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Revisiting Italy and the History of Chalk Art

A fellow member of my book club recently rented a copy of our CHALK DVD from Moreland City Libraries and after viewing it, she took the time to write to me and tell me how much she enjoyed it. Her comments took me back to the time I was first introduced to the world of pavement art, and the wonder that chalk art can create. “I have often marvelled at footpath chalk artists when I saw them at work in the CBD, but had little appreciation, other than as a ‘passer-by’ of the big story behind their work” she explained, “The DVD took me from Hope Street Brunswick (liter

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Australian Artist Wins World Street Painting Festival

Arnhem, Netherlands played host to the World Street Painting Festival from 9-12 July.  Thirteen artists from Italy, Germany, Ukraine, Holland, USA, Mexico, Ireland and Australia were invited to produce 3D artworks based on the theme 'Inspired by Van Gogh'. Australia's Champion Pavement Artist Jenny McCracken and I travelled to the event to represent Chalk Urban Art Festival. The standard of work was incredibly high and neither of us expected Jenny to take out top prize. "It's a real honour to be recognised amongst such an exceptional group of international artists" sa

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Putting it in Perspective

Putting it in Perspective In preparation for the World Street Painting Festival, this week your intrepid reporter Andi Mether travelled with Australian artist Jenny McCracken, Dutch artists Leon Keer and Marije Spelbos, and Irish artist Gary Palmer to The Hague to visit Escher in het Paleis and Mauritshuis. The Escher Museum is a wonderful mind twist of magical illusions, the perfect place to play with perspective. Escher's constructions can exist within art but not in reality. Many of his works appear to make sense but on closer inspection you can see that Escher c

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Aussies Abroad – Netherlands Here We Come!

Well, it's time to wave the Aussie flag again. It’s almost 3 years since we caught up with our overseas counterparts in Europe and the USA. In lieu of holding Chalk Urban Art Festival this year Australia’s most highly awarded pavement artist, Jenny McCracken and I are heading to the Netherlands.  Our first stop is Utrecht to work on a project with Dutch artist Leon Keer for the UK's Chester Zoo and then on to Arnhem for the World Street Painting Festival. On our last visit to Europe we filmed the documentary ‘Chalk: An Australian Perspective’ which has since screened on

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Chalk: An Australian Perspective – NOW SCREENING!

Our Chalk documentary airs on SBS1 7 October at 1pm 'Chalk: An Australian Perspective' follows Australia’s Champion Pavement Artists Jenny McCracken and Anton Pulvirenti We journey with them to the piazza of Grazie di Curtatone in Italy to compete at the world’s most influential yet gruelling pavement art competition, Incontro Nazionale dei Madonnari.  We explore how this once dying art form has evolved and exploded in popularity around the world.                   Above: ‘My Blue Angel’ 3D chalk ar

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Lucy Turnbull – Chalk Ambassador

Urbanist, business woman and philanthropist, Lucy Hughes Turnbull AO, has just been  confirmed as Ambassador of Australia's international pavement art competition Chalk Urban Art Festival. This unique street festival will attract a live audience of 200,000+ people and far greater extended audience online. It’s where people come to check out what the cool kids are doing, a showcase of talent, inspiration and innovation. “I'm proud to be involved with this exciting event”, said Ms Turnbull. “As an advocate for social innovation and the Arts, I’m looking forward to seei

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Kurt Wenner – Recreating Creativity

While at Sarasota Chalk Festival I attended a lecture on creativity by Master Artist, Kurt Wenner and almost 3 weeks later I'm still thinking about it.  Here's a very brief summary that touches on a few points that were discussed as well as a few images that demonstrate Wenner's creativity.   In his lecture Wenner discussed how society is starting to realise that creativity is a vital part of human intelligence that may determine the success or failure of an individual or even of a nation in the next decades. But, he questions, how can creativity be incorporated into edu

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Sarasota Chalk Festival 2012 – It’s a wrap!

Well over a hundred thousand people visited Sarasota Chalk Festival this year, I was one of the lucky ones to experience the festival from start to finish and see international chalk artists, street painters and graff artists produce magnificent works of art.  Having taken a sabbatical from Chalk Urban Art Festival to experience other festivals and explore international opportunities I am really glad I included Sarasota on my list this year.Sarasota Chalk Festival has a great program that attracts people from far and wide. In addition to the artworks there was great music,

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Wallenda crosses the line

Day four of Sarasota Chalk Festival and the artworks are coming to life.  The variety of interpretations of the circus theme is a heaps of fun for all attending. Watching Master Artist Kurt Wenner and his team produce the major street painting is a highlight everyday but today we had a nail biting experience when world renowned hire-wire walker Nik Wallenda arrived on site to pull one of his more daring stunts. Wallenda who has just completed a crossing of Niagara Falls was back in his home town to walk on a high-wire line created by pavement artists Anthony Cappetto,

