6th Annual Imadon’s Expressions in Chalk Festival July 30th to August 1st 2011

On Sunday I woke up to the sounds of gentle raindrops falling on my roof.  My waking thoughts went straight to Wortley village and the second day of the 6th Annual Imadon’s Expressions in Chalk Festival.  Thirty-four artists started their works of art on Saturday and the rainfall meant that a whole day’s work was being washed away.

Arriving at the Imadon’s St. James Westminster Church site in the afternoon, artists were working hard reapplying colour to their faded images. The now cloudless day created another challenge for the artists with its sun and blistering heat bouncing off the pavement. I was impressed with the number of umbrellas used to shade the parking space work area. Also impressive was the use of knee pads, brushes and even toothbrushes used by artists to create a barrier from the hot pavement.  But for some artists working traditional meant no umbrellas and using only their fingers to blend and push the chalk into the pavement crevices.

Axl T. Ernst, a traditionalist, using only a 60 SPF sunscreen as her barrier, was the featured artist of this year’s festival. Axl worked on a mermaid image at the parking lot at Wortley Road and Bruce Street. This hot shadeless site acted as a beacon for the Imadon’s Church site. Axl mentioned that she was given lots of encouragement from many drivers stopping at the four way intersection. The St. James Westminster Church site is smaller and more secluded from Imadon’s previous sites: St. Pauls Church and Talbot/Dundas Covent Garden Market Square but has a quiet elegance with its park like setting.  Nevertheless artists were crammed two together in a parking space on one side of the parking lot making it hard for the artists to work, interact with onlookers and also making it hard for the public to admire the artwork.

Judging was postponed to Monday morning to give artists a chance to finish their creations. Awards were given early afternoon and the surprise of the afternoon was that sisters Rachel and Erin Meadows both won awards.  Rachael was the winner in Student Category for her Anime artwork and Erin was the winner of Best in Show with her Thumbelina inspired work.  Instead of the reproducing an image Rachel and Erin both created their own compositions. One image that did not win an award but stood out for its velvet rich colours was Drew Mikitiuk’s Road Work Ahead.

All the artists, volunteers and organizers should have received awards for their determination, work ethic, talent and creativity.  Expressions in Chalk is an event that makes London an exciting place to be on the Civic Holiday weekend.

Expressions in Chalk Organized by Jan (Chairman) and Cheryl Smelser
Judges: Andrew Gillet, Axl T. Ernst

2011 Award Winners: 
Youth: Winner: Rachel DiLoreto  Runner-up: Riley Hannon
Student: Winner:  Rachel Meadows    Runner-up: Julia Castrogiovanni
Best Animation: Winner: Jordan Cosselin Runner-up: Grace Tang
Best Use of Medium:  Winner: Gomer Robinson  Runner-up: Will Graham
People’s Choice: Winner: Samantha Vincent Runner-up: Carrie Black
Best in Show: Winner: Erin Meadows Runner-up: Ryan Yager

Visit www.imadon.org for more information.

E. Ruth Strebe is a London visual artist that has experienced and enjoyed the camaraderie of being an Expression in Chalk artist but does wish the event would come back to the downtown core.

The Arts Project - Theatre