Tightrope for Toyota

Most of the paintings I design via We Talk Chalk turn into hand painted 3D street paintings which are amazing and beautiful and super fun, and sometimes exhausting, to create! But over the last few years, I’ve created several digital 3D paintings that I paint in photoshop and then have printed on vinyl via our own vinyl printer or the client’s local vendor. Though they are much less ‘hands on’, they still provide the same impact and effect to viewers.

2017 has brought forth several opportunities for digital projects and I’m having a blast!! The first of the year was the expansion of the Shark painting at the Monte Carlo which I talked about in my last blog post. The second…An incredible display for Toyota and Bass Pro Shops (via MC2exhibits) and the Daytona International Speedway in Florida. This project was a dream come true. To design and paint something for such an incredible client at such an amazing venue was exhilarating to see brought to life! A 16 x 60 foot billboard and 35 x 40 foot floor painting coming together to create the backdrop for two Toyota Vehicles. Awesome!!

I started out by building a layout of the space and where the cars would be parked, and once canyon sketch was approved, I started painting via Wacom Cintiq and Photoshop. I think it took me about 7 days total to complete the image once I started painting. That includes test prints and adjustments. I created the files full size at 100dpi.

I sent the files off to the client for printing and was on pins and needles. The anticipation was unbelievable. When you create something in such a small space (your computer screen) you just hope and pray that all your calculations and tests were accurate when it is finally full size and ENORMOUS!!!! I was so nervous traveling to Daytona…what if I measured wrong? What if the viewpoint is blocked by something I didn’t know about (which is almost was…There was a pole about 4 feet away that could have been a huge problem, but thank goodness it wasn’t. phew), what if my math is off? (by the way…I’m terrible at math. Anything with numbers scares the crap out of me, but hey…you get passed the fear, check everything triple, quadruple times, and then say a lot of prayers that you nailed it. :). In the end, everything turned out perfectly! HALLELUJAH!!! I was sooooo happy. So, you can see the results below. The hot air balloon was a digital I added a few days before the Daytona 500. Toyota wanted more branding in the shot so I created that in a few hours and sent it over. They printed and stuck it up on the billbaord just in time.

Painting should be up for several months fairing good weather.

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30 inch test print of painting.
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Addition of Toyota Branded Balloon!
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The morning after install it rained. The vinyl was steadfast…it held on tight!
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Panarama shot of the painting with the vehicles parked.

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Trick-Eye Experience

New projects are always exciting and in all the time that I worked as a free lance artist my favorite projects were always the ones that required international travel. Painting in a Country you’ve never visited before or one that you really love and experiencing the culture and peoples reaction to your work is an unforgettable experience. But in the 5 years since our company We Talk Chalk has been in business, I’ve accumulated quite a few favorites because of the projects themselves…either because of the imagery, the scope, or the client themselves.

Our current collaboration with the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas has been a dream project for me for several reasons. I have the opportunity to design several anamorphic / 3D paintings for the property as semi permanent installations during their 2 year revitalization and rebranding…and, I essentially had an open theme for all the designs…AWESOME.

So, we (Myself, WTC Studio Artist Lyndsey Anne Morel, and my assistant Jarred Mendoza) just completed 3 paintings, live on site, to kick off the Monte Carlo’s ‘Trick-Eye Experience’. (Actually, Trick Eye was kicked off in December with two Holiday paintings of Polar Bears I created digitally. It was a last minute decision since we were already scheduled to create the live paintings in January. So the Polar Bears were a quick turn around and lots of fun to create.) The first two were titled “Desert or Dessert’ and sit prominently framing the Plaza Blvd Entrance of the Monte Carlo Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The whole Idea is for people to pose as if they are inside the bell jars…The Desert Jar has succulents inside like a giant terrarium and scorpions scaling the outer glass walls. The second is our favorite… ‘Dessert’ features a tower of Macaroons that you have to keep from falling over. It’s bright and colorful and fun.

