If you want to see Annmarie Geniusz’s original artwork, it’s a “right place, right time” situation. She works in chalk on the sidewalk, and the next rainstorm can carry away the masterpieces in minutes. This week in Selective Focus, Annemarie fills us in on the appeal of doing public, temporary artwork.
AG: I work in illustration, stained glass, and chalk art. This time of year (and since the start of quarantine) my main focus has been chalk art. This is a form of street art that involves drawing murals and 3D illusions with artist pastels on pavement. It is considered a performance art, and is often the focus of summertime “Chalk Art Festivals” across the country.
I got involved with this medium when I volunteered to help a friend with her chalk mural at Two Harbor’s Chalk-a-lot festival. I was impressed by the social aspect, happy with working in the out of doors, and enjoyed how supportive the general public is to art in unexpected places. In the art world, positive feedback and encouragement are sadly lacking. I love focusing this medium on spreading positivity and enjoy using all the colors in the box of chalk. This will be my third summer as a chalk artist.
The main challenge is just weather. I’m usually at the mercy of the heat, rain, or wind. Different pavement surfaces present their own challenges. And crawling around the pavement for a long period of time is physically demanding on the human body. I’m developing new muscles and yoga stretches everyday!
The biggest challenge of this summer of the pandemic is that I’m seeing a lot of chalk festivals canceled or switching format to virtual only. This is important for the safety of the public as well as the artists, but it is greatly reducing networking among other chalk artists and the general visibility of my work. Since my chalk art washes away in the rain or morning dew, there is a very limited time in which viewers can enjoy this work. The festival format helps draw in more viewers in to experience it in person. Social media has done a lot for the visibility and popularity of chalk art in recent years. I’m hopeful that it will continue to do so during this time frame.
Web page: ageniusz.com
You can also find my work just by walking down the street. I often chalk in my neighborhood, along 43 Ave East in Duluth. I try to post on my Instagram and Facebook pages where I will be chalking around town. My web page does have a stained glass shop, and contact information for those interested in illustrations, chalk art, custom stained glass, or to show any of my work in a public space/gallery.
I just got permission from the City of Duluth and Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory to do a larger chalk mural at the main overlook at Hawk Ridge this weekend (June 6, 7). This will be in conjunction with Denver’s Virtual Chalk Art Festival on Laimer Square 2020. I’m super excited to be part of that festival, even if it’s in digital format only. It’s an important national festival and it’s a big honor!
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