We’ve all seen those guys at restaurants writing the evening’s specials in chalk on a chalkboard menu near the street, right? Well this chalkboard menu writer took that same chalk out of his pocket and creatively made a career and reputation for himself as New York City’s chalk artist.
I first learned about Ellis Gallagher from my Twitter friend, Susan @BuzzEdition. He was startled by the shadow of a burglar in his home, and ever since that night, he has been obsessed with shadows. He knelt down and began outlining a shadow in the street with his chalk on his walk home from work one night, and the rest is history.
The interesting thing is that most of us see shadows every day in life, but we don’t even recognize them. Although his artistry seems innocent enough and it can be washed away with water or rain, there is some obvious ambiguity regarding the law since he was arrested for graffiti while chalking the sidewalk as shown in this video below. The charges were dropped 17 hours later and he was released.
Interestingly, he was a graffiti artist for many years before discovering his love for chalk outlining. Ellis has been fixated on shadows since 2005, and many of the locals in Brooklyn appreciate his art. Ellis will outline fire hydrants, street signs, bicycles and anything else that has a shadow. He has outlined thousands of objects.
Like many artists, Ellis is inspired by watching the creativity in others unfold as a result of his artistry. He explains, “People tell me ‘you make me smile’ or ‘you make me stop and think,’ and that’s cool. I make a difference in people’s lives. It inspires me to create more.”
I know if I were walking on a sidewalk in New York City at sunset, which I’ve done so many times, and if I came across a chalk outline like this, I would be inspired.
Thank you, Ellis, for following your dreams and sharing your creativity with us all.
Here are some samples of his chalk art, enjoy!