Designs surprise relatives
By Bert Lehman
Amanda Baranczyk likes to surprise relatives with sidewalk chalk drawings.
Steve and Laurie Zehren, of Clintonville, were the lucky relatives who Baranczyk surprised last week.
“Even though most of my family is from the Fox Cities, I have a couple of family members here in Clintonville,” Baranczyk said. “This is actually my second time chalking in Clintonville. They just don’t know when it’s going to happen.”
Baranczyk, Neenah, said she started doing chalk drawings about two years ago.
“I’m an artist and I like to do many different things,” she said. “One of my favorite things to do is chalking on the sidewalk. Chalking was never really such a big thing for me until I was walking down the aisle of a grocery store one day and I saw a box of chalk that had black in it. I had never seen a box of chalk with black in it. I realized when I saw that that what I could do with that was limitless because you can create all kinds of shadowing and shading where you couldn’t otherwise.”
He first chalk drawing was of the cartoon character Mario jumping out of a wall. She created that drawing for her son.
“Then it turned into a bunch of different cartoons,” Baranczyk said. “That turned into me advertising to my family [to surprise chalk them].”
Baranczyk said relatives let her know that they would like a chalk drawing on their sidewalk. From there, Baranczyk creates a design, but doesn’t let the relatives know when she will create the design on their sidewalk.
“They get super excited,” Baranczyk said. “My favorite thing about this is that it’s a way to make people feel special and it’s a way of spreading humanity through art. I just love doing that. I’ve always done my art to please other people This is the best way I’ve come up with so far.”
Laurie Zehren said Baranczyk had asked for volunteers over a year ago, to allow her to practice for a chalk drawing competition in Appleton.
“I actually have an art competition coming up this week,” Baranczyk said. “This is good practice for the big competition. There’s not really any big money or anything involved. It’s a fun way to get my art out there.”
For Laurie Zehren, it was an easy decision to allow Baranczyk to do chalk drawings on their sidewalk.
“We willingly accepted her artistic abilities to adorn our walkway and give her practice. Last year she placed second in the competition. She also chalked Carol and Dan Bouchette’s sidewalk last year.”
Baranczyk said Laurie sent her a photograph on Facebook of what she wanted the chalk drawing to look like.
“I told her I’d make sure she was next on my list and I would see about doing a similar version,” Baranczyk said. “I did a quick sketch of it from the picture I saw on Facebook. I use these ideas to turn them into something just a little bit more.”
Baranczyk said she usually spends two to three hours per chalk drawing. The time is well worth it.
“We were surprised that she drove all the way to Clintonville, and love the work,” Laurie Zehren said. “Amanda is so gifted with talent.”