A light day today with kids, a few minutes to rest and have some sweet moments in-between. I left my lights on while running music out of my truck and guess what... luckily a lady in green bug was able to help me out and get me up and running - thank you! We begin again tomorrow, onward to chalk heaven.
• Day Two: I found myself on site at 9am without any volunteer support and thought a class was about to arrive. Freaked out a little, our support did show, and the kids arrived safe and sound and we had a good work day - great kids, great parent, volunteer, and teacher support.
The community is extremely supportive. Rosenblum's is housing our chalk nearby in their warehouse. Doug D. with the Navy helped me get 30 + delineators (cones) to secure our site from cars that are ready to drive right over our project. (Tetra Tech let us barrow these - thanks).
Thurs. will be a lighter kid load.
Sunday, June 1, we are inviting friends and family to come and work with us from 9am - noon +. •
Well it happened, or I should say its happening. After a five year vision, two years of hard work, we hit the ground drawing today. Lum Elementary School showed up in force, it seemed like all kids showed up at once! We circled up, said words of gratitude, and started to color in our salamander's right foot.
The kids were great, lots of parent support with AC Transit helping with busing.
One day down and ten more to go. Almost hard to believe it all, a big dream.
Something special happened after all the kids left, part of a huge rainbow appeared high in the sky, and then another one - this one a full circle around the sun. I thought it must be magic and that is was the colored chalk from the kids and the wind.
* Memorial Day, remembering those who have died for our country so that we can be free. I was wondering this morning about remembering all the artists who have lived for our country and the world so that we can be free.
OK, it's happening! Our permit is FINALLY complete. I chalk drew with over 750 elementary school kids over the last 3 days. We reworked our salamander drawing, it was looking too frog like, and yesterday we outlined it on site! We also got our large grant of $10,000 increased to $15,000!
OK, this is too much fun. That's me drawing using a grown man as a piece of chalk! I am pushing Clayton on a cart while he holds a large piece of chalk, and we go from point to point that the other folks have marked out for us. Too much fun!
Chalk and water rolled out for our initial outline - works really good!
We have a new sketch and I took another photograph from the other building across the way, very cool to have a great camera view of it all.
Later a few men on the chalk team did a test with chalk, water, and rollers. We are thinking this will be a great way to handle our negative space (area around the creature, in this sketch it's black) and let the kids to inside the salamander.
Last week a painting of a large nude woman sold for 33 million dollars. That's a lot of money. One source said the United States Government has spent 443 billion dollars in the current wars. That's a lot of money. We just bought more chalk yesterday for $2,400. That's a lot of money and... a lot of chalk. ~M *
Well we are having our site street cleaned tomorrow, not from the city, but from another connection, a company called Sweepercity.net is donating their services. Thank you!
This morning I presented to another elementary school, Ruby Bridges, got all 500ish kids in 3 assemblies which went really good. I can tell by how quiet it is. In the afternoon I had a quick chance to get into a middle school, good kids! Later in the grocery store a young man said, "I know you, you came to my high school last week and talked about a chalk drawing."
Things are coming together. It now feels like it is happening, we have already hit the ground and will be drawing shortly. It's a good ride!
Today, Sunday.... up early, this project now has me non stop. I work/play all the time on this project. It's way too much fun - a two year project I originally created - so cool, great way to stay connected and excited about something, have it come from inside you. I'll also be glad when its over. I have put my heart and soul into it and a few thousand hours into it and does need to end, come to a completion, get freaking drawn!
Today I am going to finalize the site drawing. Our big salamander in a square with lots of space to draw, color, and be creative inside of it. I need to look at more of the kids chalk drawings from all the schools I have been going to. I don't want the art to look grown up, so it's a place where I as the professional artist meets the world of kid art - not a big stretch.
This weeks looks a little crazy, last week before we begin to draw which will be next Sat. when begin to lay out initial line work. I have 4 lecture/presentations and 2 chalk drawings at elementary school. I am still hoping to get into a middle school or two. Wish me luck!
What we need now is to have our site street cleaned, we need the lightly crumbling surface scrubbed and vacuumed, the way a street cleaner does. We asked the city awhile ago and got a no. I thought I'd ask again, in a different way, in a pretty-please! I bought a dozen roses and took them over to City Hall and left them for the City Manager with this note.
