The art form of street painting is a mixture of painting with chalk and performance art, where an image can be created, in a matter of hours, in front of your eyes.
It is fascinating to watch as a section of black asphalt transforms into a work of art that looks as if it should be hanging in a museum or gallery. But unlike most artwork in museums and galleries, the process of street painting is interactive between the artist and the viewing public. The public is standing alongside the artist, watching the artist sketch out their image, fill in color, add highlights and details. The public experiences the creation of the artwork.
This performance aspect is similar to watching any live performance where you are drawn into the moment, the highs and the lows, the drama of the process. The wind may be blowing strong and the top layer of chalk swirls right off of the art and into the air or the left eye on that figure may need to be reworked and that extra line of white chalk makes it look perfect!
Artists are generally very accommodating in answering viewers’ questions about what they are working on, the techniques they use, and sharing history about the artwork. When the audience shares their own knowledge on the subject matter, the artist may learn something new as well.
Street painting can be entertaining and informative, but more importantly to me, it can be inspirational. To see the creation process of beautiful works of art, created in hours, can inspire someone to try street painting who has never tried it before. An image in a street painting, a mixture of chalk colors or the texture of the art can inspire a viewer to try something else creative, like taking photographs of the street paintings, taking a drawing class or even writing a poem about how the art made them feel.
Wendy Stum is Vice President of Innovative Street Painting Group, Inc as well as Marketing Director of Art for After Hours, an art consulting company providing professional street painting talent to corporate and public events in the USA and internationally.