Chalking It Up To Experience – Journals Of A Street Artist

Pablo Sanchez Italian Street PaintingArmed with knee pads and hunched over in the middle of the street for the last 5 hours under the ninety degree summer heat –as I rub the pointy edge of a colored chalk-pastel stick on the street, slowly revealing an angels face emerging from the black asphalt pavement. My friend Z offers me a drink but I was too fixated on getting that angelic face to come to life to notice anything else. A couple more hours pass, I get up to call it a day –I’ll get the rest of this done tomorrow– as i walk off to enjoy the sights.

This was the annual Italian street painting festival held every summer in San Rafael California. Two hundred artists from all over the world converge in this small town north of San Francisco to volunteer their skills, meet other artists and support a cause. The festival celebrates an old Italian tradition that dates back to the Renaissance in late 16th century where Italian street painters would travel from town to town to transform the streets into works of art. It was a weekend to showcase art, entertainment and food which attracts a massive crowd into this small town.

At midnight on Sunday, all that magnificent work is washed off. The following day, the Monday commuters drives through the city streets where those vibrant colors briefly lived.

The task of volunteering as an artist for these events could be quite grueling but as with anything else that is often a difficult challenge, a great sense of satisfaction comes at the end when you finally get it done. Even after all that hard work is washed off, as most onlookers would describe as anything less than heart breaking, I still feel really good for putting in all that effort.

Perhaps it was mainly for the challenge and of knowing that the work wasn’t going to last that we pay more attention in to soaking everything in. Or the fact that people were there to appreciate and cheer for us that I felt compeled to do a better job and stick with it. The vibrant atmosphere filled with contageous energy was a definite boost in morale.

I can’t help but wonder how we can apply a few elements of this event to boost a similar state of mind & postive feelings more often in our daily lives: Pablo Sanchez Street Painting Brochure

A Cause
A Challenge
A Festive Environment
Supportive Community and Friends
Enjoying The Process & Appreciating The Work – Knowing it is temporary (everything is)

A few of the key ingredients to having an optimal experience.


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