5 Famous Chalk Artists You Should Know Who Have Lived a Double-Life

November 24, 2017

- VersaChalk

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You’ve seen amazing chalkboard art on walls, sidewalks and highway overpasses. You might be surprised to learn that many of the creators of these masterpieces did not set out to be chalkboard artists—actually! True, some of these works of art are professionally contracted, whether as part of an artist's full-time job or as a side hustle. Sometimes, however, the stunning chalk art you come across around town is the result of a person's secret hobby with chalk markers.

Here are 5 notable (and really awesome) chalk artists who unexpectedly made a name for themselves through their passion for chalkboard art and chalk markers!

How Mean Girls' Kevin G. Became Chalk Artist Rajiv Surendra

rajiv surendra

Image: @lettersinink

You may have seen him as the rapper in “Mean Girls.” He called himself Kevin Gnapoor, or Kevin G. The actor has since confessed that he has always been a chalk artist, ever since he was a young boy. Architectural Digest sat down with Rajiv and discussed how he transitioned from movie actor to full-time chalk artist.

According to Rajiv, he fell in love with calligraphy when he was 12 years old and his love of chalkboard art grew from there. He did pursue acting when he was in high school, but always used his signature calligraphy script on the envelope when he sent out his resume. Eventually, he landed his famous role in “Mean Girls.” However, it was tough to land additional roles. So Rajiv made sure to continue his work with chalkboard art on the side.

One day, his manager suggested that they hold a calligraphy event to showcase Rajiv's unique talent. Rajiv sat with his chalk markers and did calligraphy on whatever items customers brought to the table. As it turned out, there was a wedding planner in the line, who suggested that Rajiv may want to do this chalk art gig full time—and the rest is history. Rajiv’s works can be found at lettersinink.

How Switzerland’s Got Talent Eliminated This Chalk Artist

corrine sutter

Have you seen the trending video of a chalk artist who went on “Switzerland’s Got Talent” but got eliminated before she even finished her work of chalkboard art? Those judges definitely failed, but Corinne Sutter got a win from the standing ovation she received from the audience.

She is a Swiss artist who draws portraits in caricature. She decided to bring her skill set to the stage and audition for the talent show. However, she only had a limited time to wow the judges and one by one, each judge hit that dreaded red button that thins a contestant's chances of moving on to the next round. This Youtube video shows that one should never judge a chalk artist until her creation is complete!

So a poor effort by the judges, but Corrine won the hearts of many with her performance and gained wider recognition for her talent. Now this caricature artist is a famous chalk art professional. Can the judges say that for themselves? Nope. Corinne’s work can be found at karikaturistin.

Have You Seen This Chalkboard Art Monster?

chalk artist

Image: @davidzinn

You may have seen a bright green monster named Sluggo in Michigan, Manhattan or even Sweden. These are the chalkboard artworks of Davin Zinn. Before he became a famous chalk artist, he earned a degree in Creative Writing and English Language and taught creative writing and scenic painting. He also directed several operas and hosted radio shows. A totally different world, of course, from his eventual career as a chalk artist.

So how did this pro switch from writing with a pen to drawing with a chalk marker? He started with what he called “pointless” art, sneaking his little creations into the world slowly in the form of temporary street art. Now, the world is seeing the latest of his creations in the form of Sluggo and Philomena the flying pig. His works can be seen at davidzinn.

From Food Packaging to Professional Chalkboard Art Lettering

chalk artist

Image: @dana_tanamachi

Dana Tanamachi side hustles, that’s for sure. She is a graphic designer and custom chalk letterer.

She graduated from college in 2007 with a degree in Communication Design and initially went into designing posters for art and entertainment events. Later, she began work making logos for restaurants and food packaging. After her usual 9 to 5, she moonlighted as a custom chalk letterer in New York City.

Dana’s biography states that before she opened Tanamachi Studio, she loved to work quietly on her art. It wasn’t until one fateful night during an impromptu chalk installation in 2009 that her career as a chalk artist began to soar. She received a commission from Google and was later commissioned by several other huge names, including Oprah’s O Magazine, Nike, Clinique and many more!

Dana has been a professional chalk artist since November 2009 and has been doing large-scale chalkboard art ever since. You can view her creations at dana_tanamachi.

An Amazing Japanese Teacher With A Hidden Identity

chalk artist

Image: @hamacream

It isn’t every day that you get to see your teacher exhibit a special skill. Let's find out how one Japanese teacher turned a student’s request into a chalkboard art career.

Unlike other chalk artists who leave their chalk art out in the open for all to see until it gradually fades away, Hirotaka Hamasaki erases it the next day. According to Business Insider, he started out drawing with chalk or chalk markers on the school blackboard. When some of his students recognized his amazing talent, they asked him to give them a work of chalkboard art as a graduation gift. That small gesture snowballed into a case of chalkboard art mania, with creations including images drawn from popular Japanese anime, re-creations of classic masterpieces and many completely original pieces.

Still working as a high school art teacher and graphic designer, Hirotaka continues to draw intricate chalkboard art to this day as hamacream on Instagram.

Got the knack for chalkboard art? It’s time for you to display your chalk art talent, too! There are so many things you can do with a chalk marker that can earn you fame, extra money on the side and simply smiles from the many people who can relate to your work. Create your own chalkboard art with chalk markers today and watch your creativity blossom!

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