3d chalk art melts before your eyes! Freshly back from lovely south Florida where I just participated in the 17th Annual Lake Worth Street Painting Festival. I’ve been supporting this event for years in response to former festival director Maryanne Webber’s gracious support of my work. With the primary objective of raising funding for scholastic grants to support local aspiring young artists, this non-profit event attracts upwards of 100,000 visitors each year and they certainly know how to put on a quality show!
As a featured 3d artist, I knew I wanted to create a painting that was a departure from the previous works I had completed here in the past, which tended to be more classical in nature. Weather can be an issue at Lake Worth, with rain being a continued threat in late February from the south Florida climate. I hoped for sun and the weather man confirmed as much. Knowing we had clear skies I also knew we could expect some seriously hot temps down on the pavement, soooooo…..I decided to convey that experience of working in the heat by demonstrating ‘hot asphalt’: my paintings were going to melt into the pavement. (Coincidentally, Hot Asphalt was the first name I used to promote my work way back in 2000. Kind of subconsciously revisiting my past.)
This year I had enlisted the help of two Dreyfoos School of the Arts students: Emily Hacker & Erika Somers, who graciously shared their talent, energy and enthusiasm to the completion of the work. I love teaching and hopefully these two learned a thing or two about drawing traffic cones in 3d! Thanks girls!!!!
Besides this being a piece that showed an action – melting art work, it had another layer of meaning for me. It was a way for me to symbolically show who I am as an artist on the pavement. The way I hoped to express this was with the selection of images I would draw to begin the piece.
I decided on not one, but three ‘traditional style’ street paintings to start with, which would convey a glimpse of a psychological self-portrait. I began with a painting representing ‘the artist’: Berthe Morisot, one of the original Impressionists from the mid 1800’s in Paris. If you know her history, you know she was the other female art rebel of that time, along with Mary Cassatt.The painting I chose had been painted by her friend and peer, Edouard Manet, one of my early favorites.
The second painting represented ‘the art muse’: Marthe de Florian, an actress whose image was painted by Giovanni Boldoni, which became locked up in a Paris apartment for 70+ years, after WWII. It was discovered last year and I love seeing the metaphor behind that!
The third painting represented ‘the work of art’: Wonder Woman! Drawn as a representation of female strength and beauty, she’s a gal I really like! She’s of my time, she’s larger than life and she just rocks! Ultimately this street painting was not about the traditional paintings themselves, they were the vehicles to deliver my meaning: this painting was about their invented disintegration and inevitable melding together in a pool of kaleidoscopic color. So there you have me: the artist revealed, using a simple visual device to evoke, hopefully, some contemplation on the nature of the individual. Clue: I know it’s ok for things to fall apart, melt away, merge, morph and be reborn. My paintings have taught me that over the years.
Anyway, we had a very successful result at the festival. Thousands of folks queued up to see the illusion through the viewing lens both Saturday and Sunday, which caused a wait of about 25 minutes to get through the line! Comments like ‘it was so worth the wait’ were heard often. Everyone loved the idea of being transported to another world visually! It was so great for me to personally speak with so many enthusiastic and supportive fans who stopped by to see the work. Gotta give thanks to the entire Lake Worth crew for their hard work and care; and especially Maryanne and Bruce Webber for their gracious hospitality and continued support of this art form!