12 Packs: 48 Ct. (576 Total) Crayola Washable Sidewalk Chalk | Michaels®

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The sight of kids drawing on the pavement with sidewalk chalk is practically guaranteed to induce a session of nostalgia. As summertime traditions go, getting down on a lawn to let one’s artistic imagination run wild is right up there with running through sprinklers and setting up lemonade stands. But what adults caught up in reveries about the long, lazy days of childhood might not realize is that sidewalk chalk art is just a pastime that connects us not only to memories of our smaller selves, but to an abundant historical tradition that goes completely back again to 16th-century Italy.

While people have been using chalk to create pictures since age cavemen, the Italian traveling artists known as madonnari appear to have been among the earliest practitioners of street art. Robin VanLear, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s director of community arts, explains in a post on the museum’s website

In 16th-century Italy various beggars, primarily amputees, began searching for an edge over one other beggars who proliferated in the plazas and market areas around cathedrals, especially on feast days. A number of them decided to create art , and charcoal from braziers became their first drawing implement. They certainly were rewarded for their efforts with coins thrown down by pilgrims visiting the cathedrals. Ultimately the more artistic beggars began copying portraits of the Madonna, particularly those by the most popular early 16th-century liturgical artist Raphael. These were dubbed Madonnari, painters of the Madonna.

Whilst the 2011 book Asphalt Renaissance, published by the road artist Kurt Wenner along side B. Hansen and M. Hospodar, explains, madonnari realized they could maximize their earnings by working as traveling artists, moving between towns based on religious festival schedules. The Italian tradition continued for centuries, and soon street art began popping up in countries like England and Germany as well.

The English counterparts to madonnari, called “screevers,” emerged in Victorian London and remained a fixture of the city until World War II. Screevers were less closely associated with religious subject material, but like the madonnari, they made a living with their ephemeral art.

In George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London, an autobiographical book about poverty published in 1933, mcdougal describes his encounter with a screever named Bozo. A self-declared “serious screever,” Bozo specialized in drawing political cartoons informed by the day’s news. (“Once a kid got its head stuck in the railings of Chelsea Bridge,” Bozo said. “Well, I heard about it, and my cartoon was on the pavement before they’d got the child’s head out of the railings.”) Orwell suggests Bozo had ample competition among London street artists: “At that time there clearly was a screever nearly every twenty-five yards over the Embankment.” But whereas a lot of Bozo’s peers drew the same thing everyday, Bozo distinguished himself by focusing on something new—a method he said paid off. “The very best thing’s to keep changing your picture, because once they see you drawing they’ll stop and watch you,” he explained.

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Screevers were also memorialized in the 1964 Disney film Mary Poppins, set in Edwardian-era England. In the song “Chim Chim Cheree,” Bert, the twinkly-eyed chimney sweep played by Dick van Dyke, boasts about his side hustle Today I’m a screever, and as you can see

A screever’s an artist of’ighest degree
And it’s all me own work from me own memory

Bert is notably less concerned than Bozo about building a living—although the same can’t be said about his hat. “No remuneration do I ask of you,” he sings, “But me cap could be glad of a copper or two.”

As VanLear explains, many European street artists fought in World Wars I and II, which meant that the practice of professional sidewalk chalk drawing faded for a great the main 20th century. Then, in 1972, the Italian village of Grazie di Curtatone decided to host an international street-painting competition to honor the history of madonnari. Your competitors, known as Incontro Nazionale dei Madonnari, was a great success, attracting hundreds of European artists and assisting to revive interest in sidewalk painting.

Roughly a decade later, its profile got another boost from Wenner, who’d become the founder of 3D street art—a technique that uses tricks of perspective to produce pavement drawings seem to soar from the sidewalk or sink into it. Wenner was studying classical art in Italy in the 1980s and started drawing on pavement as a means to produce money. He eventually made his method to Grazie’s festival, where he took first place four years in a line, then brought his enthusiasm for street painting back once again to the US, launching an annual festival—the initial in the country—in his hometown of Santa Barbara, California, in 1986.

By the time Asphalt Renaissance was published in 2011, the US was home to between 50 and 100 street-painting festivals each year. Europe has additionally experienced a street-painting festival boom, with events in such varied locales since the Netherlands, Germany, France, England, and Serbia; there are options in Australia, Canada, and Mexico, too. So should you encounter some kids smeared with chalk dust come july 1st, inform them to keep at it. There exists a future in sidewalk chalk yet.

Buy the 12 Packs: 48 ct. (576 total) Crayola Washable Sidewalk Chalk from Michaels. Kids can create big, bold outdoor art with this colorful sidewalk chalk. The oversized chalk sticks are great for drawing in fine lines or broad strokes, and the anti-roll shape keeps the chalk from rolling away. Go big and bold with Crayola® washable sidewalk chalk. Ideal for sidewalks and driveways, this box gets kids outside for imaginative fun. Create murals, handwritten messages, or chalk games including hopscotch, tic tac toe, and four square! Enjoy a dive

About Dayana Melton

Dayana Melton
Hello my name is Dayana Melton. I have been working on chalk art for a long time. I will try to explain and show you the experiences I have been working on in chalk art for a long time. If you have any suggestions or questions, you can write to me from the contact section.

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