Dear, I thought it would be nice to drop off some flowers and thank you for your help and the city’s support for our project. We couldn't do this without you. And now you might be thinking, “OK, what do they want now?” It’s true… what we rally need help with on our epic large community art project is to have the base site “street cleaned.”
The taxiway is generally in good shape, it’s the old and crumbling top surface that is the issue for us. Street cleaning our 300 x 300 ft. area will; allow us to use less chalk reducing our cost, keep more chalk on the pavement and not in the little rolling surface pebbles moving around on the ground. Street cleaning will keep chalk from being blown away in the afternoon winds and keep more chalk staying on our drawing over two weeks. Street cleaning will pick up small pieces of glass, protecting thousands of finger and knees of our kids and adults who will be helping us draw.
Please let me know if this is a possibility (have my fingers crossed). Our site area between the control tower and building #25. We have the site surveyed and there are orange markers on the ground. I live on the base and can get out there quickly and put cones out to help.
Whew... at our weekly meeting on Tues. night, during the closing circle I said to everyone that this project was now out of my control. They laughed and said it's been out of my control for some time.
It's now too big for me to maintain everything so things are starting to drop through the cracks. What I get to do is either freak out and go insane, or drop back and in, relax, and surrender knowing that it's all good. I'll choose the later.
I like this foot chalk drawing, it's grounding, reminds me of a dancer friend and her feet... grounding.
My job now is to buy CHALK, enough to cover the site, and extra for sale at the event for people/kids to buy to continue to fund raise for future creative art projects. Four chalks I have been looking at are from Koss, Prang, Colorations, and Loew Cornell.
All the big events use Koss, more expensive for our quantity but excellent quality, Prangs are big and nice but may be also out of our price, Colorations from Discount School Supplies (shown above) has a box of 160 pieces (the size of and adult thumb) and these look like they will work and be affordable, especially with a possible donation. Loew Cornell chalk is the best price but is light and disappears the fastest.
The next issue is WIND. Come late afternoon, the wind picks up and rolls in across the Base which is all open, so guess what..... our chalk blows and this is a new issue to deal with image and chalk dust wise. To be continued....
Yesterday we got our site surveyed by RBF Consulting with the help from Jim Brezack. 300 x 300 feet, that's 90,000 sq. ft. - gulp! I took my daughter and dog out on the site and placed cones, and got up into the Control Tower to take these pictures (red line are in Photoshop).
*Yesterday I started to draw just before 7am in downtown Vallejo CA. I was the featured artist for their first chalk drawing festival. Pretty low key. Instead of doing a large drawing of an old masterpiece, I did a cool community chalk drawing project, even figured it out as I drove up there the night before.
I started to draw in the center of the street, a heart, then drew a long black & white line. As people came by I invited them to help me draw and traced some of them out on the street. Over the day I chalked them in with community help weaving a creative community web.
1) Yesterday the Kids' Chalk Art Project just won $500 in the "SHARE YOUR DREAM" competition!
The competition asked people to upload videos responding to the question "What do you dream for in your community?" Four winners would receive $500 to make their dream happen. Videos were limited to 60 seconds so I uploaded an edited-down version of the Kids' Chalk Art Project video focusing on Mark Wagner's "I have a dream" speech... and we won!
The competition was sponsored by Youth Noise, a social networking site or youth activists (www.youthnoise.com); the Case Foundation, a foundation created to support entrepreneurship in the non-profit sector (www.casefoundation.org); and Bebo, a social networking site (www.bebo.com).
I wake before dawn, I just do, and I begin to think about this project. No sense in just thinking about it, I get up, hot shower, coffee, food and hit the studio and begin work like this writing.
Much better to be in action and not do any mind spinning. Running such a big project requires a great amount of energy and focus. It's important for me to know what not to do, being careful with social time, more important for me to be with my kids and get out into nature. Thank god for my dog in all of this, he goes with me everywhere and is some of the best medicine I have even been blessed to be around.
Me and My Dog
Below are new cards and poster. Have a powerful and clear creative day! ~Mark