A sidewalk is the best canvas
For my art.
Brightly colored chalk
Hopscotch and spaceships
Dinosaurs and fairies
They all wash away in the rain
A clean slate
Where I can create again and again
Written by Patrick S. Stemp
Illustrated by Anita Soelver
This was on my mind after reading some local news a few months ago. The company managing a residential area sent out letters to tenants telling them they would be billed for the cleanup of sidewalk chalk if their kids were caught using it. They were banning the use of it anywhere in the complex.
The whole thing was pretty stupid. I think one of the reasons they wanted the sidewalks kept clean was so the area looked its best when selling to new tenants. In reality, I believe some miserable adult in an office found a way to suck some joy out of being a kid. Probably someone who grew up in a “children should be seen but not heard” household.
I’m not sure how it all worked out in the end – there was some backtracking and statements that they would never actually charge anyone. Whatever.
My kids used to love going out front and drawing on the sidewalk. It’s one of the best outdoor, creative activities we have. I guess some people would rather they stayed inside and downloaded an app for that.
Thinking about it, it’s kind of weird that I didn’t do more of this when I was a kid, but it was a rare thing. Of course, I’ve done my part of hopscotches in the school yard, but other than that.. not much.
I don’t think I have ever thought of it as an artform before I visited London in my early twenties. Artists were found throughout the city, on their knees, painting on the sidewalks or whatever suitable surface they could find. It was amazing to see the art that they created, knowing it would be gone in a day or two, since it rained half the time I was there.
And a few years ago I saw the first 3D paintings from street artists on the internet. It was mind boggling. I’m still not sure how they do it, no matter how many pictures I see from various angles. Such craftsmanship it takes, to create art like that.
So many artists all over the world, expressing themselves in so many way.