On May 31 and June 1, 2014 the annual Chalk Art Festival was held in Larimer Square, an historic block in Denver’s LoDo District that in the early 1970’s helped kick off the urban redevelopment of this part of Denver’s former warehouse district. Back then, LoDo was not the safest part of the City and if you were adventuresome (and some thought foolhardy) you could pick up some cheap real estate. Today, Larimer Square and the LoDo area in general is home to some of the city’s most expensive restaurants, high-priced office suites, and luxury lofts and apartments.
Anchored by Coors Field (home of the Colorado Rockies) and the Pepsi Center (home of the Denver Nuggets), LoDo gets plenty of visitors both day and night. The annual Chalk Art Festival is just one of many weekend activities that draws thousands of visitors into downtown over this two-day event.
The creation of a chalk painting takes many hours and is often not as simple as it seems. First, the artist must draw an outline of the original painting in proper proportion using pencil or a charcoal pastel. Then they begin to lay the base of colors. Using a number of colored pastels, the artist layers the chalk, blending the colors to create shadow, contrast, and depth.
Why street paint when the artists’ efforts disappear immediately?
As avid street painters will tell you, this is performance art, where the process of creating the work is more important than the finished piece. For many, the dialogue with spectators can be as rewarding as creating their masterpieces. People can view the work in all stages of progress, from layout and design, to applying colors, to the finished creation.
The display of chalk art takes many forms, including cartoons, impressionists paintings, pop culture, portraits of famous people, birds, animals, and “message’ art. The examples above are but a few of the extremely creative, colorful, and interesting chalk art displays . . . a more complete version can be seen by checking out the slideshow I prepared by clicking on this link: 2014 Chalk Art Festival.