Monday, January 19, 2009

Obama Sky: An Earth Inauguration by Daniel Dancer

Daniel Dancer is a fellow art brother. He recently pulled this piece off in Chicago using children, recycled garbage, and sod to create a portrait of Obama.

After the election of Barrack Obama it began to seem like there was a whole new spirit in this country, an excitement, an edge, a never-before-seen unity . . . almost as if we were living under a whole new "sky" . . . . it felt so wide and pervasive. I sent out an email to every principal in Illinois to try to find a venue to celebrate the first black president in a special way. Thinking many would respond, only one did . . . Vaida Williams, a big, brave and wildly joyful woman from the Alex Haley School on Chicago's southside, a 100% African-American school so "rough" that they had no toilet paper or fixtures in the bathrooms . . . you had to check it out.

The weather was frigid, blizzards covered our work twice, we gave up . . . and then on the scheduled day of the event, we woke up to an unexpected clear and sunny day. Inspired by the seemingly impossible task Obama is welcoming as he takes office and with the help of students, teachers and parents who came out in droves to help us, we all worked furiously to turn a snowy field in to the image below.

With fresh snow in Obama's teeth and eyes, 900 students jumped in to form his hair, suit, shirt and border . . . "YES!" was spelled out of recycled cans and an Earth flag lies embedded in his tie in this 12,000 square foot image. Thank you Jade and Chris for coming up to help . . . it couldn't have been done without you . . . nor with the sun that surprised us that morning, a big lesson about expecting miracles!

Daniel Dancer

News Video of the Obama Portrait

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

PTA Award and the Chalk Book

I was just selected for the PTA award for 2008. I am being honored for "involving our children in a wonderful event, bringing art and creativity to their world."

We also just sent our chalk drawing book to print for an artist proof, pretty exciting. 80 pages with lots of color, chalk drawings, kids, community, and a world record! It will be available for sale hopefully by the end of the month.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Heaven on Earth

I was contacted through the internet for an interesting chalk drawing job. The job was to make a chalk drawing in a kid's style, photograph the drawing, turn it into a 18 x 36 in. print. The print would then get framed and given as a thank you gift to the First Lady Janet, wife of the Uganda's President. She helped open the Miranda Memorial Academy, a children's K - 8 school in Uganda, Africa.

There is an abandoned park on the decommissioned Alameda Naval Air Base, near where I live. I have been eyeing it for awhile knowing it was a prime spot for chalk drawing.

The size of a basketball court is 94 x 50 ft. Tracy Stum was awarded a Guinness World Record for the Largest Chalk Drawing by an Individual. Her piece was 34 x 17.5 ft. I am thinking that one day, I'll have to do a larger piece on this site.

Zander, my beloved chalk dog continues to hang with me.

Last year we set a new world record for the largest chalk drawing, 6000 people, 90,000 sq. ft., two weeks, a mess of kids, a satellite photograph. Here I was chalk drawing alone for the first time and I really loved it.

Abandoned park, isolated area, my dog was off leash in a large fenced in area, hawks, trees, wind, clouds. Large ships and some of my favorite tugboats behind me working the Oakland port. Something about being alone, making art, warm day, my ipod playing Armin van Buuren, and working on a paid project, for a kid's school in Africa, and drawing on a fantastic surface. This is Heaven on Earth.

I completed the work knowing I would finish the piece on the computer in Photoshop. I moved some kids around, did a little touch up all over, printed the piece at Kinkos and mailed it off.