Free: Mondo Pasadena Chalk Festival | NBC Southern California

Free: Mondo Pasadena Chalk Festival

A Father's Day Weekend favorite features hundreds of artists + thousands of spectators.

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    Shuji Nishimura/Pasadena Chalk Festival
    A Father's Day Weekend favorite features hundreds of artists, thousands of spectators. (Pictured: The 2014 1st place work by Shuji Nishimura)

    If you have plans to visit a museum or a gallery or a pop-up art space, you can probably, with a good degree of accuracy, predict in which direction your head will tilt as you admire the pretty pieces on display.

    "Straight ahead" is a fine guess, as is "looking slightly upward" if you happen to be gazing upon a fairly tall sculpture or fountain or mobile. But where, pray tell, will you be if "straight down, at the ground" is the only correct answer to the question?

    You're right: a chalk festival. And if the date happens to be around Father's Day, and you find yourself in Pasadena, you'll be looking down, at the ground, while attending what's called "the largest street painting festival in the world."

    Some 600 artists show up each year, over Father's Day Weekend, to create whimsical and humorous and moving and abstract images and scenes on the sidewalks of Paseo Colorado. Many deal with nature or the human form or pop culture favorites (Shuji Nishimura's portrait of the Fab Four took home the top prize at the 2014 festival).

    And there are the always popular optical illusion artworks at the Pasadena Chalk Festival, the ones that make it look as though a bear or tiger is leaping from the pavement, depending upon where you might be standing. (Full disclosure: The bear and/or the tiger are fully made of chalk and cannot reach you, though it seems as though they can. Optical illusion!)

    Dates? Saturday, June 20 and Sunday, June 21. Times? 10 in the morning through 7 o'clock each day. Cost? Free, free, so free. Neato factor? Pretty dang high. Getting out of the house on a sunny June weekend with your pops? This'll do nicely, as it has been doing nicely for nearly a quarter of a century now.

    Seriously, though: How do the artists create those trompe l'oeil artworks?

    And really: Are there other art events that you only look down for? We said a chalk festival was the only qualifier, but surely there are artists out there working in pebbles and twigs and dust and the other materials normally found under our feet?

    Is the whole planet a ready canvas beneath us and we only, on occasion, realize it? Deep thoughts for a delightfully light weekend of ethereal, and ephemeral, art.

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