the right angle is crazy cool stuff. This one is particularly clever!

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