Mandala Lessons in Chalk
Artist Gary Palmer has traveled around the world over the course of his long and colorful career. The Irish painter and street artist boasts a unique poetic voice that has found wide acclaim among collectors, and his work has been featured in galleries and at festivals from Panama to Italy. The sparse and smoky images Palmer creates with oils, ink, and charcoal stand in sharp contrast to his chalk-drawn 3D street art: In Palmer’s hands, pavements open onto hidden worlds, cement is transformed into lyrical, eye-grabbing tapestries.
Transforming the Streets…
For a recent project, Palmer, who now lives in Los Angeles, teamed up with Art teacher Stephanie Lowe and Green Dot students at Ánimo Venice Charter High School to create a large pastel mandala on campus. Mandala imagery is common in many spiritual traditions throughout the world. It is characterized by intricate circular patterns that are used to convey concepts about wisdom and the universe.
After explaining the significance of mandala imagery, Palmer helped them lay out the design and supervised its chalk-drawn evolution. They worked for several days to complete the mandala. Afterwards, senior Cloe Nomic said, “Not every student gets to be a part of artwork that takes days to create. We were in the art for so long. I really gained an appreciation of pastel and street art.”
The Ánimo Venice mandala was unveiled to the Venice community during the Venice Artblock, an open studio event featuring a collection of local artists committed to increasing awareness of the area’s vitality and diversity.
…Connecting with Art
This fall, impressed and delighted with the Ánimo Venice art students he had met, Palmer introduced Ms. Lowe to Venice artist and educator, Rob Dew, who with their group streetart.net, was preparing to create a monumental street art event featuring a family friendly mandala for the Abbot Kinney Fest. After a few meetings it was decided that Ánimo Venice students would lead the creation of this mandala by assisting area children to add their designs in chalk.
Ánimo Venice Senior Luis Garcia noted, “Working on this mandala with area families showed me that I could do more with my artwork and assist others with their creations.”