New this year at Visit Gahanna’s 19th annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (June 16-18) is the Buskers’ Bayou area (presented by Gahanna Rotary) featuring magicians, painters and chalk artist Chris Fry, the “Chalk Goblin.” We wondered … how does one build a career creating temporary chalk masterpieces on pavement? So we caught up with Chris for a little one-on-one:
When did you start doing chalk art?
I’ve drawn with chalk and pastels for years, but I first started drawing on the ground around 13 years ago.
What inspires your work?
Mostly my own imagination — my head has always been full of trolls, dragons, and other weird creatures. My daughters give me a lot of inspiration as well — I try to create images that they’ll think are fun and cool.
How long does it take (on average) to create one of your works?
Depends on the size of the piece… On average, it takes 3 to 4 hours to get it to the point where I can call it finished. If time (and weather!) allows, I’ll keep adding on until it becomes something more than I first pictured, which is when it gets to be fun.
Where have you created your works? (ie. Festivals/ events/ etc.)
I’ve done chalk festivals like Via Colori in Columbus, Chalk About It in Dayton, the Columbus Arts Festival, and Chalk the Block at Easton every fall. I’ve done chalking at other art or community events all across Ohio, from a food truck rally in Kenton to the Fourth of July celebration in Hudson to the Sternwheeler Festival in Pomeroy. Last year, I did two nights of chalk art for Highball Halloween, which was a lot of fun. I also do a lot of promotional and advertising chalk art for local concerts and events around Cleveland and Columbus.
Which of your designs has garnered the most attention?
My first year of the Easton Chalk the Block event, I did a large, bright red phoenix being ridden by three colorful explorers (my three daughters); to this day, people still recognize me for that piece, which makes me smile. However, I once drew a concert promo featuring the logo for the band Journey, which they then shared on their Facebook page, earning me 12,000 likes, which was also pretty cool. 🙂
What are your favorite subjects?
I like drawing dragons and other fantastical creatures. Subjects like that allow you to have fun with color and composition without having to worry about it looking “realistic” enough. I try to steer away from things that are too serious when drawing on the ground.
What can visitors expect to see from you on Saturday during the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival?
Something fanciful and maybe just a little bit off-beat. Something that will hopefully fit the mood of the music.
Any tips for folks who might want to try their hand at chalk art?
Just go out and do it. Don’t be afraid to not have a plan, and don’t be intimidated by the size of the space. Just start drawing and coloring, and go with what feels right. If it doesn’t turn out, no big deal; it’ll wash away soon and you can try again.
Do you have a favorite design that you created?
Each time I finish a piece, that tends to be my favorite, until the next one.
Does the fact that your art is temporary ever prove discouraging?
Only if the rain comes and it starts disappearing before I’m done (which has happened more than once). Once I’ve finished, I just want it to stick around long enough for folks to enjoy it. After that, I’m ready to move on to the next one.
Where can you be found on social media?
http://www.chalkgoblin.com / Facebook.com/chalkgoblin
Twitter @chalkgoblin. I sometimes post to Instagram using @chalkgoblin, but I hate hashtags, so no one can ever find my stuff there. 🙂
See Chris work his artistic Chalk Magic in Buskers Bayou (located at South Mill & Granville St.) from 5-8 pm Saturday, June 17 at the Gahanna, Ohio Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (117 Mill St.) For tickets and a full 3-day event schedule, go to www.CreeksideBluesandJazz.com