The three children appeared to zip through the Crown Center plaza on scooters in front of hundreds of onlookers Sunday at Kansas City’s annual Chalk and Walk Festival.
The three-dimensional mural had viewers shaking their heads, amazed that armed only with chunks of chalk, Cheryl and Wayne Renshaw, longtime street artists from Santa Clara, Calif., could make the three kids look so real.
“What we are doing is reversing the laws of perspective,” said Cheryl Renshaw, who makes her living as a landscape designer. Her husband is a commercial architect.
“This is our hobby,” she said, pointing to the artwork. “If you cover one eye with one hand and cup the other hand as if you’re looking at the mural through a telescope, you get the full effect. Instead of faraway things looking smaller, they get bigger.”
The Renshaws were among 60 amateur and professional artists who created 3-D and two-dimensional chalk murals on the walkways around the Crown Center plaza at the two-day weekend festival. Some of the artists said their highly detailed works had taken more than 24 hours to create.
“The weather is perfect, warm and sunny,” said Daniel Canchola of Kansas City, who with his brother Steven Canchola of St. Joseph was creating an elaborate work they called “Jaguar Warrior.”
They figured on spending at least 16 hours to complete the drawing. “It’s worth it, though,” said Daniel Canchola. The event raises money to fund art programs for area children.
Even if rain doesn’t wash the chalk art away, it won’t last long; before the end of the day Monday, Crown Center maintenance workers will hose it away.
That the work is here one day and gone the next “is all part of the fun of it,” said Lottie Halpern, a spokeswoman for the Kansas City Chalk and Walk Festival.
Chalk and Walk has claimed a spot among Kansas City’s summer festivals for seven years. But this was the first year that artists created 3-D works.
“If you look at it from an angle, it looks like the fish is jumping up,” Wayne Kaufmanschmidt of Kansas City told his children Claire, 8, and Frederick, 10. Kaufmanschmidt inched closer to a fish mural for a better look. But another drawing had his children’s attention.
“I like the dog,” Frederick said, referring to Cape Girardeau, Mo., muralist Craig Thomas’ adaptation of a Thomas Hart Benton work — “The Kentuckian.” “I like the landscape and the colors and that it’s all framed in bones,” the boy said.
Several of the traditional street artists chose to reproduce Benton pieces. May Evans of Kansas City picked Benton’s “Romance,” a young couple in love, because “it’s a simple but strong image.”
Artists filled their spaces with everything from vibrant flowers to sports figures, cartoons, manga and Monet. Each concrete square was sponsored by a business, organization or foundation.
Nina Kulikov, age 12 and in seventh grade at Indian Woods Middle School in Overland Park, was one of the youngest artists there. She chalked a two-dimensional mural of a dancer swirling in a bright green dress.
“I’ve been drawing for a really long time, probably since I was 8 or 9,” Nina said.
She herself was amazed by the other works, especially the 3-D art. “It’s really cool,” she said. “I think the whole Chalk and Walk is a great thing to do for the community. For everyone to see all the art is just wonderful.”
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