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Look Who’s Chalking: Local Artist Takes Work To Riverside Park

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Examples of Brune's artwork in Riverside Park. (credit: Jesse Zanger/CBS New York)

Examples of Brune’s artwork in Riverside Park. (credit: Jesse Zanger/CBS New York)

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By Carly Sitzer

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Like many talented artists, Isaac Brune started young. He began drawing when he was a 5-year-old, and has since taken several art classes and displayed his work in two small galleries.

These days, however, Brune uses a bigger canvas and a much bigger gallery: He creates chalk art in Riverside Park for the entire city to see.

He began creating chalk art last summer during a difficult time in his life, he explained. Brune turned to chalk art after being inspired by the young children using chalk to decorate the sidewalk.

PHOTOS: Chalk Art By Local Artist Isaac Brune

“In the summer of 2010, I was going through a lot of personal issues and needed an escape from what I saw in my life as turmoil,” he said. His inspiration changed, once he saw a positive reaction from the park’s guests. “I started this project last year for my own purpose and after seeing the positive response from people walking by, I decided to do it for them instead.”

See Also: NYC’s Best Little-Known Parks

If you’ve been in the park this summer, you may have seen Brune’s art—the simple cartoons with simple message—lining the pavement.

isaac brune Look Whos Chalking: Local Artist Takes Work To Riverside Park

(credit: Jesse Zanger/CBS New York)

“The characters I chose were very simple ‘blob’-like creatures” he said. “My aim was not to create beautiful pictures, but rather to express the thoughts in my mind in the one place I found true comfort.”

Brune’s art, which he described as “all over the place,” is inspired by the work of artists like Jim Mahfood, David Choe and the late Keith Haring, who began his career as a street artist using chalk.

Since Haring’s work with chalk, there have been many debates about the artistic value and legality of street art.

In New York City, the law is unclear whether or not chalk art is vandalism—which was best demonstrated by the case of Ellis Gallagher, a sidewalk chalk artist who was arrested although laws didn’t specifically include the sidewalk or chalk.

Although the definition of vandalism in the Gallagher case may have been a matter of materials, Brune believes that it is a matter of message.

“What makes vandalism is the thought behind the art,” he said. “I am not doing chalk art to defy a system or to make my name known to the world of artists. I do chalk art because the people who walk past it enjoy seeing it, I do it because it is my form of expression and it doesn’t hurt anyone. I do chalk art because the thoughts of mine that I write down tend to make people think in a different perspective.”

isaac brune 4 Look Whos Chalking: Local Artist Takes Work To Riverside Park

(credit: Jesse Zanger/CBS New York)

For now, Brune is expanding his art education by learning graphic design, while still creating art that will give someone a new prospective and, hopefully, a smile.

“My future art works will be done in the same fashion as I do them now, filled with the freedom of thought and happiness,” he said. “The future I want for my art is for people to see it anywhere and smile and live a happy life.”

Additionally, Brune wants to remind younger artists that creating art is not only about pleasing the audience, but also about making yourself happy as well.

“Never stop doing what you love,” he said. “Be creative in your own way, be creative in the way that makes you happy and because of it your life will be filled with joy and greatness.”

What do you make of Brune’s art? Should there be more street art in the city? Sound off in our comments section.

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