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3D street art legend gives Jenny pre-event boost in Italy

BY Page One Public Relations | 15-Aug-2012
Melbourne artist Jenny McCracken, previous winner of Parramatta’s popular Chalk Urban Art Festival, has received the ultimate boost before she competes for Australia in the ‘Olympics’ of street painting in Italy in the early hours of tomorrow (Australian time) – from the inventor and hero of 3D pavement art, Kurt Wenner.

Jenny is taking on the world’s best for the first time in front of 200,000 people, representing her country at the historic 40th anniversary of the world’s oldest street painting festival at Grazie di Curtatone in Lombardy, about 130km southeast of Milan.

Jenny, who will have less than 18 hours to produce an artwork which must follow the theme of the original Madonnari and be a religious subject, is also being accompanied by a film crew who will make a documentary of her journey to be screened in Australia and worldwide in 2013.

And as she prepares her pastels and pavement area for the competition, which starts tomorrow morning at 1am (Australian time), legend Wenner has offered his support on this historic occasion.

“This is a great opportunity both for an Australian to have a presence at the festival and to bring that experience back to Australia,” Wenner said.

“Jenny will enter a world that never fails to amaze people, regardless of how much experience they have had with pavement art.

“Giving Australian street painting a stronger link to the culture and history of the art form will certainly be helpful for its future.

“It is always easier to introduce the pavement art to a new public when they can see for themselves the roots it has in European history. I wish Jenny all the best.”

With Jenny on the trip will be Chalk Urban Art Festival founder and director Andi Mether, and filmmakers Claire Balart and Shaun Flaherty.

The documentary will also be edited by Rodrigo Balart, who is currently working on Oscar-winning director James Cameron’s latest project – Deep Sea Challenge.

Wenner also had praise for Mether, describing her as an inspirational figure in Australia for promoting street painting in this part of the world, and that Jenny’s journey would not be taking place without her.

“I have known Andi for many years now. She has the tenacity needed for creating any sort of art event and is able to follow through on projects,” he said.

“This has been very important for street painting, because it was a developing art form in Australia “Among presenters, there are some who use pavement art as a vehicle for fundraising and are less concerned about the artistic quality of the event.

“Andi has consistently shown respect for the quality as well, which bodes well for the future of the festival and street art in Australia.”

Jenny has competed, won and headlined many festivals around the world, but this will be her first time at Grazie di Curtatone, where the story of pavement art began.

“I’ll be competing for Australian artists to be recognised among the best,” she said, speaking from Italy. “If I manage to achieve the title of Madonnari, I will be the first Australian to hold it.

“It's really amazing to finally be here in Grazie, the Mecca of pavement art. The pressure is definitely on, and despite the jet lag, I'm really feeling the effects of excitement.

“I feel like all of my past work has been leading me here, and to be finally participating in this iconic festival is an extraordinary experience.

“It's amazing seeing all the artists from all over the world lining up to register – there’s 146 of us in total, and I can’t wait to meet them all.

“It's a great opportunity to meet and mix with artists from all over Europe, the States, Mexico, Japan and more, but first I have to finish my preparations and make sure I do my best for Australia.”

Jenny said the filmmaking team was also excited when Wenner agreed to be part of the documentary.

“Kurt has always been a key inspiration for me. He is credited as the inventor of 3D pavement art, and it was the creative genius of his work which first lifted the profile and influence of pavement art to the world's attention. Kurt was also very influential in Chalk Urban Art Festival starting in Australia,” she said

.

“We hope the documentary will be screened next year on television, across Australia and the rest of the world.”

Andi said that the hugely successful and long-running Chalk Urban Art Festival, which is usually held annually in Parramatta, Sydney, would be taking a sabbatical this year due to the Italy trip and making the documentary.

“After seven years and 10 festivals, we’ve decided to take a break to step back and network, recharge the batteries, and bring fresh ideas to the streets in 2013,” she said.

“I’m most excited about the documentary we’re making about our journey.

“We’ll be looking at how the art of street painting has developed, we’ll follow Jenny’s progress, and interview many colourful personalities along the way.”

The major sponsor for the project is Forming Circles, a unique Australian organisation that is committed to providing positive outcomes for Australian individuals and groups, while the patron is Mrs C. Norman, a strong supporter of emerging artists and Chalk Urban Art Festival for a number of years.