Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Miracle of Moses alive in Transcona festival

Large 3D chalk drawing does battle with rain

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Charlie Johnston works on his 4,000-square-foot 3D chalk art drawing.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Charlie Johnston works on his 4,000-square-foot 3D chalk art drawing. Photo Store

Moses parted the Red Sea during the weekend, but this time the Promised Land was a scooter bumper-car ride.

This Moses was part of a 4,000-square-foot 3D chalk artwork produced on the parking lot of a former funeral chapel on Regent Avenue.

And the artwork, being created by local artist Charlie Johnston, was part of the 50th anniversary Hi Neighbour Festival held in Transcona during the weekend.

This on a weekend in which Environment Canada predicted showers at times on Sunday, and the predictions were true.

"Yes, Moses looked a little fuzzy when I got here today (Sunday), and I had to give Moses a tune-up, but he is good as new," Johnston said as he began work on adding a shepherd and his flock to the mural.

"But a really good downpour and it will all be gone. But it's OK because this type of art is meant to be experienced and not possessed."

Transcona resident Teresa Fontaine said she purposely went past the artwork several times through the weekend to see its progress.

"I think it's fabulous," Fontaine said.

"Unless you see it now you won't see it because it will be gone. It's worth seeing it."

Johnston, with his company C5 Artworks, normally plies his trade by painting permanent murals on the sides of buildings here and across North America.

His local murals include the Adam Beach mural on Ellice Avenue, the 14,000-square-foot Layin' Down Tracks alongside the Disraeli Freeway, and the Road to Valour on Valour Road and Ellice Avenue.

Johnston said this temporary artwork, believed to be the largest 3D chalk art drawing piece ever created in Manitoba, was commissioned by the nearby Tabor Baptist Church in Transcona.

Johnston had earlier done a mural on two of the outside walls of the church, one depicting the face of Jesus and the other the face of a worshipper.

"They asked for a piece with a religious theme," he said.

"I wanted a big story so I chose this. If it is good enough for Cecil B. DeMille, then it's good enough for me."

Johnston said he started the mural on Friday and he expected to go through hundreds of pieces of chalk before stopping work on it when the festival ended Sunday at 4 p.m. The chalk and paint he uses are all water-soluble and environmentally friendly.

"No, I won't continue once the festival stops -- this is part of the festival so when it's done I'm done. It's an event piece."

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 9, 2014 A2

History

Updated on Monday, June 9, 2014 at 7:24 AM CDT: Replaces photo

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