Today started International Week off at C of I, beginning with a soccer tournament, a sidewalk chalk competition, and a fair. As an act of support for my friend who organized the sidewalk art festival, as well as general interest, I joined the competition! I worked for about two and a half hours in spectacular weather! It couldn’t have been better. In fact, it was so sunny I got a sunburn. (Unfortunately it later began to sprinkle a little bit in the evening hours.)
I joined several other students in creating fantastic chalk creations either for the competition or just for fun. You could compete individually or in teams, with categories including original piece, reproduction of a masterwork, or famous characters. One student did a lovely Van Gogh reproduction. Another created an original, a massive globe observed by spectral eyes, with white feathers gently falling down.
I chose to do a Barn Owl. I began with the intent to make it very realistic, but when faced with mostly bright and colorful chalks, I changed my tune. I’m really glad I did. Instead I created an owl of a spectrum of colors, inspiring the title Aurora Borea-owl-is. I worked mostly with white and blue tones, but there are yellow, magenta, violet, teal, pink, and terra cotta tones mixed in. The final product really has a fantastic energy to it that reinforces the chalk medium.
I was also pleasantly surprised by an unexpected degree of depth. I made the feet a bit larger than I intended, but it makes the drawing pop forward, like the owl really is swooping talons-first toward you. It’s certainly not the 3D chalk art of some experts, but it has a nice illusionistic feel to it. It was also fun to walk around the piece and experience the distortion from different angles. Depending on where you stood, it felt like one wing or the other was closer to you.
I’m sad to acknowledge that these wonderful sidewalk art pieces won’t last. They face a multisided threat of rain, student feet and nearby sprinklers for the grass. I guess it’s part of the medium you have to accept and come to terms with. At least they will live on in my photos.