You wouldn’t dream of walking across the Mona Lisa, or letting it sit out in the rain, but the artists who create works for the Victoria International Chalk Art Festival are willing to create and sacrifice their work to the elements.
The fourth annual street painting festival, Sept. 12 and 13, encompasses a two block portion of Government Street between Fort and Yates Streets along with a special 20’ x 20’ 3D display on the Bay Centre’s lower level, centre court.
Artists from Canada, the US and Mexico will create works based on this year’s festival theme: Adventure in the Spirit World, a celebration of dreams, mystery and wonder.
“This year we are presenting 3D artist Adry Del Rocio from Mexico City, who, along with her brother artist Carlos Alberto, will paint a 3D tribute to BC First Nations beginning on Sept. 9,” says John Vickers, Executive Director for the Chalk Art Society.
The festival is as much fun for the artists as it is for the visitors.
“The chalk festival here in Victoria is just a lot of fun,” says artist Michael Woestenburg. “Meeting and learning from other artists. I would like to continue being a part of it in the future.”
Woestenburg has been an artist his entire life and has a degree in fine art and graphic design, but didn’t take it seriously until a couple of years ago. “My mother is an artist herself and Ojibway, I had learned a lot through her. I never really started out doing any one style of art growing up,” he says. “As a kid I spent a lot of time drawing characters from cartoons on TV and comic books. But as you get older, interests change as did what I had attempted to try my hand at in the past.”
This summer will be Woestenburg’s third participating in the chalk festival. “I had never done chalk art prior. There are a lot of things art related I haven’t done before and would like to do,” he says.
Woestenburg enjoys the positive atmosphere created at the chalk art festival.
“There is no better venue for a grown man looking for an excuse to draw with chalk in the middle a street,” he says.
“I seem to spend more time socializing rather than drawing which is OK with me as I am still not good at chalk art,” says Woestenburg. “Those who come to check out the festival are always engaging with all sorts of questions and compliments which is both very nice and encouraging.”
The free to attend arts festival will feature local First Nation painters, drummers, singers and dancers as well as other artists and musicians from across Greater Victoria. They will be joined on Government Street by additional chalk painters from Florida, California and Washington.
The event presents a performance stage within the Fort to Yates street closure zone (located near View Street) and also hosts a nearby Kid’s Chalk Zone throughout the weekend with free chalk available. michaelwoestenburg.wix.com/aboriginal, victoriachalkfestival.com