FAQ- frequently asked questions I get while working

Q: So.. what do you do exactly?

A: I’m a chalk artist. I reproduce paintings with chalk pastels really big in hopes to make people happy. I do other art stuffs too, but that’s the day job.

Q: Who pays you?

A: Mainly I work off of donations from people who appreciate what I do. Otherwise, I do work private commissions, gigs, and festivals.

Q: How did you get started? Did you go to chalk art school?

A: Uh.. no, there’s no school for this, as far as I’m aware. It is just one of those things you got to actually do to learn. After three years of part time chalking on occasional trips to Toronto and a summer season chalking in Peterborough, On, I moved to Toronto in 2010 to peruse chalk art at a professional level.

Q: So are you your own boss or do you work for someone?

A: I often work with clients, and am always open to new possibilities. Otherwise, I work for myself- but the people who enjoy my work and support me are my real bosses, and who I aim to please!

Photo by Jordan Snobelen, summer 2010

Photo by Jordan Snobelen, summer 2010

Q: Do you need permission/licenses/permits to chalk?

A: It goes from city to city, but usually yes. I have a buskers permit for the city of Toronto.

Q: What materials do you use for chalking? Is it the stuff my kids use?

A: Probably not, but I do use very basic stuff. Chalk pastels, white blackboard chalk like teachers use and charcoal. Sometimes in certain conditions I will use watered down tempera paints- they wash away almost as quickly as chalk.

Q: Does it upset you when it rains after all that work?

A: That’s my number one asked question- and the answer is no! First off, I’m usually the one washing it away in order to work the same spot several days in a row. A rainy night means less work for me. Secondly, just the foot traffic in Toronto (or most places) that goes over it when I am no longer blocking the space off destroys the quality within minutes.. by the time a day goes by, its nothing to look at any more. Chalk art is in the moment, a non permanent state of creative energy placing the tiny pigments of chalk in an order that pleases the eye. It’s not meant to last forever.

Q: But I’m sure if you put a finish of some sort on it, or use paint, it will last-

A: I don’t care. That goes against the whole spirit of being a chalk artist.

Photo Credit: Charles Mader, summer 2010

Q: Are you homeless?

A: No. This is how I pay my rent. I do treat this as a full time job.

Q: How old are you? Shouldn’t you be in school?

A: -sigh- How old do you think I am?

Q: 15?

A: 22. I graduated high school years ago.

Q: Why didn’t you go to art school? What a waste of talent!

A: I had every intention of going to art school after high school, either OCAD or Ryerson. To prepare I even did the IB fine arts higher level and got my certificate. As a responsible young adult, I researched into it and realized what the pros and cons of getting a degree and realized how few students go out of art school to be a real success. I worked in the business world pretty much right after high school and met a few people with fine arts degrees and a whole wad of debt that caused them to get boring, responsible jobs- it scared me off a bit. I got interested in tattooing, and noticed how many art students went into that direction afterwards. I decided then I might as well try going into arts directly.. sink or swim. I never wanted to be one of those people spending their whole lives looking back on four years of school and wishing that they actually did something with it.. Why not skip that part and learn as I go?

Q: Where have you chalked so far?

A: All around Toronto mostly, although as I said I did start out in Peterborough as well. Other than that I worked in Vancouver and in Quebec City last summer. I hope to chalk in other Canadian cities this year.

Q: What do you usually chalk?

A: Faeries, pretty ladies, and cartoon characters such as Tinkerbell.

Q: Why?

A: Who doesn’t like faeries, pretty ladies, and cartoon characters such as Tinkerbell? Joking aside, I draw a variety of styles and topics, but you got to do what makes the people happy, too 🙂

Me in Vancouver, summer 2010

Q: What do you do in the winter, or when it rains?

A: Apparently I start a blog. Otherwise, I usually prepare for the next work day. Toronto’s winter season is in reality only a couple months starting right after Christmas.

Q: How many hours do you work a day?

A: A piece takes about 8-12 hours

Q: If someone has a question not listed here, or wants to contact you regarding your art, how can they reach you?

A: Send me an email at jolalonde@gmail.com or chalkchick@live.ca