Muralist to create chalk masterpiece for 2015 Spring Fever in the Garden
| 8:00 a.m. April 9, 2015
West Orange Times & Observer
WINTER GARDEN — Among many festivities of the 15th annual Spring Fever in the Garden Festival April 11 to 12 in downtown Winter Garden will be the “Chalkin’ It Up” competition April 11 in front of City Hall.
This contest features 6-foot-by-6-foot squares in which artists will be asked to create something nature-related and appropriate for all ages to view. Categories for entries include adult, elementary, middle and high school, with group categories for each school level, as well. More than $2,000 in prizes will be awarded, including $400 for people’s choice and $700 for best overall.
In celebration of this competition, creativity and the entire Bloom & Grow Garden Society, local professional artist Rudy Drapiza, of the Winter Garden Art Association and the SoBo Gallery, will create a three-dimensional chalk mural.
“Since the city wants to put a chalk writing on the wall, they will let me do one on a vinyl canvas so I can do my images right on the canvas and then take it on the 10th over there after doing it ahead,” Drapiza said. “Since I’m doing it directly, I’m going to make it a mixed media, acrylic and chalk, because I’m afraid it’s going to rain and hurt the piece. It’s going to be a nice 3-D piece, though.”
The piece will be a depth landscape on the side of the building with flowers in the front and a Winter Garden landscape in the back, with the water tower protruding and the SoBo Gallery in the distance, Drapiza said.
“With my experience in doing big art — billboards and murals — chalk becomes an easy, very versatile thing you can do on the side of a building or anywhere, so it becomes fun for me to do it,” he said. “It’s like a family activity when you give everyone chalk to draw with on the driveway. It’s been (growing) in some places in Clermont and others.”
Those other places include Boca Raton and Palm Beach, where Drapiza has created chalk art despite having started in earnest only about two years ago, he said.
“The first one I did was right in front of the City Hall,” he said. “There was a UCF 50th anniversary chalk art event, which I joined (for) my second one. I was hired by an agency in Boca Raton … twice to do convention entertainment with the chalk in 3-D. I taught workshops in the gallery for children, how to be creative, do 3-D or 2-D chalk art, which I would like to do in the future, but I’m so busy with this mural. A lot of the younger children and school kids are interested in doing the 3-D chalk art.”
Drapiza has been surprised that art stores have not taken advantage of such interest among children as the medium has gradually caught on in the U.S. in recent years.
“It’s new to this country and becoming popular,” he said. “It came to mind to do something about it. There are no chalk books or art for children — I checked in all the art stores.”
Nonetheless, Drapiza has created chalk art depicting a coal mine and another piece for the 30-year celebration of GEO Group, a global prison operating company.
“It’s not something you can make a career of, just entertainment, but if you are a student and you get gigs like this during the weekend, it can work for you, because you get paid pretty good when you get booked,” Drapiza said. “Sometimes when you have big chalk art events, like Sarasota and I think Disney has one, they try to import some of this.”
With retail stores selling various forms of chalk, from hard sidewalk chalk to chalk pastels for other surfaces, Drapiza encourages young artists to consider exploring the medium and visiting SoBo Gallery to see how art is growing in the area.
“Anything we can share with the public and educate them (about) in the arts is cool,” he said.
If you are interested in “Chalkin’ It Up,” contact Elizabeth McKinney at [email protected]. For more on Spring Fever in the Garden, visit springfeveringarden.com.