News Column

Chalk artists young and old leave their marks on Washington Street

August 3, 2014

By Shawn Campbell, The Buffalo News, N.Y.



Aug. 03--On the sidewalk along Washington Street, Suzanne Johnson of Buffalo sketched a scene from "Put Me in the Zoo."

"That was one of my favorite books," a woman in her 50s or 60s said as she walked by and reminisced.

Standing in the middle of the road, a toddler pointed to the ground and shouted, "It's the Cat in the Hat! That's the Lorax!"

A busy downtown street usually lined with passing cars was instead filled with plenty of Grinches, Thing 1's and Thing 2's, Horton the Elephants and even some green eggs and ham depicted in pastel and bright sidewalk chalk.

Hundreds took in artists' timeless Dr. Seuss-themed drawings Saturday at the third annual ChalkFest Buffalo on Washington Street between East Huron and East Mohawk streets.

Spectators young and old were equally impressed.

"There's not any generation that doesn't know Dr. Seuss," said Adele Cloutier, an event organizer.

Featured artist Michael Macaulay, 43, of Greenwich, R.I., drew the biggest crowd, with many observers stopping to take pictures and watch his masterpiece grow.

His drawings featured a popular 3D element that could be best seen through a cellphone or digital camera.

"Holy cow!" an older gentleman said.

"They look like they're popping out!" said an impressed Zachary Bernas of Orchard Park, standing alongside his father. He said he enjoys reading Dr. Seuss books, adding, "I know all of them."

Macaulay set out to make a well-rounded Dr. Seuss drawing, placing characters from "The Lorax," "Green Eggs and Ham," "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish," "Yertle the Turtle," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" and "The Cat in the Hat" in a pool of water that seemingly sunk into the street.

"I thought it would be fun not to focus on just one particular character or story, so I tried to incorporate a bunch of popular Dr. Seuss characters into a fun piece where it would make us feel a little bit cooler on a hot day," said Macaulay, sweat bleeding through his blue T-shirt and a rainbow of colors smeared on the side of his black cargo pants.

"It's great to see kids that get inspired by your work that want to get on the ground, too, and start drawing as well," he added.

Artists of all ages and skill levels participated.

Nick Guercio and his son, Matthew, 7, of Williamsville drew a fish driving a bright blue car in their 5-by-5-foot square. They consulted dad's iPhone for help.

"We're not artists," Nick Guercio said with a laugh. "He likes cars, so I searched 'Dr. Seuss cars' to figure out what to draw."

Michelle Trautman, a teacher's aide from Springville who has an art degree from the University at Buffalo, drew Cindy Lou Who holding a glittery red Christmas ornament. She said she enjoyed getting the chance to show off her artistic talent.

"This is one of the things I like to do. I don't get to do art often because I'm busy with my kids," the mother of two said.

The event, which is sponsored by the 500 Main St.Block Association and benefits Theater of Youth, continues from noon to 6 p.m. today.

email: scampbell@buffnews.com

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(c)2014 The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.)

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Source: Buffalo News (NY)


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