Free and family friendly!
About Pacific NW Chalk Fest
The 2017 PNW ChalkFest attracted people from all over the Western US. Over 50,000 attended and joined in the art and activities. This year’s artists were given free rein to create whatever they wished. This resulted in an amazing variety of works.
Redmond provided the perfect location for the artists and the audience to experience the event in a grand style. The final works became stunning masterpieces that appealed to children and adults of all ages.
Photography and social media posting became instant mode of communications, as people told their Facebook Friends about the event, and posted Instagram and Snapchat photos to show the daily progression of the art.
Here’s a link to King 5’s coverage on New Day NW.
History of Chalk Art and Street Painting
The origins of modern street painting can be traced to Britain. Pavement artists were found all over the United Kingdom and by 1890 it was estimated that more than 500 artists were making a full-time living from pavement art in London alone.
The British term for pavement artist is “screever”. The term is derived from the writing style, often Copperplate, that typically accompanied the works of pavement artists since the 1700s. The term screever is most commonly cited as Shakespearean slang dating from around 1500.
The works of screevers often were accompanied by poems and proverbs, lessons on morality, and political commentary on the day’s events. They were described as “producing a topical, pictorial newspaper of current event.” They appealed to both the working people, who (on the whole) could not read or write, but understood the visual images; and to the educated members of the middle-classes who appreciated the moral lessons and comments. It was important for a screever to catch the eye of the ‘well to do’ and in turn attract the pennies donated for their efforts.
Street painters, (also called chalk artists) a name these performance artists are most commonly called in the United States are called I Madonnari in Italy (singular form: madonnaro or madonnara) because they recreated images of the Madonna. In Germany Strassenmaler (streets: straßen, painter: maler).
The Italian Madonnari have been traced to the sixteenth century. They were itinerant artists, many of whom had been brought into the cities to work on the huge cathedrals. When the work was completed, they needed to find another way to make a living, and thus often would recreate the paintings from the church onto the pavement. Aware of festivals and holy days held in each province and town, they traveled to join in the festivities to make a living from observers who would throw coins if they approved of the artist’s work. For centuries, many Madonnari were folk artists, reproducing simple images with crude materials such as tiles, coal, and chalk. Others, such as El Greco, would go on to become household names.
In the 1980s, Kurt Wenner practiced ‘3-D pavement art’, or one-point perspective art, otherwise known as anamorphic art, a 500-year-old technique, which appears in proper perspective only when viewed from a specific angle.
The first recorded street-painting competition and ‘festival’ was held in London in 1906.