Chalk the Block ’11

This weekend downtown El Paso held the 4th annual Chalk the Block event.  The organizers bring together artists, artist teams and other performers for a free event that turns the sidewalks around the plaza and museum into temporary art installations.  With the recent removal of the fences around San Jacinto Plaza the downtown park makes for a great place for artists to create chalk and pastel works on the concrete.

Big Red Heart
Big Red Heart

We arrived early Saturday morning so many of the artists were still working on their pieces. There was still a bunch of other things to see as we wandered around. Poetic Kinetics was on hand displaying one of their Holding Flame sculptures:

Poetic Kinetics
Holding Flame

Jack was mesmerized by it but Shaun was a little afraid.  The flame visuals created by the burner at the top really can hypnotize you.  The heat kicked by the flames keeps you mindful of the danger overhead but the distance keeps you safe. Fiat of El Paso was also using this a showcase event for their just launched 500, with artists creating works around and on the spry little hatch.

Fiat 500

Fiat 500 Art Car

There was a large selection of food trucks on hand hawking all sorts of nacho-churro-relleno-on-a-stick concoctions. We opted for a stop at Kipps Cheesesteaks for their awesome hot sandwiches.

Eat at Kipps!
Eat at Kipps!

I guess no outdoor event is complete without some sort of protests.  The Occupy Wallstreet protests that are currently sweeping the globe have even spawned a local group who were standing out in front of the Cortez Building.  They had wanted the center of the Plaza but were supplanted by the arts this weekend. Go Arts!

Occupy Mesa Street?

Occupy Mesa Street?

Main street had been turned into an informal gallery space with several booths set up and artists displaying their wares. Local El Paso artists David “Grave” Herrera  and Mitsu Overstreet of “Border Youth” were on hand laying down some paint on a Sun Metro bus:

Grave's Border Youth
Grave’s Border Youth

The kids were about done at this point and we had seen everything that was worth checking out.  This years event was well organized and looks to be something that will continue and only get better.  My full Flickr set can be viewed here: Chalk the Block

Alexandre Farto aka Vhils

I saw Alexandre Farto’s work on Gizmodo today.  For some of his works he uses a subtractive process, removing material to create his imagery on walls and billboards:

These works add an interesting wrinkle to the graffiti art debate.  “Normal” graffiti art done with paint or markers is removable, this is a bit more destructive.  Judging by the care and detail I’m sure permission has been granted to do these but what of copycats who might try to emulate his art in a more clandestine fashion somewhere else? Cool stuff nonetheless and worth a visit to his site: