When researching for an artist to feature for this week I came across the amazing work of Tracy Lee Stum. Her 3-D art chalk pieces are internationally known and celebrated within the art community. As the current Guinness World Record holder for largest street painting by an individual, Tracy pushes the boundaries of the imagination and creates pieces that leave you saying “WOW”. This is her story….

 

Q. Tell me about your time at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. How did the art history that you were surrounded by, impact you as an artist?

A. That was a terrific experience for me in that I was immersed in drawing and painting in the naturalist tradition, which certainly impacted my skills positively. Being in Florence is just great to begin with, but seeing all the amazing art around me and engaging with professors, docents and other students really created a rich and fulfilling understanding of the art created throughout the Renaissance. It taught me to pay close attention to the details and the symbolism so inherent in the work of that time.

Q. Do you like to incorporate your self-image in your pieces?

A. I’m not focused on my self –image through a drawn representation, if that’s what you mean. When I create works, I open them up for everyone to become a participant in the painting. I intend for my work to be inclusive, which means creating compositions that invite the viewer to complete the image by being an integral part of the piece.

Q. If you were only allowed to use one color of chalk, what color would you choose and why?

A. Easy – caput mortuum! Its literal meaning is “dead head” or “worthless remains.” It’s this amazingly rich and complex deep purple / burgundy / brown – it changes tone depending on what you lay next to it so I love that transformative aspect of this color. It was also called Cardinal purple. I love this color.

Q. How did your Guinness World Record come about?  Do you still hold that record?

A. This was a serendipitous event in that I was contracted to create a painting for the DVD launch of the Sony Entertainment film, “The Da Vinci Code.” When laying out the image the agency I was working with suggested we try for a GWR as there were no street painting records at that time. I was awarded “Largest Chalk Painting by an Individual”. The art took me one month to create. I believe I still hold that record, which has been standing since 2006. It as an honor and a lovely surprise!

Q. I’ve read that you are interested in creating art festivals of your own in different parts of the world. How will your festivals differ from the ones that you have participated in and what type of artists are you hoping to showcase?

A. I am interested in educating other cultures about street painting through teaching workshop programs. I have introduced street painting to India, helped establish street painting in Mexico and have been taught children from ages 6 to adults age 60 around the world. My mission is to offer the art form to those communities and pass the ownership over to them, in hopes that they will see the value in it and expand upon that. I’m merely the messenger! For support I do offer a free online ‘How To Draw in 3D’ available on my website and plan on launching expanded educational programs in the near future.

Q. What are your thoughts on art education and how far do you think your art would have gone without it?

A. We all know that art education & practice are vital for healthy, thriving communities. In the US, street painting is practiced primarily at art festivals, which offer community building, philanthropic support of local or regional arts programs, and enjoyment for the public. In this way, art education has surely been a cornerstone for the growth, development and popularity of this art form.

Q. Your art has reached international recognition and I’m sure that you have been asked many of the same questions from people who are interested in your art. What is one question that you wished people would ask you that they haven’t asked already? What would your answer be?

A. That’s tough as I think I have been asked every possible question related to street painting!

Here’s one: Did you ever imagine you’d be drawing on the street for a living when you were studying to be an artist?  My answer: Never in a million years!

My advice to others in this regard – stay flexible, be open to the unexpected and don’t be afraid to go with what feels right!

Q. What is the best piece of advice someone has given you in regards to your art?

A. Two suggestions stand out for me:

1. Pay attention to the details! 

2. It’s ok to let it all go!

 

For More Information On Tracy:

Flickr.com

Twitter.com

YouTube.com

www.tracyleestum.com

Facebook.com

For More Information On Chalk Materials Used By Tracy:

www.3dstreetartstore.com

 

-Adrianne

 

Tweet Me! @ADRI86