Brilliant strokes of chalk on pavement brought thousands to downtown Lake Worth on Saturday, stirring up heady scenes of living performance art.
But the 22nd annual Street Painting Festival’s most vibrant vignettes starred both chalk artists and spectators — and street musicians, pooches on parade and at least one guy wearing a snake around his neck.
The chalk artists rendered faces and places, superheroes, Roman gods and rock stars.
Less than halfway into painting the four faces of The Beatles, artist Ken Mullen stopped to select some musical inspiration on his iPod.
What Beatles tune did he select?
“Actually, it’s Duran Duran,” he said, finessing the cheek color on John Lennon’s face.
In the case of tattoo artist Jeff Kozan, the inspiration was cocktails. By mid-afternoon, the professional tattoo artist had painted the better part of a giant tiki head. His muse: “I like to drink a lot of rum.”
Nearby, a brigade of John I. Leonard High School art students and teachers in tie-dyed t-shirts worked to transform 16 squares of pavement into fleeting masterpieces.
Students Katly Gedeum and Elizabeth Lopez focused on a glowing yellow orb of sun in a Picasso-inspired image of Don Quixote. Their assignment?
“Blending the sun,” said Lopez, trading a look with her classmate.
“And blending and blending,” Gedeum chimed back.
Their work caught the eye of two stylishly dressed ladies visiting from Delray Beach. Marilyn Blumenthal, a mixed-media artist herself, marveled not only at the artwork but also at the physical challenge of it all.
“If I got down there to paint, I wouldn’t be able to get back up,” she quipped.
Cold beer in hand, Tim Brooksher came not to paint, but to appreciate. By trade, he specializes in hydraulics. But at the festival, he took on a different role: street art critic.
“Her jaw line seems to have some masculinity to it. But I love the colors in her hair,” he said of one painting of a woman with a multi-hued hairstyle.
Saturday proved a perfect day for the festival, which continues Sunday. Sunlight cascaded over the scene. One could pick up the faint aroma of suntan lotion in the crowd and hear snippets of songs performed.
Most who passed the corner of Lake Avenue and L Street had to stop to admire a stunning portrait of a red-lipped woman who seemed to emerge from the pavement with a swath of red over her eyes. Bringing her to life was Atlanta artist Jessi Queen.
Once the weekend is over, she will return to her day job in web design.
“This is ephemeral, but it’s performance art. It’s meant to be shared,” said Queen. “I love to see people’s reactions to my work.”