When you visit large cities, you may be surprised to see chalk artist sidewalk drawings or large festivals featuring many chalk artists. Street painting or chalk art has been around for a long time, with European recordings as far back as the 16th century. In the United States, these artists are referred to as chalk artists, while in England, they are referred to as Screevers. And in Italy, they are known as madonnara or madonnaro because of their recreation of the Madonna. Street painters are referred to as Strassenmaler in Germany.
Street painting was introduced again in 1972 during a street festival in Italy. Since then the art form of chalk artist sidewalk paintings has grown all over the world. Many modern terms that refer to chalk art sidewalk paintings have developed. Some sidewalk art is referred to as anamorphic, 3D Chalk Art, 3d street painting, 3D Illusion, 3D Pavement Art, 3D Sidewalk Art or simply 3D.
Some of the more recognized chalk artist sidewalk painters included Sidewalk Sam, Kurt Wenner and Michael Kirby. Sidewalk Sam was the first US painter who began his paintings in 1973 on the streets of Boston. Kurt Wenner started street painting in Rome in 1982. The National Geographic firm Masterpieces In Chalk, documented him in 1984. In 1987 Kurt Wenner along with another chalk artist sidewalk painter, Manfred Stader brought the sidewalk chalk artistry to Old Mission in Santa Barbara, California. Michael Kirby started his street paintings in Europe in the early 1990s. He became a master painter with chalk artist sidewalk paintings at festivals in Italy, Holland, Germany and other places in Europe. He eventually brought his street painting to several other countries, including, Ireland, Mexico and the United States. Several places featured his work, including, North Carolina Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, National Geographic as well as other places.
Street painting has continued to grow all around the world. Large events are held each year where chalk artist sidewalk painters attract thousands of visitors. Events such as the Lake Worth Street Painting Festival in Lake Worth, Florida and Sarasota Chalk Festival show off the work of hundreds of street painters. Street painting has grown so large in the United States that the First International Street Painting Festival was established in 2010. Families gather and have lots of fun in events such as the chalk artist sidewalk 2nd Annual Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest held in Rockport, Massachusetts.