Review and photographs by Stanley Johnson
The sidewalks of River Street in Troy were covered in chalk pictures during last month’s the annual River Street Festival. More than 50 artists painted the sidewalks in chalk in the sunshine. Some painted using preliminary drawings or pictures worked out on computers, smartphones, pieces of paper and some just free-styled on the concrete.
For some, it was a family competition. Kelly Raver, who won third place in the adult category for her “Aztec Mask” image, worked on a section of sidewalk next to her daughters Holly (who was making a dinosaur) and Emily (who created “Tree Heart”). The Barker family was also well represented by Brian (who illustrated the walk with a portrait of Frederick Douglas), Aaron (whose “Lion And Ram” was a tween winner) and Micaela (who came up with a Dali-esque “Smush Face”). Meanwhile, older sister Hannah Barker, won first place in the adult category with “Portrait.”
Popular culture proved to be a popular source of inspiration with two different Captain Americas, one by Emily Gustin and another by Emily Clute, whose friend Dawn Adams completed the Captain’s shield. Another hero in chalk was done by Matthew Routolo with “Holy Batman.” Alice In Wonderland inspired Nick Larkin, who won People’s Choice, with his “Mad Hatter,” while Britney Malave earned plenty of smiles with her “Cheshire Cat.”
Anime-style was represented by Dante Carr in “Ninja Minato Namikaze.” Nina Stanley’s “The Green Man,” although not actually green, did resemble a talking tree face.
The chalk paintings didn’t last long. In fact, some artists had not even completed their work before oblivious stroller-pushers left wheel marks and footprints on the sidewalk artworks. “It’s kind of like sand castles,” one artist sighed. “We make marks on the city, and it leaves marks on the art.”