Why You Should Know Erik Greenawalt
The professional chalk artist from North Huntingdon started drawing chalk art in 2007 when his daughters asked him to draw portraits of favorite characters such as Cinderella and Dora the Explorer in their driveway.
photo by CRAIG HOUDESHELL
About: Greenawalt, also known by his social media persona “The Chalking Dad,” is a professional chalk artist from North Huntingdon (although his day job is working as a CPA for Giant Eagle). His numerous portraits, including those of Mario Lemieux, Prince and Disney’s Moana, can be found on his Facebook and Instagram (@TheChalkingDad). He also can be spotted performing at various art festivals around the country.
- Greenawalt started drawing chalk art in 2007 when his daughters Jaycie and Jenna asked him to draw portraits of favorite characters such as Cinderella and Dora the Explorer in their driveway. His neighbors began to recognize him as “that dad who chalks,” which evolved into “The Chalking Dad.”
- Greenawalt has no formal artistic training; he last took an art class in junior high school.
- One technique that helped him early in his career was the “grid method,” which frames the pictures he’s chalking in small squares that he then can recreate one-by-one to form the larger image.
- Although he’s experimented with more traditional artistic mediums, Greenawalt says he prefers to draw outside. The performative side of talking to spectators and meeting other Pittsburghers at chalking festivals is as big of a part of chalk art as crafting the piece, he says.
- The ephemeral nature of chalk art is one of the medium’s advantages, says Greenawalt: “If I screw up, Mother Nature washes it away.”