Monday, July 15, 2013

Pheaturing Chalk Twins

Perfect song on the radio, sing along 'cause it's one we know. It's a smile, it's a kiss, it's a sip of wine, it's summertime. Sweet summertime. Yup. Something like that. Good ole Kenny Chesney. I saw him writing a motorcycle here in Clermont once. I think he was building a house around here. Well, he was building it, someone else was... for him. You know what I mean. Anyway, how are you?  I mentioned this yesterday, and I'll mention it again... George Clooney broke up with his girlfriend. I didn't see that coming. George Clooney released a statement saying that yes, it's true that they're breaking up. George said he would like to spend more time with his next girlfriend.  They'll be a review in a few minutes, but yesterday Logan and I went to see the new movie Pacific Rim. Ocean monsters come out of the sea so we must build huge robots and they battle to the death. I'm telling you, I haven't seen anything like this since last Friday! It's the sea creatures versus the giant robots. It's from the original play by Noel Coward.  America has lost the title of the fattest nation on earth. This is only the second-fattest nation. America lost the title to Mexico. Isn't that amazing? We are so fat and lazy now that we're too fat and lazy to be number one at being fat and lazy. I am of course from England, but yes, I'm still fat and lazy. According to The Washington Post, the NSA has been monitoring phone calls and emails of people in Mexico. So apparently it's not enough to spy on American citizens, they feel they have to spy on FUTURE American citizens as well.  The U.S. birthrate is at an all-time low. The birthrate is now so low that "The Maury Povich Show" may have to cut back to just half an hour.  Now that marijuana is legal in the state of Colorado, in Denver they're talking about taxing it up to 35 percent. Suddenly those drug cartels don't seem so greedy anymore, do they?  Residents of northeast Colorado, which is much more rural than the rest of the state, don't think they're properly represented so they want to break the state into two pieces. This is what happens when you legalize marijuana. Everyone gets all paranoid and tries to secede. The idea is to divide Colorado into two states, and they want to call the new state North Colorado. If you're going to go to the trouble of creating a new state, give it a cool name like Danger Zone, or Colorado 2: The Reckoning. They have about as much chance of seceding from Colorado as Chucky has to secede from Cheese.  Hey, comic book fans, get this... Paula Deen apparently is going to be in a comic book about female empowerment. I think the only thing she empowers women to do is kill their families with her recipes.  Political experts say that Eliot Spitzer's decision to return to politics could hurt Anthony Weiner's chances of becoming mayor. Or as Spitzer put it, "See? I'm making things better already."  So, Pixar and Disney have out Monsters University, or Monsters U as the hip kids call it, right? And they're coming out with Planes, a Cars spin-off. Did you hear about the other movie they're coming out with? I have the poster right here.

I think it'll be good.  You guys know I love me some "Angry Birds", right? Well, there's a new version that doesn't seem to be as fun.

That's so stupid.  I was thinking about the show "Happy Days" the other day for some reason. Remember that show? Ralph Mouth, Richie, the Fonz... and John Lennon? Wot?

He actually looks cooler than the Fonz. Heyyyy.  One of the things I like to do in my spare time is to go on Twitter and look up different words, and one of those words I look up is Foghat. Here's a recent Tweet I saw the other day.

Very funny, Lee.  A few months ago back in march it was "The Great Space Coaster" Month here on the Phile and recently a Phile reader sent me this picture thinking I might be interested...

They're selling in on eBay for fifty dollars. No, I'm not buying it. It's really cool though.  Alright, it's summer, and there's one thing I like to do in the summer and that is swim. There's so many cool pools out there on this planet, I thought it'll be fun to show you some of the most phascinating ones. Like this one for instance.

No, New York is not underwater (yet, anyhow)... that's a clever ad for HSBC by Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai ad agency in India. The bank wanted to raise awareness of the dangers of global warming, so the clever ad guys glued an aerial photo of a city's skyscrapers to the base of a swimming pool … the effect of a submerged cityscape is fantastic! Pretty crazy. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson...

