Chalkfest Profile: Tyler Moen

Chalkfest returns in August with previous award-winner

Bailey Berg, photos by Frank H. Robinson

CHALK TO THE HAND. For Chalkfest 2009, local artist Tyler Moen created a scene from the video game Pikmin, earning him first place in the audience chosen individual category (despite rain damage).

Imagine, if you will, a park overtaken by a day-long firestorm of creativity, culminating in yards and yards of sidewalk space displaying amazing chalk artwork. That’s Chalkfest.

Now in its third year, Chalkfest invites artists to create large-scale, elaborate chalk masterpieces on the sidewalks of Wilson Park (between Farwell and Barstow streets in downtown Eau Claire) alongside other professional and amateur artists from the Valley and beyond.  

One of the event’s most celebrated participants is Tyler Moen, a UWEC fine arts and illustration graduate who will put chalk to concrete for the third time this year.  

“In years past, I’ve replicated little garden scenes,” Moen explained. “I think I have an idea for this year, which makes me nervous because the other two years I didn’t know what I was going to do, and it worked really well. We’ll see what happens.”

You’d recognize Moen’s pieces if you saw them, as they all showcased intensely bright colors and had a whimsical feel to them. In his first year, Moen’s piece was dominated by vibrant, long-petaled sunflowers, along with a winding river and a very happy-looking turtle. The following year, Moen’s slab of concrete was blanketed in mushrooms, as well as colorful woodland-like creatures from the video game Pikmin, carrying away a plump strawberry.  

“I really appreciated the type of piece I did last year, and how many different types of comments I received from so many different kinds of people,” Moen explained, humbly failing to mention that the audience voted it first place in the individual category. “The older crowd really enjoyed the flowers, and the nature of it. While this little boy, who came right up, looked down for a few seconds, and screamed, ‘My dad has that game!’ and ran away. Silly things.”

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