Published FCAA, Sept 15th 2022
Author: Chris Monaghan
Chalk Artist | Ann Arbor, Michigan
Published FCAA | Chalk Art Nation, January 20, 2022
Author: Chris Monaghan, Professional Artist/Member of The Chalk Art Nation January 8th, 2022.
Authors Note: From 2007 to 2021 I was a successful insurance agent in Michigan. Over the years | had sought coverage for many unique professions and situations including protection for street painters, muralists and crafters. Although every situation is different, insurance can help protect you when something unexpected happens.
*IMPORTANT NOTE: As of 12/31/2021 / sold my insurance agency and I'm no longer affiliated with any carriers. Coverage can vary from state to state so it's always best to consult your insurance agent when seeking the right policy protection.
SHOULD AN ARTIST GET INSURANCE? The simple answer is “yes”. If you are doing art in a professional capacity you'll want protection in place if you cause property damage, injury or have your equipment stolen (to name just a few common exposures). Oftentimes, the organization or person hiring you will require you have a minimum $1,000,000 of liability coverage. If you do any of these activities you'll want to consider getting coverage in place before the project starts:
Furthermore, if you hire someone to assist you with the work you should have workers compensation insurance in case they are injured on the job. Many states require it unless the assistant carries their own protection or has an exemption. Non-compliance can be costly in fees and penalties.
In the case of a street painting festival, usually the organization hosting the event will have coverage in place that protects the artists, people attending the event and volunteers. In most cases obtaining your own policy isn't necessary.
If you are street painting as a featured artist for an event (not a festival) sponsored by a corporation or organization then having insurance is highly recommended. Examples would include a product promotion or marketing event.
3 IMPORTANT TYPES OF COVERAGE TO CONSIDER
Commercial General Liability - Protects you in the event of a third party injury or property damage you are found responsible for through the services you offer. It can provide coverage for associated medical care, damages and legal fees arising from a lawsuit. Copyright, duplications and trademark infringement issues may be covered under CGL as well. At minimum this is one coverage you'll want to have in place.
Commercial Property - Protects your equipment that you use such as paint supplies, compressors, lifts, office equipment, etc. in the event of fire, storm, vandalism and more. If you own or lease a studio it will provide coverage for the physical structure you are responsible for and things inside it that you own. Consider all of these things when calculating the value of your art operation and the amount of coverage needed to protect your assets.
Workers Compensation - Whether it's an employee, a 1099 contractor or someone you are paying in cash (shhh) having Workers Compensation coverage is important and often required. Work related injuries are serious and can quickly cause you financial headaches if you don't have the proper protections in place. This coverage protects the people assisting you by covering their medical and work loss exposures in the event they are hurt on the job. The key factors in determining the premium for coverage are job classification and payroll/subcontractor costs. It's important to provide accurate figures so you don't get a surprise at the end of the policy term.
ADDITIONAL COVERAGE TO CONSIDER
Basic coverage is important but here are a few other options that can help:
Loss of Business Income - If your workspace is destroyed preventing you from working. Rental Equipment - Renting a lift for a mural? Life Insurance - Life happens and protecting the people that depend on you is an important part of any successful financial plan.
Many insurance companies offer these coverage options as a package deal resulting in lower rates compared to individual policies. They are often called a "Business Owners Policy" or "Commercial Package Policy". The "bundle” is put together specifically for the type of art operation you perform. You can also get additional savings if you have your home, auto, life and other personal protections with the same company.
SHORT TERM/SPECIAL EVENT COVERAGE
There may be times when you need coverage for a specific or short term event. I once insured a muralist who got a job in California painting a lighthouse and only needed coverage for a few months. His standard policy wouldn't extend to this particular job. Some carriers will offer job specific coverage which can be useful in a situation like this. However, the premiums associated with short term policies are often the same or more than a full annual policy. If you come across an opportunity like this just make sure to include the additional cost in your estimate.
