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Chalk Drawings

1,962 artworks, 264 artists
We mainly associate chalk drawings and pictures with children’s creativity. However, many renowned street artists use this art material in their work. The palette of colored chalk blocks is wide and varied.

Chalk is a sedimentary rock, a type of limestone that consists mainly of calcium carbonate, it is insoluble in water. Since it contains a large number of foreign inclusions, the composition is chemically cleaned before turning into a colored crayon. In addition to calcium carbonate, the crayons also include calcium sulphate (gypsum) and color pigments. This ensures perfect surface distribution and colour saturation. The composition of the crayons and their shape differ depending on the manufacturer, and each artist can choose the materials to their liking.

The history of pavement drawings goes back to the 16th century Italy. It was there that a cute tradition was born: on holidays, they decorated the streets with drawings of the Madonna with the baby Jesus in her arms, which was called “madonnari”. The artists used flower petals, colored sawdust or sand, and the drawings themselves were done without perspective distortion. A similar technique has long been used in the south of India and in a number of Asian countries to create traditional kolam patterns — symmetrical patterns that are believed to bring happiness, prosperity and understanding to the home. Kolam is drawn mainly by women, using rice flour, sand or chalk mixed with pigments.

The modern history of chalk painting began after World War II, when street artists created their temporary masterpieces for fun of the onlookers for a small fee. Over time, madonnari has become a kind of feature for some centers of urban tourism. Moreover, they began to make pictures with chalk using an optical technique of anamorphosis: from a certain point, the picture becomes three-dimensional, creating a full-fledged 3D effect. Such madonnari in a modern volumetric reading are created by world-famous artists: Kurt Wenner, who adores classical sculpture; Ellis Gallagher, who often depicts the shadow of his bicycle; Julian Beaver, who specializes on realistic dips and bodies of water. Madonnari fans have their own festival: since 1993, hundreds of artists have come to Pasadena (California, USA) every summer to take part in the Chalk Festival.

Another modern trend in chalk painting is information painting on an advertising board, which has become popular in shops and cafés. Such decorative design is performed by professional artists who possess not only drawing skills, but are also well versed in type design. This design is easy to change, and it looks very attractive. Artists use regular and coloured chalk, chalk markers, and pastels.