REDMOND — Sixteen internationally know artists drew oohs and aahs from passersby as they observed the transformation of 164th Avenue in the Redmond Town Center, to a myriad of interactive 3D murals.
Last weekend’s PNW Chalk Fest was described by Redmond Town Center Marketing Manager, Jessica Morgan, as “an amazing event!”
“Everything went well. Thousands of attendees came to view the murals and shop merchant sidewalk sales. The weather held up and it was a busy and beautiful day.”
Among the talented artists was Naomi Haverland, a Denver native who now calls Alki, home.
Naomi moved to Washington state in 2017 and was one of the first artists to introduce 3D chalk art to the Puget Sound region.
“It was huge in Denver, but no one was doing it here,” she said. “It’s really taken off now. A lot of my work has been displayed at the Amazon and Microsoft plazas and in Pioneer Square.”
Haverland, an artist for as long as she can remember, initially painted with oil then transitioned to chalk art in 2010.
“I was trying to make it as a traditional artist, but I discovered people were more interested in paying for temporary art, for the magic of the experience rather than the product. They liked watching the process of chalk art coming to life. It’s like they have to enjoy it then and there while it lasts.”
There are two styles of chalk art: 2D and 3D. The difference between the two styles is that 2D objects have only height and width, while 3D objects have height, width and depth.
“I started out creating 2D art, but after attending several chalk art events in Denver, I met and ended up working with Chris Carlson who is one of the top 3D artists in the world,” Haverland said.
She terms her craft as ‘outsider art.’
“Chalk art is not taught in college. Artists learn from each other — learn different techniques. No one is possessive of his or her work. There is a lot of interactivity — a lot of camaraderie amongst artists.”
This is the second consecutive year she has displayed her talents at the Fest, one of a handful of events she attends each year. Two other favorite venues are Chalktoberfest in Marietta, Ga., and Chalk Fest at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove, Minn.
The person who traveled the farthest to attend the three-day Fest was Remko van Schaik, a Dutch street artist who hails from Utrecht central Netherlands.
He’s known for his cartoonesque style of art, but unlike most of the other contributing artists, he creates his 3D optical illusions with paint, which he considers less vulnerable to elements of weather.
Remko said it takes between two and six days to create his 3D masterpieces, depending on the complexity of the design.
“I always say I never finish my paintings. The people who enter my paintings are the finishing touch.”
Remko attends 10 festivals every year. Some of his travels have taken him to Southeast Asia, Kenya and Nairobi, to the Middle East and Bogotá.
“I feel very fortunate to be able to travel around the world and share my passion with so many people. There is a certain amount of risk involved when you perform this type of art — you kinda stick your neck out at times. People either like it or they don’t and that’s okay with me. That’s what makes it exciting for me.”