WHERE TO FIND INSURANCE
Most insurance companies will offer a business option. Underwriting will make the determination on what classification best fits your operation. For example, many mural artists fall under the “Exterior Painting" classification. A chalk artist typically will fall under the classification of "Crafting". Actual terms vary from state to state and company to company. A few companies that I've worked with specifically for art related professionals include:
For unique art related operations or if you can't find a standard carrier willing to accept your art business as a risk, here is a list of companies that I've found some success with. These are accessible through a broker or your insurance agent may have access to them as well:
No one likes paying insurance premiums and more often than not you won't experience an issue that requires coverage to protect you. But, I know firsthand as an agent that things happen and insurance is key to protecting your financial future. When you are looking for coverage make sure to shop around a bit. There are lots of options available for artists of all types. Some insurance companies are more accepting or even seek out artist risks while others have no appetite for the industry and will charge more. Be truthful when providing information to the insurance company. There is nothing more frustrating than finding out you don't have coverage when something happens because you didn't report the full scope of your art business.
Best of luck to you in your art endeavors and I look forward to seeing you on the road!
Chalk Artist | Ann Arbor, Michigan
Published FCAA, March 24th 2021
Author: Jeff Pilkinton
Chalk Artist | Fort Wayne, IN
Published FCAA, January 2018
Author: Erik Greenawalt
So you really want to attend that particular chalk festival. Maybe it’s because it draws a
massive crowd. Maybe it’s because it’s at the beach and you need a temporary escape from
the cold Northern winter. Or maybe it’s because you want to see what it’s like to chalk a mile
above sea level. Unfortunately, though, the event doesn’t have a budget to bring you in – or
perhaps you need an extra hotel night than what the festival is providing.
What’s an artist to do?
I remember signing up for my first credit card. I had just turned 18 and was catching an Orioles
game at Camden Yards. By giving the MBNA representative a little bit of personal information –
my name, my Social Security number, my income (a measly $2,500 a year I made as a bus boy)
– I became the proud owner of a Cal Ripken Jr. beach towel. Hey, I figured it was a better
choice than an inflatable baseball bat.
My, how times have changed when it comes to credit card sign-up offers. If you apply for the
right card and cross a certain spending threshold over a certain length of time – typically 90
days from when the account opens – it’s incredibly easy to reap $1,000 or more in travel
benefit, redeemable for a couple of flights or a week at a hotel. (Of course, using credit cards
requires discipline. My wife and I rarely carry cash and we charge everything – but we only use
only one card at any given time, we keep within the spending limit we set for ourselves, and we
make sure to pay off the bill in full each month to avoid any interest charges.)
Making the best use out of Point Reward Programs
That said, I’ve learned the ins and outs of this by becoming a devoted follower of The Points
Guy (www.thepointsguy.com), who is, by far, the Web’s top resource for rewards programs. If
you want to know how to best use points and miles, he’s your man. Brian Kelly started his
travel blog more than seven years ago; today he gets more than 5 million unique visitors a
month. His team posts 10-20 articles every day, always looking for the latest deals.
What follows are some of the top credit card offers out there right now – one airline-specific
card, one hotel-specific card and one broad-based card:
Southwest Rapid Rewards Card
I love to fly Southwest. That’s probably because I make a lot of trips to the Tampa are, and SWA has several direct flights a day between Pittsburgh and TPA. This is a card to keep an eye on, because the reward offer is always changing. Right now, however, if you sign up for the Rapid Rewards card and spend $1,000 on it within the first 3 months, you’ll get 40,000 bonus Southwest points. What do 40,000 points translate into? It depends on where and when you’re traveling, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility to turn
that into three or four free roundtrip flights. (I just booked a roundtrip nonstop flight from PIT
to TPA in January for less than 10,000 points.) The card comes with a $69 annual fee, but you
can easily cancel the card before your first anniversary – after you’ve earned your sign-on
Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
f you like the Marriott brands of hotels (as well as Starwood since the companies recently merged), this could be a great card for you. Spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of opening and you’ll get 80,000 points credited to your Marriott Rewards account. The 80,000 points can convert into five free nights at a Level 3 hotel (think a Residence Inn or Courtyard Inn); at $150 per night, that translates into roughly $750 of
value. The card comes with an annual $85 fee (again, cancel before the anniversary), but it’s
certainly a winner for some cheap hotel stays.