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Sarasota Chalk Art Festival begins

After a great evening out in Deep Ellum checking out the street murals and live music scene in Dallas I made my way back to Dallas Airport (is there a bigger airport in the world?) and caught a flight to Sarasota. First day on site was a reunion!  I caught up with Denise Kowal, the Organiser of Sarasota Chalk Festival and artists I met in Italy including Tommo Saito (Japan/Italy), Marion Ruthardt (Germany), Ruben Martinez (Mexico), Cesar Paredes Pacora (Peru) and many others.  They and others are here to work with Master Artist Kurt Wenner on his 3D illusion designed for

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In Dallas, Texas having a nice day…

I can't remember being in a place where everyone is so polite, even the discussions about the election are polite!  "Have a nice day" they say, and so that's what I did.   I'm here in Dallas for a 2 night stopover before going to Sarasota Chalk Festival in Florida.  After the long haul flights to Europe back in August I was determined to take a break this time and I'm very glad I did. Dallas has a great art scene and Tex-Mex food is perfect for this hungry art fan.  After ducking into North Park Mall and grabbing a pair of Levi's to fight off the cold (9 degrees today

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On to Geldern for the 34th International Street Art Competition!

Following Grazie Jenny and I headed to Geldern for the 34th International Street Art Competition in Grazie.  Geldern is a total contrast to Grazie.  This event first started in 1979 to celebrate the 750th anniversary of Geldern.  While the Council thought it should be a one-off event, the public had other ideas - they voiced their opinions and were heard and thus here we are at the 34th anniversary. This town opens it arms to street painters, in fact you could say this town is breeding street painters.  Children as young as 4 years old take part in the festival, all ages

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Arrivederci Grazie…

There were so many outstanding artworks at Grazie that we couldn't depart for Germany where Jenny is guest artist at the Geldern Street Art Festival without sharing some more images with you.   Find out more about the colourful characters we met on our journey in our documentary which will be released in early 2013.  Be sure to stay in touch with us so we can keep you informed as to where you can view it as well as the latest news about Australia's own Chalk Urban Art Festival .

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Australia’s first Madonnara

Australia's Jenny McCracken has won first place in her division in the 'Olympics' of Street Painting in Grazie di Curtatone, Italy and will return to home as Australia's first Madonnara of Grazie.  Jenny impressed the judges with her original design, technique and skill of anamorphic perspective.   There are 3 levels to the competition in Grazie.  While Jenny has one the title of Champion Pavement Artist twice in Australia, she came in to the competition in Grazie as a novice in the 'Madonnari Semplici' division. She now enters the next level 'Qualificato', the next

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The competition heats up…

The competition and the temperature are heating up!  Most of the artists have worked right through the night, some have slept by their artworks, others have managed short breaks.   Today is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, thousands of people attend mass conducted by the Bishop of Mantova. People continue to flow through the piazza as the artworks form an incredible gallery of colour and passion by artists from all over the world.  It is a majestic sight.  The endurance  of the artists is to be applauded.  Regardless of the official results everyon

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The ‘Olympics’ of Street Painting begins!

Artists from around the world have descended on Grazie di Curtatone for the 40th anniversary of Incontro Nazionale dei Madonnari.  The festival opened with a street parade reflecting the medieval history of the region followed by an airshow and skydivers parachuting into the piazza delivering chalk to the Bishop to bless and distribute to the artists. The Mayor and other dignatories were also present and journalists and photographers from around the world are here to capture every moment. The atmosphere in the piazza heated up as the competition began.  Literally thousan

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Anticipation builds, artists prepare and organisers from around the world meet

The temperatures and humidity are set to soar tomorrow, artists from all over the world are arriving and registering for tomorrow's competition.  The pavements have been swept, cracks from the recent earthquakes are being filled and many espressos are being consumed as artists nervously examine their allotted spaces and make their preparations. I suspect Jenny will be up late tonight finalising her designs.  The more preparation, the easier it will be on site for her.  While she has 24 hours to complete her design, the heat and potential rain could dramatically cut down

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Benvenuti Australiani

We are in Grazie!  The Australian delegation are the first to arrive in Grazie di Curtatone and have been warmly welcomed by the organisers of the festival and the residents of this tiny town.  We are all extremely excited to be here.   Jenny has been quick to get out and assess the surface she'll be working on.  The ground is stained with the remains of artworks from last year.  In some areas the ground is badly cracked, in others splotches of tar mark the space.  Fingers crossed she'll have a good space to work on.   While Jenny prepares, we're filming and lining up