Artist Tips

Artist Time and Talent

As a Via Colori artist, the act of your creation will be viewed by thousands strolling by.  All you need is your talent to play a part in this seven year-old Houston tradition.  Your work and effort goes to support The Center of Hearing and Speech, which enables children with hearing impairments to learn to read, listen and speak. 

As a Via Colori artist, you will create a work of art using pastels and asphalt as your media.  Environmentally friendly, soap-based pastels are similar to the oil-based pastels many artists are familiar with and will be provided to each artist at the launch of the event.  No other media or material is permitted.

Artists are encouraged to submit preliminary sketches or concepts and are free to create any artwork that complies with two rules:  it must be appropriate for public, family viewing; and no commercial messaging – logos, slogans or spokes-characters – is allowed. Also steer clear from political messages.

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Artist Medium

Via Colori provides each artist with the soap-based pastels needed to create their art at the event.  The amount of pastels provided is adequate to complete your square; however, not all drawings use the same amount of each color.   Consequently, it is likely that some artists will need more of other colors and will have some colors left over.  Some sources where you may find additional pastels at the festival are:

  1. Your neighbor – Ask if he or she would like to trade colors.  Because Via Colori is not a competition, fellow artists are more giving than usual.
  2. Fellow artists – Take a break and walk around a little.  Investigate fellow artists work and if you find someone creating a piece that lacks the color you are in need of, ask if he or she can spare some.  Also, you can offer to trade colors with other artists.  Via Colori is a community effort.
  3. The Used Pastel Box – At the Artist Tent there are boxes of back-up colors for your use. When artists are finished with their work or finished with certain colors, they bring the pieces to the Artist Tent. 

Artist Technique

There are several techniques commonly used to street paint:

  1. Rubbing – Applying the pastel by rubbing the sticks directly onto the pavement is the most traditional method.  The artist has greater control over shading and depth.  Rubbing tends to be hard on the hands, so latex gloves are recommended to protect your hands.  Water is often misted from a spray bottle to help manage the pastels and to fix the image.
  2. Pulverizing – Some artists put sticks of pastels (sometimes of more than one color) into a container and pulverize it with a pestle or a mallet.  The powder is then rubbed into the pavement or sometimes mixed with water and brushed on.  This method provides more color control and more texture in the medium.
  3. Grinding – In a high-tech approach to pulverizing, some artists choose to use electric coffee grinders to turn their pastels into powder.  The powder is then mixed with water to form a paint-like substance which they then brush onto the pavement.  Some festivals discourage this practice because it is too unlike the method used by original street painters, while other artists like the familiarity of a liquid paint.

Artist Supplies and Equipment available in the Artist Village

  • Baby Wipes
  • Kneepads or Garden Kneelers*
  • Piece of Cardboard box (to sit on)
  • Latex Gloves
  • Sunscreen
  • Mini Vac (to collect pastel dust)*
  • Mixing Cups*
  • Baggies
  • Spray Bottle*
  • Sponges*
  • Brushes*
  • Wide-Brimmed Hat*
  • CD/MP3 Players with Earphones ONLY*
  • Trash Bag
  • Tarps to protect from rain/drizzle

*Not provided at the Artist Tent

Please no canopies or umbrellas.  They obstruct the public’s view.

The Artist Tips and Suggestion page is constantly being updated.  Please check back regularly for more tips and information on the upcoming Via Colori Artist Workshop in October.

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The Center for Hearing and Speech

3636 West Dallas
Houston, TX 77019
P 713-523-3633
F 713-523-8399