Top Phive Groups Of People That Went To See Grown Ups 2
5. The two friends of Adam Sandler's who weren't cast in the movie.
4. Math dyslexis encouraged by the original's 195 Rotten Tomatoes rating.
3. People who saw the poster and mistakenly thought it starred a young, funny Adam Sandler.
2. Tim Meadows' extended family, excited for his 11-second cameo.
And the number one group of people who went to see Grown Ups 2 are... 
1. Idiots.  

Godzilla/Gojira was a metaphor. He was the terror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki-made monster. But his serious intent didn't last long. Soon after his first film he was fired from being a metaphor and became a groovy pro-wrestler taking on all other kaiju foes. He was friend to all children and a pro-Earth spokesmodel/anti-littering advocate who battled a "smog monster" named Hedorah. This took place as go-go dancers gyrated in the background and a lady sang a slightly psychedelic song about pollution. This was not undignified; the valiant Godzilla was merely updating his personal brand to stay in step with the times.  In this heartfelt, loving homage to all things vintage kaiju (the first word seen onscreen, incidentally, the Japanese word for monster), director Guillermo del Toro has, for whatever reason, decided to retrieve a little of that past gravity and present his monsters as loose analogs to climate change. They don't invade us from space; they come from deep within the Earth's core, the world rebelling against itself because stupid humans ruined it all. Again. These giant monsters emerge from a poisoned ocean into a world where it never stops storming and it's up to the stupid humans to fight back or else suffer their own annihilation as the kaiju rapidly mutate into bigger and badder threats. Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi are our last line of defense, and they're just as capable as anyone, right?  A giant robot program is set in motion, requiring the cooperation of all nations and, more so, the cooperation of twin pilots who operate the mecha-warriors known as Jaegers via a neural transference/think-energy called "drift." Comic relief scientists (Charlie Day, Burn Gorman) and a black market kaiju parts retailer (Ron Perlman) show up to throw around jokes and minor plot wrenches in order to remind the audience that this is also meant to be fun even when the monsters aren't stomping cities flat or fighting the Jaegers. And they have to do this because every so often the other stupid humans threaten to ground the film to a halt when their special feelings steal the spotlight away from mechas and monsters. I don't know about you, but not counting the Mothra twins or the sparkly space alien women in Destroy All Monsters, the greatest kaiju film of all time, I barely remember the people from any installment. I remember monster battles. I remember body slams and helicopter moves. I remember Godzilla jumping up and down on other monsters' heads. That is the thrill. That is the excitement. That is why these films endure: fighting, fighting, fighting. And then more fighting.  So, about the fighting and destruction here, the only thing that really matters. It's spectacular, successfully tapping into whatever childhood happiness the old Japanese films delivered. Gone is the bad memory of the 1998 American botch-job Godzilla, with its digital cartoon lizard. These are great, detailed, realistic-looking monsters. Do we get enough city stomping after the prologue? No. Do we see the monsters in all their spiky, scaly finery? Not always. Are they presented in broad daylight for full appreciation? Not often enough. In keeping with its deeper theme, they fight in torrential downpours and at the bottom of the ocean and, as the battles get more intense, as more robots fight more monsters at once, this results in some visual incoherence... all the more reason to see it twice, really. Which I could never do. It won't steal any real estate in your heart still occupied by Gamera, Ultra-Man or those weird times when Godzilla battled King Kong or his own mecha-doppelganger, but it can stand proudly next to them and belch nuclear fire all day long. From 1 to 10, I give this movie a 6.

Today's guests are the 32nd and 33rd artists to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery. They're one of the world's most unique pair of chalk artists. Please welcome to the Phile... Devon and Lexi... The Chalk Twins.

Me: Hello, girls, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Devon: Very well! How about you?

Me: Not bad. We met at MegaCon a few months ago, if you remember. You do remember me, right? 

