For the love of chalk

Once used only in classrooms, chalk now features everywhere from menus to advertisements. Chalkboard art is all around us, and seems unlikely to disappear soon. In issue 19, three artists talk about why they love to work with chalk. In this blog: Dutch chalkboard artist Viktor.

A piece of chalk was once just a basic classroom tool, but today artists are making it so much more. Across the world, creative professionals have rediscovered chalk. They’re using it to decorate walls and pavements and to design advertising signs and menu boards in hip restaurants and coffee bars from Japan to America. In the classroom, the chalkboard may have been largely replaced by interactive whiteboards, but out on the streets, chalk is enjoying a major revival. Sitting in his studio, Dutch chalkboard artist Viktor explains why he believes that is.

“I think the attraction of chalkboard art goes back to elementary school, to the past,” he says, “back to when we used chalk to make carefree drawings on the sidewalk, when life was simple. But the appeal is broader than simply nostalgia. Carefully drawn chalk pictures appeal to the imagination as well. People want something made especially for them. We’ve had enough of ‘one size fits all’. And chalkboards are always drawn by hand, by a real person. You can sense that.”

  • You can find the article in issue 19, with handy tips from Viktor in the extra: The Chalkboard Exercise Book
  • Chalk artist Valerie McKeehan (also in the article) is our guest pinner this month. You can admire her pins on our Pinterest page.

Text Jocelyn de Kwant Photography Chalkboard