Seniors chalk up the neighborhood

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Since blowing up on Pinterest, wing murals have gained a great deal of popularity. Especially popular in Los Angeles, wing murals never fail to catch the eyes of passersby. Seniors Nicole Monaco and Amanda Renzi (Classic Editor-in-Chief) have taken up a project to bring the same creative trend throughout Queens. Their Instagram account, @chalkfetish, has garnered 4,000 followers and counting. “Our account is where we interact with other artists as well as people that have ‘experienced’ our work by posing for a picture with it,” Nicole said. 

Amanda and Nicole’s first chalking project began on the last day of their junior year. “We started without doing wings; we did those 3D chalk drawings that look like holes in the floor,” Amanda said. 

Nicole shared the same experience and how chalking has helped to build their friendship: “Amanda and I decided to recreate a crater-like piece on the sidewalk one day and really enjoyed talking to each other while chalking.” Since then, they have decided to continue expanding the project with wing art.

“I have a list in my notes app where I write down different ideas for wings…. Some of our followers on Instagram will actually send us other pictures they see of wing art to give us inspiration,” Nicole explained. Amanda detailed the process, which can be very time consuming: “We choose our colors…we’ll measure our shoulders and put our arms out to measure the wingspan. Then we’ll sketch in a light color the shape of the wings. Usually it takes about 2-3 hours depending on how big and complicated they are… we love it.”

Since starting their Instagram account, they have received a lot of positive feedback from those in the community. “We see that it makes people happy and that it brightens up their neighborhood…the fact that people enjoy it… makes it worth it,” Amanda said. 

Many of their followers often pose with their art and share the pictures on social media. “It makes me feel fulfilled biking home after having spent 2 hours doing wings to see so much feedback on social media and having people share their pictures with us,” Nicole added. “It’s crazy to see how social media can connect people and to grow a following on there.” 

From this project, Nicole wants others to feel inspired to find their own creative outlet. “One time, we met a guy and he was telling us how he used to draw chalk cartoons when he was younger…. He told us that we had inspired him to pick up that hobby again,” she said. “We kept in touch with him via Instagram and he stayed true to his word, to this day, sending us pictures of his sidewalk chalk doodles.”

The two shared that they want to keep this project going for as long as possible. “It is a very unique experience, and I can see myself…keeping up chalking as a hobby through retirement,” Nicole said.