My two days of doing artwork out on the street at the Victoria International Chalk Art Festival was an experience I expected to be interesting but slightly uncomfortable. The idea of being watched as I drew was intimidating. I thought I would much prefer completing the painting in secret, preferably by at night by torchlight, before everyone got there, so I could then disassociate myself from it if it did not appeal to them. What I had not expected was how much I would enjoy talking to visitors and being confident enough to continue working as I talked.
What I had expected:
1. Telling people about CWM: I had hoped that people would notice our t-shirts, cards, flyers (in addition to the painting itself), and ask us about the project. I am happy to report that this happened, and we were able to share our idea.
2. Hearing about artists’ experiences: Heidi and I talked to several artists about how long they had been chalking. To some, it was a new medium, but many around us do this for a living and have been chalking for many years.
What I had not expected:
1. Getting so much feedback from children:
This was the biggest learning moment for me. While I chalked many younger people came up to me to ask what was going on in the picture. I had seriously underestimated the interest that our artwork would garner from a younger audience. They were very receptive to the idea, and seemed to grasp the narrative a lot quicker than many adults. Some even said ours was their favourite! What I enjoyed was how genuinely and seriously they considered the story, trying to make a connection between language use and the sharing of ideas. One little girl even contributed to the art. I asked for her input on colour choice, and she even assisted with a little bit of chalking! It was fun giving someone a space to colour in, and that has given me several new ideas about how to get more younger ones involved!
2. Chalking Skills: This is a little obvious now that I think of it, but I had not really thought I would learn much from other artists; I expected them to be busy and professional, but many shared some great tips about chalking, and on street art in general.
3. Bruised knees: again, now, very obvious. The rough, unyielding surface that was challenging to chalk on, but also tough on the knees and elbows, and well, everything. All worth it, though!
The whole experience made it even clearer to me that Heidi and I make a fantastic team. We were completely on the same page, regarding dedication to our artwork and project. The rain did not stop us from running back and start-stop chalking all day on Sunday; someone else may have thought it not worth it. What was even more significant to me was the fact that Heidi liked the parts of chalking that I liked least, and vice versa. Sharing and dividing the work between us was effortless. She was great to chalk with, and is a wonderful someone who makes an anxious someone like me comfortable enough to work without unnecessary worry, even in public. We are both very excited to plan our next chalk adventure! 🙂