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Title: Sidewalk Canvas
SubTitle: Chalk Pavement Art at Your Feet
Author: Julie Kirk 
Fox Chapel Publishing
Pub Date: 08/01/2011
Category: NONFICTION – ADULT: Arts

‘Sidewalk Canvas’ was much more than what I expected. Not only does it have wonderful images of sidewalk art but also a wealth of comprehensive information about the art form. With this book in hand you’ll be set to join the professionals, or if you’re not an aspiring artist yourself, then you’ll have a much better perspective from which to appreciate pavement art, whether you’re seeing it in reality or on the web.

The blurb

In cities and towns throughout the world you may see an area of sidewalk decorated with chalk or pastels. This art form originated in Italy during the 16th century, with vagabond artists who painted religious pictures directly on the paved public squares, using chalk and charcoal. Part folk art, part performance art, this fascinating genre, where chalk is substituted for paint and asphalt or concrete for canvas, is growing in popularity.

Packed with vibrant examples from the author and other leading international street painters, Sidewalk Canvas includes magical 3‑D illusions, original amusing twists on the old masters and works by artists famous in other media. In addition to a gallery of the best street painting from around the world, there are insights into how it is executed, where to find it, and how to create your own work.

Some of the topics this book covers are history of the art form, themes, colour theory, mathematical principles, light logic and painting basics as well as materials to use (even how to store them), working on different surfaces and how to transfer your design onto the street.  Specific techniques are explained including, most interesting for me, sections on the different kinds of perspective and illusions used to get the amazing effects you see in some of these paintings.  There is also a section on festivals including a listing of relevant festivals, preparation and etiquette, and very useful appendices on resources, working with children and professional concerns.

This book will appeal to anyone interested in this popular and fascinating art form, but it has particular relevance to artists, art educators and even commercial organizations seeking to commission street paintings for promotional purposes.  I doubt you’d find a more comprehensive source of information on this topic and if you’re planning on trying it yourself, then this book is one you must have.

The photos below are not from the book. They’re just to give you an idea of the scope of this art form.