Remember how you used your school chalkboard to draw figures on it with chalk, while the teacher was away! It certainly used to be fun. It seems David Zinn never got over this fun! Now, instead of a chalkboard in the classroom, this freelance illustrator and street artist uses the city sidewalks to create his original artworks. This self-taught artist has been doing this around Ann Arbor, Michigan, since 1987.
Zinn spent two decades freelancing for diverse commercial clients. He undertook projects that included designing cinema posters, business logos, landfill murals, cartoons, hand-painted dump trucks, etc. He also specialized in small-scale art and designed bar coasters, restaurant placemats, cake icing and snow for many of his clients.
But it’s the street art that Zinn creates that has swept the public at large off their feet. No wonder he’s renowned for this all over the world. While the other street artists use a variety of colours, he uses only chalk, charcoal and objects he finds on the street. He also improvises on location.
The characters that Zinn portrays in his street art are loveable. His favourite is Sluggo, a bright green monster with stalk eyes, and Philomena, a flying pig. However, his art is not confined to these but is only limited by his wild imagination, the size of the sidewalk and the spirit of the day. Such is his expertise in drawing that he brings his imaginary and poetic little characters to life. He often incorporates objects and any anomalies found on walls or sidewalks, such as cracks or a missing tile, into his art.
Zinn is really not bothered whether his temporary art gets washed away in rain but takes solace in the fact that it remains in the minds and hearts of his viewers. The public love he enjoys is such that people crowdfunded a campaign to help publish a book on his artwork titled ‘Temporary Preserves: Chalk Art by David Zinn’.
Although Zinn’s art is localized on the sidewalks of Michigan, it’s also seen on the platforms in Manhattan, street corners in Taiwan and village squares in Sweden. His creations are so popular that they continue to be lapped up by online social media platforms, such as Archie McPhee’s Endless Geyser of Awesome, Bored Panda, Central China Television, Facebook, Graffiti Art Magazine, Huffington Post, Instagram and Street Art Utopia. He has a following of over 320,000 fans on Instagram alone and many more on other platforms.