Wednesday, June 25, 2008

When You Have Dream, Come Find Me

Ken Duffy (Frank Synopsis on Flickr) took this shot from a commercial airline and tracked me down to send it my way. So cool, what a great photo, highest and best so far. It's really wonderful for me to see this, a vision come true, a vision come into this world.

I may of mentioned this before, but as I talked to all the kids that came to the event to help over the two weeks, I thanked them for helping a dream of mine come true (something that I couldn't do by myself). I also told them that when they had a dream that they should come find me and I'll help them do it.

I've been reflecting on the community creation aspect of the project, that an entire community (approx. 6000 people, over 1/2 of them elementary school kids) helped to create one large piece of art together - big enough to be seen from outer space. I am inspired!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fading Away Into All Animal Mountains

The colors and the event are fading away. Hard to believe it finally happened after so much time and energy and people, and now something on the other side of doing, it's done.

Today we are submitting the Guinness World Record material. We have been gathering photos, witness documents, filling out paper work, attaching survey reports, and making eveything easy for the Guinness people to just say - looks great, congratulations!

There are now tire tracks on the drawing. For two weeks we had the keys to lock the gate to the site which only had one gate in and out. Now it basically belongs to the people, though the Navy still officially owns the property.

I am excited to now have some freelance work as concept artist with Pixar/Disney working on early development for a feature film. The summer is here, school is out, my kids are scattered about with friends and summer camps coming up.

I know we did good by all of this. We touched a great many people, especially kids that is a powerful way to invest creatively into the future. It was such an epic adventure. Like climbing a mountain, not sure if I/we could actually do it, then it happens, we do, we did.... and this then becomes something of the past but more importantly, it becomes something internal for everyone who worked on it.

I think it's a seed that is planted inside that grows into all mountains, into all climbers, into other big animals, big art, big creative spirit energy that we all put into everything we do, into our other dreams, into this moment and the next.

Creative Blessings,

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

STORYTIME: The Journey Home, Remember?

STORYTIME: The Journey Home, Remember?

Once upon a time there were two kids who were exploring beyond where they had ever been and… they got lost. They couldn’t remember how to get home, and as your storyteller – I can’t remember how this story ends, so I need your help!

For three days and nights they walked, and finally came across an old house where an Old Lady and Old Man lived. The children stay for several days and helped out around the house. Imagine being one of the kids and helping out old people, what would you do?

Would you do the dishes, lift heavy things, garden, paint the house, what color? Would you chalk draw for them, tell them stories, would you listen to their stories?

Then the children were finally ready to leave. The Old Man gave them a FIRE SALAMANDER, which is one of the oldest living creatures on this planet. It is described as a living dinosaur. There is new salamander in this millennium, it’s called a Tiger Salamander, it’s an endangered species that lives right here in the wetlands of Northern California.

The Old Lady gave them a leaf from a GINKGO TREE, which is one of the oldest living plants on this planet; it’s 270 million years old! There are gingko trees here in Alameda. Some gingko (ginkgo biloba) is used to help us think well – it’s a plant that helps in remembering.

The kids put the salamander and the leaf together and guess what happened?
Yup… the salamander ate the leaf and must have remembered something
because it took off running the kids followed close behind.

Then, one by one, each of the elementary schools’ mascot/totem animals
shows up to help the kids remember how to get home.

The Edison Otter helps them have fun and not worry.
The Washington Tiger helps them be courageous.
The Otis Owl helps them to see at night and be wise.
The Bayfarm Dolphin helps them cross the water and learn about love.
The Henry Haight Eagle flies high and helps them see the big picture.
The Franklin Falcon helps them communicate to each other
The Lum Bear reminds them to rest and learn about dreaming.
The Paden Pelican teaches the kids about working together.
The Ruby Bridges Star lights their way at night and points the way.

And Saint Joseph reminds the children that they are “already home because
they are connected to nature.” (said by a child)

And how does the story end? Remember, I can’t remember, it’s up to you using

Told to the elementary school children of Alameda CA
Mark Wagner © 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Youth in Arts - Italian Street Painting Festival

On Sunday I went over to the Youth in Arts - Italian Street Painting Festival in San Rafael CA. It's one of the largest chalk drawing festival in the States and has been going on for 15 years. Excellent festival, excellently produced. Artist work two days or more on their own work and space which is approx. 9 x 12 ft, featured artists larger.

Last year Clayton Thiel and I were the featured artists, we created a 16 x 20 ft. piece that included twelve 3D buddha heads made of plaster and fiber glass. See more

After finishing our epic big World Record chalk drawing last week, it was so nice to go to this festival that I usually do work at, and just walk around, watching artists draw, taking lots of photographs, and sit and watch people watching artists. Wonderful way to just be. I did bring along photos of our piece and loved showing them to other chalk artists who more than anyone could really get what we just accomplished!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

361 Updated FlickR Photographs

Just uploaded 361 photos to our FlickR Gallery.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Satellite Photograph

This is our Satellite Photograph. It didn't happen the day of the event as planned due to technological difficulties but it did happen yesterday. Still, pretty cool to see our drawing seen from outer space, photographed from a satellite! Thank you GeoEye!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dust to Dust

It will be interesting to watch our large chalk drawing fad over time back into the elements. The wind and sun will continue to wear it down until the rains come in the late fall to take more of it away.

I love that this piece is temporary, I think that is what made it even more special is that it's here now and and it's already fading into our memory and back into the runway of the decommissioned Naval Air Base.

I also love that we made some big art on an old military base - good reuse!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

6000 Re-Generations

Salamander Eye

Someone told me about how a salamander is the only vertebrate that can regrow a lost limb, that's pretty powerful stuff. I have a sense that what happened with our big chalk drawing was/is that we regenerated a creative part of ourselves that was like a lost limb, as individuals and perhaps ever more importantly, as a community creating together.

Our "official" artist/body count is 5678 people, with 3863 elementary school kids, parents, teachers, and 1816 people on Sat. That's so cool! I add another 250 + with our team and other people coming to draw over the two weeks. So I call it 6000 artists working together to create something one could not create by themselves and only in collaboration.

We had a team wrap meeting last night. We each told our memorable moments, we laughed a lot, acknowledged each other, spoke about what worked and what didn't work. All in all it was an awesome, amazing, and transformative project.

I can take credit for the initial idea (though that was a string of separate pieces of information that all come together in a vision), now add 6000 people plus another 1000 + people who heard about it, supported it from afar, worked behind the scenes, drove the buses, did the interviews, worked on the accounting, talked to other people, help out with insurance and licenses, wrote contracts, called other people, and had a limb in the project.

And add at least one dog.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Supported by the Universe

Kite photograph by Michael Layefsky

Aerial Photograph by Mark Wagner

I got up in an airplane on Sunday and this is what I saw! I used two cameras and photographed as much as I could. On the last pass I put the cameras down and just took it in, a very sweet moment. Good job everyone, well done!

We are still waiting for the satellite photograph. I heard they had a glitch and will be taking another photograph today. I'll post it when I get it.

What now? I am beginning to clean up my office (chalk central), front yard (chalk central), hallway and closet (chalk central), and garage (chalk central). I was fortunate in the way the Universe supported me in this project. My family began a remodel of our house and we needed to move out. We found a house to rent right on the Base near where the chalk drawing was to happen. I was the closest person to the site which was very cool and convenient for me. Even when I flew overhead in the airplane, I saw my family and dog running out in front of the house on the street and waving.

I 'd like to plug another personal project here. As I have worked on this project for the last two years, I have also finished my first book which is now for sale. It's titled, "THE ART OF BEING A DAD (the First Seven Years). On sale now for $24.95 only through my dad book web site -

Creative Blessings to Everyone!

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Morning Circle with Team

Well, we did it! After a five year vision, two years of hard work, thousand and thousands of kids, hundreds of parents, volunteers, friends and family, an amazing team, a dog, the City of Alameda, the US Navy, sponsors, the PTA, school district, and excellent weather, and so much more - we just set a new World Record!

We will now gather our information and submit it to Guinness to see if we set their record.

Top Two Photos by Michael Layefsky

I was the first person on site (I was also the last person to leave) and unlocked the gate for the last time. There was an about two hours of set up, making sure everything was as it should be. I can't say enough about the support we got from everyone, from friends and family, from the extended community - it was truly a sight to behold. Everything about this project was good medicine - kids, community, and the creative spirit. We basically couldn't go wrong.

We did have several incidents though, we gave out THREE BAND-AIDS!

People started to just flow in, checking in at the greeting tables, reading our information boards, and then going out onto the site, finding chalk that was stashed around, and they started to draw. We had donated an excellent sound sysytem and I got to make the play list with all the music that I love and know works well with making art, dropping in, and having easier access to one's creativity - almost all non-vocal work, movie sound tacks, ambient, and trance.

People came from all over. The mom (on left) came down from Napa to make art with four teenagers.

Having a huge canvas that the community could create together on was something that I hadn't quite thought about or seen until it happened. A biog opportunity to create and express, alone or with family.

There is/was something here, something I can only now barely sense, something about a community being creative together, something else that is created, not just the imagery, but an collective energy.

Chalk seems to be a perfect medium, it gets color in your hands, get you outside, bending over or sitting down on the Earth, it's temporary, here now, then fads away and disappears over time.

My youngest kid and me at the heart of the critter.

Cristin speaking at the opening/closing ceremony.

At 11:o0am we started to pull people off the site to get ready for our satellite photograph at 11:20am. There were 800-1000 people who lined up holding hands. I introduced the project, told a story about a salamander and a gingko leaf, and acknowledged the team and our sponsors. At the 11:20, we stood quiet and breathed in and out this big creative community adventure.

The famous chalk and mural artist and friend, Tracy Stum. Tracy holds the Guinness World Record for the largest chalk drawing created by a single artist.

Two of my main supporters.

Maria and Kevin - Documentary Film

Over the last several days I have been thanking the larger groups of kids for helping me with this big dream, and that when they have a big dream for themselves, to come find me and I'll help!

Well, that's it for now. I have had lots of insights already. I'll blog daily for a couple of more days to share more. I'll post the satellite photograph when I receive it (hopefully this week). The production of this event was awesome, and went over without a hitch and that is because we were so organized!

Thank you everyone and everything in helping us out, all the seen and unseen worlds, it's been way too much fun. What incredible kids and adults I have meet and have had the honor to create with! I am not who I was when I started this.

End of the Story: the lost kids remembered that they were already home because they were connected to the some of the oldest living life on the planet, and connected to their creativity and imagination.

May we all be blessed more than ever with the Creative Spirit in our lives.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

We Are Here Now - Celebrating the Creative Spirit

Last school to visit the site.

View from the Control Tower

View from Building #25

Well we did it, with the help of over 3000 elementary school kids and the community of Alameda, we created the World's Largest Chalk Drawing.

Whew.... speechless and proud of the kids, myself, my team, and the Great Creative Spirit!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Day One - Last Day Until Tomorrow

I like that line, "Last Day Until Tomorrow", isn't it so true. Tomorrow is really just another day, it's also the end of a two year push into this project and a five year vision.

I could write a book about it all and I just may later, but for now I'll just say WOW, WE DID IT! I thanked the kids that helped with the chalk drawing, thousands of them, I said if they ever had a big dream, they should come and find me, I'll help out!

Above photo is from on top of building #25. Our Salamander and new Gingko leaf is hard to see photographed from the back (how rude!) but here it is, all chalk dusted and closer to being finished.

Today we will be outlining everything and it will really come to life.... and be able to be seen from outer space! Satellite photo at 11:20 am tomorrow. We finished yesterday with a team meeting about producing the event tomorrow. Everything is looking good.

One of my oldest friends from art school, Rev. Alexandra Childs, doing her evening prayers.

Finish Line Drawning in Sight - 2 Days to Go

You might be asking, how much chalk? A lot of chalk!

Two more days to go. I still wake up at 5am and my mind starts to race about what still needs to be done. The only thing that worked this morning was to pull my dog near and put my head up against the back of his head and to meditate on something else - got me another 1/2 hour of rest.

I stayed up late with a team member who helped me with information signs that we will be using on site; like who are we, what are we doing, and why art is good for kids and the World.

I am noticing many things throughout the evolution of this amazing project. Yesterday I saw boys who are into sports drawing a baseball field. This is one of the great things about art, it's not about being an "artist," it's about enjoying the expression of things that you love.

The boys with cameras on poles showed up and we all got some awesome shots, long shadows as the sunset right over the city line of San Francisco. Best day and evening weather so far, really nice!

I realized this project and salamander/gingko drawing has it's own living mascot. Zander.