Devon: You're right and yes, we remember you. Though, there were tens of thousands of people at MegaCon… it can get overwhelming pretty quickly!

Me: Did you have fun there at MegaCon? Do you do a lot of conventions?

Devon: We had a blast at MegaCon! We got to see a lot of friends from past events and a lot of new faces as well. We do indeed do a lot of conventions.

Me: You were working on a piece with a dragon I think. I should of took a photo. How long did that piece take for you to do?

Lexi: Yup, Devon drew a Chinese dragon for the show. Overall, the drawing took us around 40 hours, working pretty much all day Friday and Saturday and finishing in the afternoon on Sunday. If you wanted to take a look at the final product, you can find it on our website, Facebook, or DeviantArt account.

Me: I have a picture of you two girls and the picture of your MegaCon piece right here.

Me: It came out very good. Okay, for readers that don't know, your last name really isn't Chalk, is it? That would be weird if it was. What are your last names?

Devon: Haha. No, that isn't our last name though I can see why you would think so. We go by this pseudonym because we work with chalk, otherwise known as soft pastels, and we are twins. But The Soft Pastel Twins just didn't seem to be as catchy. Our real last name is Fulmer.

Me: You are both twins though, but which one is older and by how many minutes?

Lexi: We are indeed identical twins! Devon is older by two minutes.

Me: I think it's cool you both work together. How long have you both been working together? And whose idea was it?

Devon: Initially, I suppose it was a mutual agreement between ourselves and our high school art teacher. We have been working together since high school. We started doing chalk art for local chalk art festivals in Orlando and usually most people, especially the high schoolers, would work in teams. We were really lucky to be able to have a built-in partner and because we have been working together since the very beginning, our partnership and ability to work together cohesively has grown even stronger along the way.

Me: Do you both divvy up the work 50/50?

Devon: Yes, for the most part. Lexi is very good at skin tones and rendering hands and faces so in general she will tackle that in our art. I have a lot of experience with fabric so I usually do a figure's clothes and then we both split the background up. This set up usually works out to be equal but if it doesn't, we split it slightly differently to make up for that.

Me: Do you two ever argue about what you are gonna or about anything?

Devon: We don't really argue about what we will do, but we will compromise sometimes. For example, sometimes we both really want to do part of the image, but eventually we will work it out that maybe she will do that table, and I will do this chair and carpet. Because we are sisters as well as business partners, we will have small arguments like anyone else, but usually forget it ever happened within 5 minutes or so.

Me: Where are you both from? I am guessing the same place. LOL.

Devon: Actually, we grew up on different coasts of the US and just found each other last year. Just kidding, just kidding!! We both grew up together in a small town north of Orlando.

Me: Where do you live now and did you both go to school to study art? We moved to South Carolina for four years to attend Furman University, a small liberal arts school in Greenville. We both were Studio Art majors though we had different concentrations within the major. While were at Furman, we both had the life-changing opportunity to study abroad in Italy. There, we studied a breadth of media with a community of fellow artists, all while in a culture that is deeply immersed in art itself. We came back to Orlando after graduating.

Me: Let's talk about your art. You are chalk artists. When and how did you start to draw with chalk? 

Devon: Again, we started doing chalk art in high school. There were a few art competitions throughout the year that high schools were allowed to compete in and our art teacher asked us to be one of the representatives for our school. We fell in love with those competitions because of the challenge, the newness, and the camaraderie of street painting. We still continue to do them now.

Me: Most people would just draw hop scotch gams with chalk, but your art is a lot more detailed. A lot more.

Lexi: Haha, yeah, it is a little more detailed than your average hopscotch squares. But for us, we revel in the challenge of detail and because there are two of us working on an drawing, we can usually get twice as detailed in the same time it would take one person.

Me: I personally would not want to put so much work into something to watch it get washed away or ruined. Do you get sad when you finish a piece and it gets ruined?