Chase Ink Business Preferred Card.
If you spend $5,000 within the first 3 months of opening the card, you’ll get 80,000 points credited to your Ultimate Rewards account. This is one of my favorite rewards programs, as the Chase points can be redeemed virtually anywhere – you pick the airline, hotel chain (even some Disney hotels), or car rental agency through the Chase site – at a rate of 1.25 cents per Ultimate Rewards point. The 80,000 points translate into $1,000 worth of travel. The card comes with a $95 annual fee; because the points are tied directly to Chase, you’ll want to switch to a no-fee Chase card before the anniversary, so you can keep
your points but avoid the charge after the first year. Chase is very loose with their interpretation of “business” – if you don’t have a Taxpayer Identification Number for your
street painting business, you can easily apply as a sole proprietor using your Social Security
If you plan to Chalk and Travel its worth the research
As you may have noticed, my favorite cards are all offered by Chase, which has been known to
limit the number of rewards you’re eligible for to two within a 24-month period – so pick your
programs wisely. Many other banks are offering great rewards right now, too – some with
hefty annual fees but which offer travel credits or free TSA pre-check membership. I’d
encourage you to check out what The Points Guy is featuring on his site for the most up-to- date
information. It’s also possible to earn bonus rewards through referral programs, so be sure to
ask around before applying to see if you can both earn an even bigger reward.
See you at the airport!
Chalk Artist, Pittsburgh PA
Website : www.thechalkingdad.com
Published FCAA, January 2018
Author: Hector Diaz
HEALTHY STREET PAINTING
If you are a street painter, muralist or any kind of street artist, chances are you have done some
traveling to perform your craft. For some, nutrition on the road is not a concern, but for others
like myself, with Type 2 diabetes, who are vegetarian or just like to eat healthy, the choices on
the road may seem limited if not challenging at times and may lead to poor choices. It has
become the unfortunate norm for most Americans, that eating on the road means eating fast food,
but that does not have to be the case. Making better food choices while at a festival or on the
road is not impossible and here are some tips to help you stay on track.
WHERE YOU EAT WILL SEVERELY INFLUENCE WHAT YOU EAT.
The first one may seem obvious but it is often overlooked. If you go to McDonalds because it is
easy, convenient and cheap…it will also limit your choices. Most hotels have a mini fridge in
the rooms or offer to have one put in your room during your stay for a small nominal fee. If that
is the case, it is better to get into the habit of stopping at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or any or
grocery store chain, when you first arrive at your destination, where you can pick up salads,
fruits, veggies, hummus or any number of healthier foods that you can store in your room. BUT,
if you still find yourself at McDonalds, make the right choice and get the salad and bottled water
and not that Big Mac, fries and a Coke.
SNACKING NOW…BETTER LUCH CHOICES LATER
Ok, so you’ve been to the store and you’ve stocked up on plenty of healthy choices, now what?
Make sure that some of those choices don’t need to stay in the cold all day and pack them to take
with you out to the job site so that you can snack, and snack often. If you bring healthy snacks
with you and you fuel yourself throughout the day, you are less likely to be craving food, feel
major hunger sensations and just generally make better choices at lunch time. Face it, if you are
starving and haven’t eaten all morning, you will not hesitate to grab whatever calorie heavy,
dripping in carb sauce with a side of heart attack food product that they put in front of you. You
will most definitely eat with your eyes and not with your head. If you snack healthy periodically
throughout the morning, instead you will feel a sense of satisfaction that will help curb your
hunger and cravings throughout the day, allowing you to make a healthier choice at lunch and
you will have more energy overall. Studies have also shown that healthy snacking keeps your
blood sugar under control and will help prevent you from experiencing headaches,
lightheadedness or dizziness while working in the hot outdoors.
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!
