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Chalky Characters & Helpful Objects

Journal

News from Dowd House Studios: places to find our pottery, exhibitions, classes & workshops, new forms and exciting projects.

Chalky Characters & Helpful Objects

Jenny Dowd

Last week I tackled my largest canvas yet… the Town Enclosure Pavilion on the lawn of the Center for the Arts in Jackson. This temporary structure was installed last year by Carney Logan Burke Architects with the intention to be a space for performances, gatherings, and also to offer creative space for visual artists.

Jackson Hole Public Art asked me to consider drawing on the panels using chalk. The pavilion can be walked around and through, with the panels changing with movement almost like an optical illusion, so this became an inspiration. I made a rough plan and then just decided to go for it.

Before starting the drawings I could not comprehend the size of the panels. Once a ladder was in place and I could only reach as far as my arms would stretch - I just had to go for it and make the shape fit the space. Suddenly I found it easy to run out of room and wishing the panels were larger!

It was an equally freeing and terrifying feeling to freehand draw these characters and objects. I used both hands to draw and went up and down the ladder and walked back and forth to the street to get a better view.

Some characters feature furniture acting out human scenarios (Bad lamp) and others are embracing their helpful nature - Super chair! (This chair swoops in just when you really need to sit down but there are no chairs nearby.) And the lamp saying “I really like you” to the other lamp. So careful and hesitant, ready to go out on that limb, just not quite ready for the other L-word.

Other helpful and awkward objects include the giant watering can and umbrella. The placement of the panels inspired the watering can and flowers, while walking past the water drops line up so the flowers are getting a good drink.

I’m inspired by the awkward feeling of ladders and nets, as if they are stretching and helping to reach that far-away object.

This was such a fun project! The chalk drawings will remain for a week or so - depends on rain. So if you are in the area be sure to walk by.