The third live painting we did was a hungry ‘Shark’. Because who doesn’t love sharks these days? – from a distance, of course. Now that the live paintings are complete I will be creating a few large scale digitals to be sprinkled throughout the interior of the Casino for a total of 6 Trick-Eye Paintings at the Monte Carlo – for now 🙂

Here’s how things got started…

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Concept sketch and mock-up for Desert or Dessert painting. Simple pencil sketches within a photo of the location. Once Ideas were given the green light by the Monte Carlo team I moved forward with full color renderings.

Tools – Strathmore drawing paper, Strathmore Grid paper, tracing paper, mechanical pencils, Mac, Wacom Cintiq, Photoshop, Illustrator.

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Paper to Canvas

Since starting We Talk Chalk in 2012, I’ve designed almost every painting that we’ve produced. On average we’ve been creating about 100 paintings per year with our incredible team. So, I usually design 2-3 paintings a week. And considering I sketch 2-3 designs for the client to choose from, that’s over 300 sketches a year. lol…I didn’t actually realize that until now. Most sketches start out with a simple pencil or digital sketch and turn into full color renderings. This is nice because it lets the client know exactly what they will get. No surprises. It also allows our studio artists and assistants to see what I’m thinking for each and every inch of the painting. I can’t always spend a full day painting so I rely on my amazing artists and assistants to get things going while I’m creating sketches for the next painting.

My favorite designs are usually the ones where the clients allow us free reign (or close to it) on concepts. Of course, it’s always important to make sure our clients are happy and we convey their message in an intriguing way but it doesn’t mean we always ‘love’ the designs 🙂 And more often then not, the client won’t choose our favorite sketch…which means I have a ton of sketches that are just waiting to be used for another cool project. Here are a few sketches from 2016 that weren’t chosen!

All my sketches end up in Photoshop, even if started in pencil, for finishing touches and sending off to client. I’m using a Mac Pro, Wacom Cintiq 27 HD (which I LOVE), and an Epson 1400 Printer. When I’m traveling I use the Wacom Cintiq Companion. They make my work so much easier. Can’t live without them 🙂

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From South Park to street painting

3D Street Painting - We Talk Chalk

Source: http://www.piquenewsmagazine.com/

California master street painter Melanie Stimmell Van Latum talks about her unusual career trajectory.

One of the most gratifying moments in Melanie Stimmell Van Latum’s strange and storied art career happened in the middle of Istanbul, Turkey.

She and fellow street painter Julie Kirk Purcell had been commissioned to travel to that city to paint murals in a plaza. They brought chalk along so passersby could stop to doodle alongside them. While the plaza was filled with people etching drawings, one man in particular stood out.

“We looked over and there was this guy in his full on three piece suit with a tie and the vest and the shoes, totally sharp,” Stimmell Van Latum said. “His hair was all combed nice and he had a briefcase in one hand and he had chalk in the other and he was down on his hands and knees and we looked over at each other and said, ‘Oh my God! This is amazing!’ We didn’t have our cameras with us so we couldn’t take a picture, but that moment was so amazing. That something as simple as chalk could make somebody in this amazing outfit sit down and draw.”

The story highlights the appeal of the public art form, which stems from centuries-old Italian street art tradition: it is accessible, fun and interactive.

Stimmell Van Latum, who lives in L.A., brought her team of street painters to Whistler last week for the second year in a row. She taught local artists how to translate their talent to 3D chalk art then took to the pavement in front of Olympic Plaza with artists Anat Ronen, from Houston by way of Israel, and Alex Maksiov, from the Ukraine, where they created three large murals.

“She taught us how to get the 3D effect by starting from a perspective,” said local painter Vanessa Stark after finishing her piece of a bear in Mountain Square on Friday. “Everything is warped out because you want it to pop. You can notice it way more on the camera because it has one lens — or you close one eye.”

For the uninitiated: 3D street art does, indeed, look like an impressive, but wonky image upon first glance. But snap a photo from correct angle and it pops out on screen. The other unique aspect of the medium is its temporariness. A single downpour or too many trampling feet and it’s gone forever.

“I think the temporary aspect of it is the best part of it,” says Andrea Mueller, another local artist and Whistler Arts Council’s event coordinator, who created a dragon guarding a castle. “You kind of have to let go. A lot of the time you’re really in control when you’re creating a piece of art work. This has so many elements you’re not in control of that it’s actually refreshing.”

The master painters — Stimmell Van Latum and her crew — use a slightly more permanent concoction of tempura paint mixed with powder pigments and sugar water — but that simply delays the destruction for a little while. Their paintings also have to sustain people posing on them. Ronen’s painting of The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo’s famous piece on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, had a couch where people could sit and become part of the 3D image, for example. “We want people to interact with art,” Stimmell Van Latum said.

She started her career working on a more conventional canvas, first attending the Art Centre College of Design in Pasadena then putting her skills to work for Trey Parker and Matt Stone, a.k.a. the creator’s of the popular raunchy cartoon South Park. She worked for the program for eight years as the technical director where she oversaw the process of translating the paper cutout images to digital animations.

“The first year I started working at South Park I started street painting,” she says. “It worked out perfectly because every summer we would have a long hiatus. I would do events around California and then go back to South Park in the fall.”

During her second year of moonlighting, Stimmell Van Latum travelled to Italy for a competition against 200 other street painters. She won, despite her inexperience. When she returned home, work kept finding her, especially after she began to teach herself how to turn 2D murals into 3D images.

“I started noticing that if you could do the 3D artwork there was a lot more work for you,” she said. “So I kind of forced myself to try it out and practice it. I did my first one in the U.K. for a 3D street art exhibition. I did this kind of funky painting with a hippo and a showgirl and balloons. I think it’s my most popular painting online.”

In 2012, seven years after quitting her South Park job to pursue street art full time, she formed a company called We Talk Chalk, and now recruits from her worldwide roster of artists to travel to corporate and art events around the world. “It’s taken me everywhere I wanted to go,” she says. “It’s amazing except now I have a two-year-old son, which makes it really, really difficult. My husband is co-owner of the company, so if it’s a big project he’ll come as well and the baby will stay with the grandparents.”

Still, she says she takes pleasure in seeing how much her work delights other kids. “I did it the first time and I loved it,” she said. “It was different from anything I’d ever done. You’re outside interacting with people and you’re doing something really big.

Foire de Paris Features 3D Street Painting

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Julie and I have been very fortunate to be able to do what we love for a living and we’ve been doing it for many years. Last year, when we started We Talk Chalk with Remco, we dreamed of big clients, steady work, lots of creativity and inspiration. After a year and a half, we are so proud to say that we are living that dream. Sure, there is always more to aspire to and it’s all hard work but we are so, so grateful for the incredible start we’ve had as a company.

We just spent a week in one of the most beautiful cities in the world for a project with LaSolution and Foire de Paris, the largest Expo in France. We created 3 paintings in studio in the themes of Earth, Air, and Water. Attendees could Watch Nature Soar, be a Pilot for a Day, or Kiss a Siren. The airplane painting was probably my favorite…It turned out really cute. But really, we were really happy and proud of all 3 paintings and had so much fun painting them. It was really nice to create new work that leaned more towards fine art then commercial.

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Our new technique allows the paintings to live well through numerous rains, footsteps, and busy mommy strollers.

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Sail away with our 3D Street Painting

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Julie and I had a great time in Newport Beach creating a painting for Lexus. They wanted a Sailing inspired painting to promote their brand at the Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race and Strada dell’Arte, a new street painting festival. We created a wall/ground integration with an 8 x8 foot false wall that my father built. Completely mobile and amazing, we were able to display the top half of our sunset sail scene and continue our painting down the street leading up to the actual Lexus SUV. By Sunday, people were posing on our 3D Yacht for pics and enjoying perfect weather in Balboa Penninsula.

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