Jun. 23, 2008 at 10:20am
A one hour, bloody knuckled, art competition to determine the best illustrator in THE WORLD!! (Of Tacoma)
The following is a recap of last week's chalk challenge as recorded over several days, 140 characters at a time, via the Beta of Quillpill, an online micro blogging writers site. I will recount my experience with the beta over at andrewfry.blogspot.com this week, but for now, here is a 1700 word, somewhat disjointed recounting of the event, most of it real.
The weather report was sketchy at best. Rain might not mean less competition, but it
meant more difficult chalking. And chalking ruled.
Stowe was stoked, after his third victory produced a new look, but Andrea, fresh off of a major win and a steak dinner, would not cow down.
Like Chinatown and The Godfather II, RR's Chihuly-Cthulhu masterwork was defeated not from lack of greatness, but because one was greater.
Still other chalk artists, some past victors, some coming to make their multicolored mark for the first time, began sketching out plans.
With 72 hours until the feats hit the pavement, RR was working on a secret chalk formula, a combination of plaster and paint. His spectrum.
He had given out a faux formula to the masses, for he held back on disclosing his own secret ingredient: artistic talent.
But there were others like him out there with talent of their own. Had the father of the Chalk Challenge erred or merely raised the bar.
The prize for this week would be announced today. Would it be another luxury condo stay? A dinner on the town? A make over? Free press?
Each week the value seemed to increase. A few wins at this rate and an active Ebay account meant much more than simply beer and date money.
It meant, (calculating on fingers, 7 plus 6 is 3 carry the one, multiply by twelve, less the fee to post the prizes and shipping) MUCH more!
Previous participants gathered around the comments section of the FeedTacoma web site. Each claimed, suspiciously, to have no good ideas.
Izenmania claimed, "no awesome prize-winning ideas. Curses!". Elle's response, "alas, I have no awesome ideas either." Both were suspect.
Meanwhile, Andrea was picking up her El Gauchos steakhouse certificate from promoter extraordinaire Erik "the Urbanist". The next prize?
For CCXI, four tickets to the Mariners, ten rentals at Stadium Video,a 50 dollar gift certificate from Buzzards and a Ralph Steadman poster.
But in a dramatic example of prize escalation there was a new wrinkle to this weeks contest. There would also be a second place prize!
Slow dissolve to the sidewalks and concrete of Frost Park, empty, but for the occasional passing "bus person" glancing at last weeks ghosts.
The city worked by day. At night, it slept. It also contacted "the Urbanist" and said it would wash the sidewalks and concrete no more.
How would this effect the next competition? Those with an intent to chalk the walls had better be prepared with buckets and supersoakers.
As dusk settled, or perhaps it was merely cloud cover, yes, I believe it was cloud cover, but dusk would be approaching eventually.
A mysterious figure in a deep blue coat approached the park. Armed with a long handled brush and a bucket he began his work on the walls.
A fictitious officer approached.
He eyed the figure up an down, circling him as though he were a 2:00am loiterer. "What are you doing?"
"I'm, uh, cleaning off the chalk drawings so that there will be a new slate for the artists. Yeah, that's the ticket, I'm cleaning up."
Officer Frost was satisfied and returned to his beat, disappearing into the air.
Dave L. laughed and removed from his pocket.....Chalk!!!
It was special invisible chalk, made from the RR formula, but with lemon juice instead of paint. No one would know of his head start art.
Once the sun appeared on Friday, the images would emerge like a secret agents hidden message in a Hardy Boys novel. (Try it, but with paper)
The confident Dave L. even posed for pictures when approached by "the Urbanist" whose suspicions were aroused. "All spic and span." he said.
Back at FeedTacoma the praise was heaped on. "Yeah, Dave!!!" "Eye of the Tiger, Dave!!". Dave chuckled to himself, waiting for the sun.
While Dave's laugh caused him to snort coffee out of his nose, a new challenger was on the horizon. Red Hots, get your Red Hots he yelled.
Because, he then bellowed to the night, the Red Hot is gonna get theirs. We got a ringer here, a beertendrix-supreme ringer called - MEG!!!
Sleep well chalkers, for tomorrow we bring life from the rough gray pavement.
It was a beautiful morning. The usual challenge announcement did not go out as usual however. The arts listserver was out of commission.
A deliberate act? Who knows. But RR found away around it and made the proclamation from Craigslist instead.
"You, the people, have the power, the power to create chalk machines, the power to create chalk happiness!" RR exclaimed online maniacally.
This was followed by a "MwooohaHahaHA!! HAhaHahaha!" but no one online could hear it. He perched the engineers hat on his head and exited.
The pre-chalking chatter began to heat up along with the day's temperature reading. Anticipation was building and the boards were frenzied.
Andrea unveiled her promotional battle art. The world stopped a moment. Stowe beheld the detailed graphic of alien/mecha-ape/goddess war.
Though children were invited, it came with a warning! A very busy street, a tempting fountain and... chalking. There would also be bubbles.
First timers were welcomed. "Come introduce yourself" said Heather, admittedly shy herself, "I'll be the one in the red sneakers."
It started quietly, with Stowe arriving with his artistic partner and family along for the challenge. Yes, there was a little Stowe in tow.
To blend I pretended to be part of the festivities. I sat on a pavement square with some recently purchased chalk. The perfect ruse.
The one they call Elle arrived and scanned the hill of
concrete, pacing until she alighted on her perfect canvas. She smiled at it.
I was distracted by one of Stowe's minions, disguised as a cute little two year old girl. I made her an origami frog and when I looked up..
Frost Park was crawling with chalkers, busily putting chalk to pavement in a frenzy of artistic flailing of hands and bending of backs.
Having no talent myself, I reached back to lessons taught by Commander Mark from The Secret City. Symmetry I said to myself, yes symmetry.
Photos were posted.
The votes began to trickle in. From out of the gate a front runner was emerging. Dawn (dawntown) and Ariel had found "Alchemy in Tacoma".
The vibrant sunspot, the bird perched on the sign, the use of Frost Park discarded paper in the working of the art. The product placement.
Stowe and Stowe in tow were also getting votes. Jeremy, Elle and others entered slowly into the race. A mysterious vote was cast for me.
Could it have been a fan of fine art? a pity vote? a holdover from the Commander Mark fan club? They name seemed familiar. Could it be....
Lance had an eye for Tacoma. Hypnotic. Adam the alien had landed on Frost Parks steps. A Sign? Elle, like all of us, needed a vacation.
It's Five O'clock Somewhere. Thorax had nine stories to tell. Lemon yellow sunshine appeared magically from his piece.
Electric Elliot summoned "Darth Eyman" from the dark side. Heckler Scary. "A Monster Meats My Sister" from Stowe and Son. Montrously good.
Garfield Roadtrip by Jeremy. Radar Love. Lesson One: Symmetry by droid116. Symmetrical. Already mentioned Alchemy of Tacoma but man!!
A bird. Buzzards. Multiple media. Vibrant colors. Working together. Offered to loan me chalk and were nice as they drew above me. Argh!
Andrea spotted UFO's over Rainier. A gorgeous day for an invasion. RR gave tribute with "Seago SayWA?". Extra!! Extra!! stunning.
Izenmania detailed out "The Price of Victory" in a self potrait. Provocative, Emotional, Musical.
A temporary gallery of art to be savored in the sunshine, with the community welcomed and the spirit of Tacoma present and accounted for.
Cast your votes now!!! CAST THEM NOW!!!
A voice from beyond sounded off in the distance. "The people in the room with me vote for Alchemy". It was the absent TacomaUrbanist.
The votes began to pile up as the night wore on. Dawn and Ariel continued to lead. In a fit of self pity I voted for myself.
That brought my vote count to two when you included the vote from my sist...., er the mysterious stranger.
This would not be the first zombie vote in Chalk Off history but certainly the first from my camp. The evening wore on.
On and on the votes streamed in. This story would be more interesting if it were close, but The Alchemy of Tacoma, Dawn and Ariel, ruled.
Once again great works were created. Each magnificent in their own right. One even making flickr "post of the day". What a day it was.
Two hours to post. Two hours left in Chalk Challenge XI. Two hours until the champion would be made apparent. Two hours. Two hours. 2 hrs
There is a calm now. An understanding that after a great competition comes rest. The votes were being tallied, more for second and third.
Dawn and Ariel reigned supreme as the GREATEST ILLUSTRATOR(S) IN THE WORLD! (of Tacoma). They would be greeted as champions and crowned.
Songs would be written, stories would be told, records would be etched in the digital firmament. Trading cards would most likely follow.
Stowe and mini Stowe, aka Stowe in tow, aka Son of Stowe, aka Barrett came in second. In a close race that came down to the finish.
Jeremy and his constant companion Garfield placed third. Those who did not place did not despair for there would be other Fridays.
There would be more prizes, more wonderful creations and once again the concrete would be cleaned and ready for chalking. Eye of the tiger.
An officer appeared from the mist. Frost was the name on his badge. He walked the sidewalk glancing down along the way at the work there.
He stopped and hovered over one. "Get that boy a tattoo gun" he muttered and continued on again, then disappeared back into the mist.
comments  | posted under Chalk Challenge, Quillpill, TacomaComments
by Erik on 6/23/2008 @ 11:24am
Great to see new technologies being employed at Frost Park Chalk Offs. It will be interesting to see how this is employed in later episodes.
by joel413 on 6/23/2008 @ 1:29pm
|OMG... Commander Mark... the other important lesson I learned from the Commander....
MEMORIES.... ALL ALONE IN THE MOONLIIIIGHT....
by NineInchNachos on 6/23/2008 @ 1:52pm
|You're a worthy scribe Professor Fry. I like the ghost parts.|
by droid116 on 6/23/2008 @ 4:20pm
|Thanks. It is an interesting format to have to write in. Like trying to string together a bunch of Twitter entries into a narrative. I am thinking it lends itself to writing verse, so the next iteration may need to be an epic poem.|
by NineInchNachos on 6/23/2008 @ 4:51pm
|yes. we need more epic poems. |
SING O GODDESS...
by Dave L. on 6/23/2008 @ 5:45pm
|Haha - very good. I'm not Thorax tho. (Unless you want me to be; you're the writer.) I only chalked IV and VIII. Could be that I participate only in episodes that are a multiple of four.|
by Droid16 on 6/23/2008 @ 9:52pm
|Thanks Dave L. The correction will be made in order to increase the recaps accuracy.|
by Erik on 6/23/2008 @ 9:57pm
|Great writing and documenting the play by play Andrew.|
Each sentence is like a cartoon panel in a way (that's a compliment). A complete thought and action.
I tried something similar back in the very first Episode I with timestamps. But you have dedicated technology for it.
Participants gather in Frost Park for their weekly downtown lunch. (BTW, the park was successfully taken back). The art inclined folks began designing their art work for the competition. RR Anderson starts working on his art submission for the competition:
From the archives: