This self-taught artist brings art to the most random corners of the street. David Zinn learned everything he does today all by himself. He didn’t study in an art school, instead, he picked up most of his art skills by painting scenery for theatre productions and doodling to ease his social anxiety.
He spent twenty years working as a freelance commercial artist in Ann Arbor, illustrating municipal publications and designing logos for small businesses, and then discovered the joys of chalk art around 2005 as an excuse to spend more time outside and away from his computer.
Earthwonders reached out to David to ask him more about his work, where he shared some interesting information with us.
When asked what inspired him in his work, his answer was quite solid. “I am inspired by three things: 1) the psychological effect of pareidolia, which suggests faces and patterns in the random specks, cracks, and objects on the street; 2) procrastination from more responsible tasks; 3) the desire to insert absurd and unexplained moments into the daily lives of people who happen to glance in the right direction at an opportune moment.”
The artist shared with us a little bit about his working process as well. He said that most often, while he’s walking with a different purpose (such as delivering packages to the post office) and looking at the ground in front of him, he confesses that he hopes to find a canvas for his next artwork, as an excuse to shirk his responsibilities and linger outdoors in pleasant weather, but very often the place suggests itself through its natural appearance, just like it was mentioned before when the artist explained the pareidolia.
“From that point, there are two main challenges. One is keeping track of what wants to be drawn, because the final image is sometimes very different (for better or worse) from what I first “saw.” The other is navigating the sometimes mercurial state of the weather because a happy drawing experience can be interrupted or even ended prematurely by inopportune rain, wind, nighttime, or even shadows from direct sunlight. I am happy to walk away from my imaginary friends after they’ve been completed, but to leave one unfinished is surprisingly disconcerting,” shared the artist for Earthwonders.
The artist shared extra interesting information: “The name for the visual effect that makes my drawings look three-dimensional is called anamorphosis, and it is generally effective only from one specific viewpoint – in this case, the point where the camera was positioned when the pictures were taken.
The materials I use for my temporary installations are sidewalk chalk, soft pastels, and vine charcoal. All of them wash away easily in the rain or are worn away by wind and shoes, and I prefer this ephemerality to any kind of permanent art.”
Scroll down below for some more awesome street art.
Earthwonders was granted permission by David Zinn to use these images.