Anyone who wanders around the waterfront near downtown Corvallis may often notice colorful patterns with insightful quotes attached to them on the sidewalks. On some days, they’ll even get a glimpse of the individual who sketches them up.
The artist, Mary Fuller of Philomath, starts each segment with nothing but a general idea and set amount of space on the sidewalk. In many cases, she can lose herself drawing for hours.
“I just kind of come down here and start,” said Fuller. “I never look at the clock.”
Fuller’s sidewalk sketches come in many shapes, sizes and colors. Aside from traditional pencil and watercolor pieces she’s made since high school, Fuller started creating her chalk drawings less than a year ago so she had a way to share her art with others.
“This way, I could bring my art to people,” she said.
And so far, the town adores her pieces. Bystanders lucky enough to witness Fuller’s artistic process have had nothing but great things to say about her work. In one case, a local resident even tipped her $20 as they passed by and complimented her creation. Sometimes, children will stop and watch for extended periods of time, playing and asking questions.
“Did you make all of these pictures?” One little girl couldn’t help but be impressed on a hot summer day in July. “They’re really cool.”
Once Fuller selects a square on the sidewalks, she sits and sometimes draws outlines with charcoal or other colors of chalk. She’ll often attach individual pieces of chalk to a ring that’s connected to a chain in order to craft more accurate circles. Usually, an entire section can range between five and 10 feet of sidewalk space.
Many of Fuller’s pieces revolve around the Flower of Life, a symbolic set of overlapping symmetrical circles that symbolize the everyday connections found in our own emotions, colors, and music. In a one-word summary, Fuller described the concept as generally “intense.”
Most of her sidewalk art has held up throughout the summer, as we’ve experienced less rain and more dry and hot weather in the valley. But even when the heavy Oregon rain hits, Fuller often returns and continues her art for the entire town to enjoy.
Next time you’re downtown, keep an eye out for colorful chalk art signed by “Mary Rose.” It can’t be found anywhere else!
By Sean Bassinger