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#chalk#David Zinn#drawing#humor#public art#street art#trompe l’oeil

Brief Bouts of Mischief: David Zinn’s Chalk Drawings Imbue Everyday Street Scenes with Playful Character

August 25, 2023

Kate Mothes

A chalk drawing made using a plant that doubles as a palm tree with a mouse reading a book on a small island.

All images © David Zinn, shared with permission

Since 1987, Ann Arbor-based artist David Zinn (previously) has gathered a diverse and humorous cast of characters on the sidewalks, streets, and walls of his hometown. In some of his newest works, a tiny tomfool alien explodes a load of asphalt with the push of a button, a dandelion lights the candle of a young dino’s cake, and an unenthused amphibian with “resting frogface” peers from a hole in some mortar.

Zinn recently published two books, including The Chalk Art Handbook, a how-to guide for creating temporary chalk art in public places, and Chance Encounters, showcasing numerous examples of his interventions over the years. Find more of the artist’s work on his website, and follow along on Instagram as he transforms more hidden corners of his community.

A chalk drawing of a green alien pressing a button that says "DO NOT PRESS," surrounded by rubble.

A chalk drawing of a squirrel holding an ice cream cone, and the ice cream scoop is a hydrangea.

A chalk drawing of a young dinosaur with a birthday cake, and the candle is the head of a dandelion draping over the sidewalk.

A chalk drawing of a guinea pig peering out of a brick wall.A chalk drawing of a possum and a squirrel making waffles. The waffle maker has been formed from a manhole cover with sand in it.

Two images side-by-side. They show the same scene of a stone path in a lawn. On the left, the tons are normal, and on the right, the front stone has been transformed into a chalk drawing of a jacket with a blue housecoat on.

A chalk drawing of a frog sitting in a hole in a brick wall.

A chalk drawing of a raccoon sweeping the sidewalk. The broom is made from dandelion leaves that poke out from beneath a rock.

#chalk#David Zinn#drawing#humor#public art#street art#trompe l’oeil

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