At the Chalkface
At the Chalkface
By:, Categories: Words & Images, 3 comments



“At the chalkface” is the term that usually describes teachers who work exclusively in the classroom. But we are using it in today’s photo to describe the world-renowned local street painter, muralist and chalk artist Gabrielle Abbott, who each summer leaves her “mark” as she works al fresco around the many Seattle and Bellevue parks and sidewalks.


Chalk art, or street painting, dates back to the Renaissance, and there are only two known street painters in the Northwest; Abbott being one of them. She first encountered the art form while studying at The Florence Academy of Fine Art in Italy, where she studied classical art for three years. Although she cried when she had to leave her first painting, she admits freely now that she’s grown fond of the idea that beauty is temporary.


But when she arrived back home in Seattle, she decided to test the city. So she set up camp outside of the Westlake Center plaza. And as she expected, a cop told her she really wasn’t allowed to paint the street in chalk – but he decided it was so cool he wasn’t going to stop her. But he did tell her to contact the park manager and ask for a commission. The rest, as they say, is history. Abbott is a popular figure each summer, and paid now to work throughout the different parks and areas around Seattle and Bellevue.


Gabrielle Abbott is a “La Madonnara,” an internationally exhibited muralist, street painter and fine artist. Since 2009, she has participated in many of the largest chalk art festivals and competitions around the world from Florence, to The Hague to here in Seattle.


Leica M3 & 21/4 Super-Angulon
Ilford FP4+(@100)
HC-110 (Dil.H – 1:63 @ 10 minutes)
Plustek 7600i & Vuescan




  • My first encounter with sidewalk caulk art was 1990 in Savannah Georgia. The Sav. College of Art and Design holds a contest for students, the students in small teams are assigned sidewalk squares in Forsyth Park. These squares are about 6 foot by 6 foot each. Using my old pawn shop purchased Minolta x-370 I photographed 100' s of the most incredible caulk drawings I had ever seen. Regrettably those photos were lost, but I can still picture them in my minds eye. My respect goes out to those students for there ability to produce such detailed art done in this impermanence style.

  • Hi again John I so enjoy your blogs I loved this last one you sent me The street art is amazing xx

  • Thanks, John