Devon: Surprisingly enough, this is the most common question we get asked. In fact, some people almost seem offended by the fact we put so much work into our art to have it gone the next day. I think it is ingrained in us, artists especially, to want to hold on to something we have created. But we have found a certain freedom that comes with creating art and letting it go. The only time we are disappointed when our art gets washed away is when we don't get a chance to finish before Florida's typical afternoon showers roll along. Luckily, that has only happened once or twice.

Me: I am guessing with your art work, it's hard to sell as you do it on the ground, right?

Devon: Well, some of our work we still do on cement, but we have also started making chalk drawings on permanent surfaces that are able to be easily transported.

Me: So, tell the readers what is the process of doing chalk drawings.

Devon: We start out with an idea or sketch that we have come up with. From there, we usually take that small drawing and transfer it to a much larger scale. Once we have the outlines of the image, we are good to go to finish our drawings.

Me: You draw a lot of fantasy stuff. Is that what you're into?

Devon: We are into a wide variety of fandoms. I think the first fandom we were ever a part of was Lord of the Rings, so the fantasy genre has a special place in our hearts. But we love everything from fantasy to anime to sci-fi.

Me: Do you take commissions? If so, what has been the strangest thing you have ever been commissioned to do?

Devon: We do take commissions though I don't think we have done anything that is particularly "strange." Unless perhaps you think that a multicolored, Basquiat and Surreal inspired cello is strange. 

Me: How much would it cost for you to come to my house and draw a picture of Kelly Clarkson in my drive way? I live in Clermont.

Lexi: Maybe that is the new strangest commission we have gotten! It really depends on the size and complexity of the drawing but our base prize is usually around $200.

Me: Okay, how much would it be if you added me in the drawing?

Lexi: I guess it depends on what kind of face you are making. ;)

Me: Man, if only I was single... Alright, have you ever been in the middle of a piece and had to stop because of weather or something?

Devon: Yes. That is so sad when that happens. We had one time in particular when were working on a piece. We saw the storm clouds gathering quickly and tried to hurry so we could at least get a quick picture of our finished work. Well, we got about 90% done with it before it started just down pouring and we finished the drawing as it was getting washed away.

Me: You two won a lot of rewards, girls. What awards have you won?

Devon: We have won 7 second places, 3 first places, 3 best in shows, and a Mayor's award. You can see all of the details of those awards on our website.

Me: How long do you two see you both doing this chalk drawing stuff?

Devon: Well, this is our profession as well as our passion, so we will giving it our all to continue making our art for as long as we can.

Me: I like to ask artists on the Phile what they think of the Phile's logo. That would be something cool to design with chalk, right?

Lexi: That is quite a snazzy logo you have there. You're right, I bet it would look good in chalk!

Me: How long does a typical piece take to make?

Devon: Our pieces vary greatly in size, from 4 sq. ft to 96 sq ft. Overall though an average amount of time to create each piece is about 25-30 hours.

Me: What has been the biggest piece you ever did?

Devon: The largest piece we ever did was at a street painting festival in Sarasota, Florida. It was 9ft x 12ft and spanned the entire width of the right lane of a road. We did a recreation of Madame Raymond de Verninac by Jacques-Louis David.

Me: I have a picture of you two with that one.

Me: Wow. It does look big. Alright, so, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Here's yours... What's your dream job?

Devon: We are incredibly blessed to actually be doing our dream job right by creating and sharing our art with the world. In the future, we hope to be able to travel around the world with our art and passion.

Me: Pretty cool. Thanks so much for being on the Phile, girls. Go ahead and mention your websites and please come back again soon. You do good work, I love it.

Lexi: Thanks so much for having us! You can check out our work at or on

Me: Excellent. Keep up the good work.

There, that does it for this entry of the Phile. Chalk it up for another week. LOL. Thanks to Devon and Lexi, I hope to see them again soon. The Phile will be back next Saturday with singer songwriter Ed Pettersen, on Sunday it's the kids from the band Daemon Familiar and Monday Phile Alum Pete Donnelly. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever!

No comments: