Dan Moord of Fort Wayne steps in and out of his 8-by-8-foot chalk drawing of a blue sky and a colorful floating sphere. He calls it “Flying Colors.”
“It took a lot of deep thinking,” Moord said, kneeling on a chalk-covered pillow.
He says the sphere represents his subconscious mind floating through space, and each colored shape on the sphere represents a thought.
Next to him, a CD player fills Main Street in front of the Fort Wayne Art Museum with the voice of Bob Dylan.
“Music brings out my emotions,” Moord said, coloring an orange square on the sphere.
Moord is not a professional artist. He's a landscaper at Patton Landscaping.
In his free time, he expresses himself with colored pencils, acrylic paint and, today, chalk.
The Chalk Walk on east Main Street, held Saturday and Sunday in conjunction with the Fort Wayne Newspapers Three Rivers Festival, gives locals the opportunity to become artists. As they transform Main Street into a canvas of imagination, visitors are encouraged to ask them questions about their work and unique techniques.
Down the street from Moord, Emily Mead of Fort Wayne and her father, Warren, of Huntertown work on a picture of the five Olympic rings that reads “Go USA!”
“This is what the festival is all about,” Warren said. “It's neat to see all these people downtown enjoying the city,” he added, rubbing his fingers over the red ring on the cement.
After working on Chalk Walk drawings together for 10 years, the Meads think using their hands to blend the chalk into the cement helps fill cracks in the street for a more solid finish.
“You pick up a different trick or technique every time you do it,” Warren said.
On the other side of Main Street, Scott Rizzo, Sachi Yanari-Rizzo and their daughter, Maiya, all of Fort Wayne, work on an 8-foot-by-8-foot picture based on the movie, "The Lorax. "
“We always draw pictures based on recent movies,” said Maiya, who has been helping her parents at the Chalk Walk since she was 2 years old.
Her mother is a curator of prints and drawings at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, and putting together a picture for the Chalk Walk each year is a well-coordinated family event.
Sachi draws most of the animated character's faces, and Scott helps fill in large blocks of colors, using a stiff, dry paint brush as an eraser when he makes mistakes.
Maiya draws the Lorax's “truffula trees” and sprays the chalk with Suave max hold hairspray to set the image and reduce smudging, Sachi explains.
Theresa Riesen of Angola has another interesting technique. She slides around her 4-foot-by-4-foot image on a homemade scooter and draws with her chalk taped to the end of a dowel rod.
“I've learned to adapt,” Riesen said.
She has scoliosis, so long hours bending over her chalk drawing are difficult. But as an artist of 34 years, the Chalk Walk is too much fun for her to stay home.
This year, she's drawing a dam by IPFW built in the 1920s with a 1920s woman in front of it. Riesen plans to enter her drawing in the Chalk Walk's award category Iconic Fort Wayne: People, Places and Things that Define the City.
But the competition isn't her main concern.
“I just come out here to have fun,” Riesen said. “It's a neat environment with all the other artists around.”