I can’t stress this one enough. I get it. You are in the zone, chalking or painting away. You tend
to forget this one. We all do, but it’s probably the most important tip to keeping healthy while
out there in the hot sun. Now the gross statistics. Your body can sweat out about 2-3 gallons in
the course of the day when working out in the heat. You need to replenish this with your water
intake. But what if you aren’t thirsty? Well, in most cases, you can’t wait for your body to tell
you to hydrate. If you feel thirsty, you may already be dehydrated. Its best to get into the habit
of drinking water in smaller amounts and more frequently. A good rule of thumb is about 5-7
ounces about every 30 minutes or so. And if you have a hard time remembering to stop and
hydrate, just set an alarm on your phone to remind you so that you don’t lose track of time.
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU DID IT.
You made it to the end of the event. You made good food choices. You kept yourself hydrated.
Give yourself a pat on the back, high five your neighbor on the pavement and pack your stuff up,
its Miller time. Just don’t blow all of your healthy hard work with high carb beers and keep
making those healthy choices.
Chalk Artist, West Palm Beach FL
Published FCAA, May 2017
Author: Bridget Lyons
Copyrights and Street Art
(A Bland, Boring article on why you should ask for permission)
We all find that one image we want to reproduce, but when are we infringing on a copyright? Everyone knows Disney is strict with use of their original characters, although they have recently relaxed their prosecution of these in many cases, but other artists, including The Estate of Norman Rockwell and the creator of Tin Tin, are also strict about reproduction of their works. Copyright law is considered a very gray area of the law. Art by Marvel (owned by Disney), DC, and Star Wars (also owned by Disney) encourage fanart to keep the general population interested in the storylines in between releases.
What is a Copyright?
A Copyright is a protection under the laws of the United States Title 17, U.S. Code to the creators of original work, including, but not limited to, literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and photographic. This protection is available for both published and unpublished works. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of a copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:
▬ reproduce the work as a copy or in a photo record;
▬ prepare additional works based upon the original image or content(see fair use);
▬ distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
▬ perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
▬ display the copyrighted work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the still images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work;
▬ in the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.
In other words, it is illegal for anyone to violate any of the rights provided by the copyright law to the copyright holder.
Who Owns Copyrights?
Copyright protection starts at the time the work is completed. The copyright immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the original author or those owning rights through the author can rightfully claim a copyright.
In the case of works “made for hire”, where an artist has created the work while in his/her capacity of employee, the employer, not the employee, is considered to be the author and copyright holder. Where a work was created jointly by more than one artist, the authors of a joint work are all co-owners of the copyright in the work, unless there is an agreement to the contrary. Copyright in each separate contribution to a periodical or other collective work is distinct from copyright in the collective work as a whole and vests initially with the author of each contribution.
The ownership of any other work does not give the person in possession ownership of its copyright. The law provides that transfer of ownership of any material object that is a protected work does not of itself convey the copyright or any interest in the copyright. This remains in the possession of the creator and is often referred to as the underlying artist’s copyright. Therefore sale or trade of an original work does not convey copyright.
Any or all of the copyright owner's exclusive rights or any subdivision of those rights may be transferred to another party, but the transfer of exclusive rights is not valid unless that transfer is in writing and signed by the owner of the copyright.
How Long Is a Work Copyright-Protected in the United States?
Works created on or after January 1, 1978: A work that is created on or after January 1, 1978, is automatically protected from the moment of its creation and is given a term of copyright protection enduring for the lifetime of the artist plus an additional 70 years after death. In the case of a joint work prepared by two or more artists who collaborated and hold the copyright jointly, the term lasts for 70 years after the last surviving artist's death. For works made for hire, and for anonymous and pseudonymous works (unless the artist's identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copyright will be 95 years from first publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.
Works originally created before January 1, 1978, but not published or registered by that date: These works have been automatically brought under the statute and are now given federal copyright protection. The duration of copyright in these works will generally be computed in the same way as works created on or after January 1, 1978, the life-plus-70 or 95/120-year terms will apply to them. The law provides that in no case will the term of copyright for works in this category expire before December 31, 2002, and for works published on or before December 31, 2002.
Works originally created and published or registered before January 1, 1978: Under the law in effect before 1978, copyright was secured either on the date a work was published with a copyright notice or on the date of registration. In either case, the copyright lasted for a first term of 28 years from the date it was secured. During the last year of the first 28 year term, the copyright was eligible for renewal. The Copyright Act of 1976 extended the renewal term from 28 to 47 years for copyrights that were existing on January 1, 1978, making these works eligible for a total term of protection of 75 years.
The Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act: The Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act, enacted on October 27, 1998, further extended the renewal term of copyrights still protected on that date by an additional 20 years, providing for a total of 95 years protection from the date of first U.S. publication, if the work was published before January 1, 1978. For all works created or first published after January 1, 1978, the term of protection was extended by 20 years, then an additional 50 years, to the lifetime of the artist plus 70 years.
Unpublished works: All works that are unpublished, regardless of the nationality of the author, are protected in the United States. Works that are first published in the United States or in a country with which the United States has a copyright treaty or that are created by a citizen or resident of a country with which the United States has a copyright treaty are also protected.
How Long Is a Work Copyright-Protected Worldwide?
The term of copyright protection varies from country to country around the world, as determined by individual national legislation. The countries of the European Union, however, align with the laws of the United States; the lifetime of the artist plus 70 years.
What Is the “Public Domain”?
A work that is no longer copyright protected is considered to be in the public domain. It should be noted that photographs of works of art in the public domain may themselves be copyrighted and will likely require a license for publication, even though the public domain works are the subject of the photos and are no longer protected.
The Berne Convention & International Laws
There is no such thing as an "international copyright" that will automatically protect work throughout the entire world. Protection against unauthorized use in a particular country depends on the national laws of that country. However, most countries do offer protection to foreign works under certain conditions.
The most significant international copyright protection is the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. The Berne Convention has approximately 170 members, including the United States. The Berne Convention is based on national laws, meaning that a Berne country must extend the same treatment to the works of nationals of other Berne countries as its own nationals. Furthermore, the Convention obligates member countries to create minimum standards for copyright protection.
The Universal Copyright Convention of September 1952 ("UCC Agreement") was created to provide an alternative to the Berne Convention. The United States ratified the UCC in 1955. The UCC imposes fewer requirements than the Berne Convention. For countries that are members of both the Berne Convention and the UCC, in cases of conflict between the two conventions the Berne Convention prevails.
The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights of April 15, 1994 ("TRIPS Agreement") became an addition to the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO). While providing for international minimum standards of protection in the area of copyright, TRIPS also establishes enforcement standards. It also restores U.S. copyright to foreign works which were deemed to have fallen into the public domain by virtue of their failure to fulfill the formalities previously required by U.S. Copyright Law.
The World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty of December 23, 1996 ("WIPO Copyright Treaty") also supplements the provisions of the Berne Convention to provide stronger international protection to copyrighted material in the digital age.
What is Fair Use?
In its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of a copyrighted work done for a limited purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. In other words, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement and if your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an illegal infringement.
So what is a “transformative” use? There Is no specific definition, only general rules and varied court decisions, because the judges and lawmakers who created the fair use exception did not want to limit its definition, they wanted it to have an expansive meaning that could be open to interpretation.
Most fair use analysis falls into two categories: (1) commentary and criticism, or (2) parody.
* Commentary and Criticism
If you are commenting upon or critiquing a copyrighted work — for instance, writing a book review — fair use principles allow you to reproduce some of the work to achieve your purposes. Some examples of commentary and criticism include:
▬ quoting a few lines from a popular song in a music review
▬ summarizing and quoting from a published article in a news report
▬ copying a few paragraphs from a news article for use by a teacher or student in a lesson, or
▬ copying a portion of an article or news story for use in a related court case.
The underlying rationale of this rule is that the public reaps benefits from your review, which is enhanced by including some of the copyrighted material.
A parody is a work that ridicules another, usually well-known work, by imitating it in a comic way. Judges understand that, by its nature, parody demands some taking from the original work being parodied. Unlike other forms of fair use, a fairly extensive use of the original work is permitted in a parody in order to “conjure up” the original.
But isn’t street art ephemeral?
As a street artist, creating ephemeral art, copying of any work or photograph may be considered copyright infringement. Not only is permission best obtained, but credit to the original artist as a courtesy would be best practice. The use of a completed work in a portfolio used to solicit business shows the potential to earn money from use of a copyrighted work and can be held against a street artist in a court of law. Also, sharing of photos by spectators and “tagging” of companies and people on social media create additional exposure that can be used against an artist. Although the fair use law creates a very grey area for prosecution, most companies (i.e. Disney) rely on the monetary backing of taking the matter to the court system. In other words, the cost of persecution is high and a street artist may not be able to defend themselves at these high costs.
Published FCAA March 2017
Author: Ken Mullen
There are many dangerous hobbies. Ice climbing comes to mind. Perhaps motorcycle racing, deep sea diving, or BASE jumping from a cliff in one of those flying-squirrel suits. These are hobbies for thrill-seekers, and risk of harm comes with the territory. The less adventurous among us may prefer a safer hobby. Like drawing with chalk.
I suspect that most people would not consider chalking to be a pastime that carries much inherent risk of harm. Creaking knees and missing fingerprints perhaps, but nothing serious. Recently however, a friend of mine and fellow chalker found out that he had developed a rare form of cancer in his nose. There was no direct correlation between chalking and his diagnosis, but being a long-time chalker, he asked his doctor whether there could be a connection. The answer was yes.
The chalks that are usually employed for the purpose of decorating sidewalks and streets are standard soft pastels. These “chalks” are made from dry pigments that are held together with a binder. Not all of these pigments are toxic, but many do contain inorganic materials such as metals which can be harmful. Dry pigments, such as the ones used in soft pastels, can be especially hazardous because of how easily they are inhaled and ingested. Blowing excess dust from a chalk drawing is a major source of inhalation. As most chalk artists know, it is not unusual to find remnants of chalk dust when you blow your nose, even a day or two after a chalking event — a clear indication of chalk dust inhalation.
“But chalking is my happy place!,” you say. And what is to become of those boring city streets without all of that spectacular color?
Fortunately, no one is suggesting that you retreat to a safer hobby like bull running. Armed with a few tips, and a little safety awareness, you can continue creating ephemeral masterpieces for years to come.
Here are a few suggestions to help you chalk safely:
1. Less is more. This is perhaps the most obvious way to minimize inhalation of chalk dust. When you grind through a half stick of chalk to draw that 3-inch nose, not only are you creating a muddy brown pile of chalk soup, but you are also creating a mini-mountain of potentially harmful dry pigment particles. If you learn to exercise thrift in your use of chalk, not only will you chalk safer, but your pictures will also hold their color and detail better, and that’s a win-win in my book.
2. Spray your work. You may have seen some artists spray water on their chalk. Crazy right? Water is the bane of chalk pictures everywhere. Yet, a small misting bottle, used conservatively, can help to lock that chalk to the surface, and help prevent it from blowing around quite so readily.
3. DON’T BLOW!!! Probably the biggest culprit in the battle against airborne chalk particles is the artist’s tendency to blow chalk from their work area. Not only does this blow all that chalk across your painting, dulling colors and details in general, but it also creates a potentially toxic dust cloud that wends its way into eyes, mouths, noses, or anywhere else it may land.
4. Wear a dust mask. This may be the least popular suggestion, but it is likely also the smartest. Dust masks are specially designed to filter out even the smallest of airborne particles. With the current air pollution problems in many large cities, some companies have even begun making masks that border on fashionable. Check out the Totobobo mask (http://totobobo.com/), which is popular among pastel artists. Or, for that more fashionable aesthetic, perhaps look into the Vogmask high filtration dust mask (https://www.vogmask.com/).
With these tips, and a general awareness of safety regarding chalk dust inhalation, there is little reason why you can’t enjoy your favorite hobby for years to come. So get out there and sling some chalk.
I’ll see you on the pavement!
Chalk Artist, LakeWorth, FL
Website: The Chalk Guys
Published FCAA Newsletter, Nov 2015
Author: Beth Shistle
No matter what the time of year, chalking out in the Florida sun can make your festival experience miserable.....well, uncomfortable to say the least. Spending long hours on black asphalt means that temperatures can be much hotter than forecasted, sapping much needed strength and energy. Here are some thoughts and tips for the newbie chalk artist on staying cool when the weather heats up.
Dress for success. The clothing an artist chooses for the day can have a big impact on comfort level and performance. Wear loose fitting, light colored clothing that will help reflect the sun and allow for ease of movement. Exchange heavy t-shirts for lighter varieties that breathe. Consider investing in a couple of high tech cooling pieces of clothing like those found in sporting goods stores. Wear sandals instead of closed in sneakers and socks. This will allow your feet to breathe and your whole body to feel cooler. Just remember your feet when applying sunscreen! I recommend Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen SPF 70 by Neutrogena. It sprays on invisibly with a weightless, clean feel that won't make you more sticky in out in Florida's humidity.
Bring your own shade. Wear a hat. Besides expressing your own unique artistic style, wearing a hat will give you good protection from the sun and heat. I recommend one with a wide brim all the way around, providing lots of shade for the face and back of the neck. The optional adjustable chin strap comes in handy during those windy days and when chalking by the water. My go-to, shade-providing hat I found at a local sporting goods store also came pre-treated with mosquito and gnat repellant as an added bonus.
Besides hats, chalk artist sometimes bring their own shade in forms of tent canopies and umbrellas. Easy-to-pop up canopies found in your favorite department stores can be wonderful. Because of the angle of the sun, however, you may end up shading your neighbor, which they will love you for, while you are still stuck working in the sun. Or you may have to set up over your neighbor's spot to shade your own, for which they might not love you so much. So if you don't want to lug around a big canopy with all your other gear and chalk supplies, umbrellas are another option. Securing them is the trick.
Watch out for that wind! Umbrellas and canopies can suddenly be blown over into your fellow chalkers or adoring fans. One season I equipped myself with a large patio umbrella with a very heavy and cumbersome umbrella weight. Being a light traveler, though, my favorite shade is a small umbrella with a screw on type clamp. It has a silver reflective lining that works very well keeping it cool underneath. The clamp is strong enough to securely fasten it to my rolling chalk cart. The stem is bendable so it can tilt in any direction. With this umbrella I don't have to bother my neighbors too much. I can easily roll my cart around my designated area anywhere I need the shade.
Here are a couple of other tricks that keep artists from becoming overheated in the hot sun. Keep a small cooler filled with ice floating in a couple inches of water nearby. Wear a bandana around your neck. Have an extra one in the ice water. When your bandana gets warm, exchange it out for a chilly damp one. Some chalk artists wear a stretchy turtleneck-like band called a Balaclava that can be moistened with cold water. Balaclavas and Neck Gaiters (like fishermen use) can be used the same as a way as a bandana, except they can be pulled all the way up over your head like a hood to keep the sun off and the head cool. Frogg-toggs makes an all-sport "Chilly Pad" cooling towel that can be placed around the back of the neck to keep cool while being less drippy and longer lasting than bandanas. Any of these items can be kept in the ice-water cooler until ready to use.
The cooler can also serve as a place to put water bottles many festivals provide. Which brings me to my next tip. Drink, drink, drink that water! Stay hydrated! I cannot stress this enough. I found that my energy level stays much higher during the peak of the heat when I take frequent breaks to drink lots of water.
Plan ahead to chalk efficiently. Pace yourself. A little pre-planning can help you save time so you can take a break during the hottest part of the day and still finish your masterpiece. Here are some strategies. Arrive at a festival a little earlier, if allowed, to get more work done in the morning when it is cool. Use techniques to save time. Pouncing or combine pouncing with gridding can make the work go a little faster. Using larger chalk such as Crayola sidewalk chalks or Eternity Chalks as an underlayer or for large spaces can speed progress. Sometimes working the most complicated part of the piece in the morning when feeling fresh will allow for working the larger, easier parts during the hottest part of the day when concentration becomes difficult.
One doesn't always have the choice of where to chalk, whether there is some shade or full sun all day. With a little planning and preparation, staying more comfortable is a possibility, allowing for an enjoyable and successful chalking experience in the hot Florida sun.
PS The most outrageous thing I have ever done to stay cool during a "middle of the summer" chalking gig was to bring an electric fan and a very long extension cord. I really hate the heat!