Uptown Artist Leaves Colorful Chalk Creations On Sidewalks Across The City

UPTOWN — Andrew Rose Vickers wants to put Chicago on the chalk art map.

For years, the Uptown-based artist has left chalk illustrations of animals, popular figures and more around the city — on sidewalks, at festivals and even at the zoo.

Vickers first tried his hand at chalk art casually in college about 10 years ago, when he was studying art at Towson University in Maryland.

“They had these [black chalk] boards where they would have a question of the day. After a while, no one was answering them, so these boards were just left blank,” said Vickers, 33. “Me and five other artists just decided, ‘Alright, we might as well just start putting artwork up there.’ That really got me into it.”

Credit: Leen Yassine/Block Club Chicago
Uptown-based chalk artist Andrew Rose Vickers draws a duck on the sidewalk outside of Dollop Coffee Co., 4181 N. Clarendon Ave., on Sept. 24, 2023.
Credit: Leen Yassine/Block Club Chicago
A chalk drawing of a shark by Andrew Rose Vickers at Buena Circle Park, 1049 W. Buena Ave.

Vickers rediscovered the outside medium in 2019 and has been dedicated to honing his chalk skills ever since. He said he was inspired by fellow artists who were working on chalk projects, especially his friends Lakey and Rodd Quinn.

Vickers started inviting Lakey, Quinn and others to create chalk art with him across the city. This casual chalk art group has since grown to approximately 60 members, including artists from other states and Canada who tag along whenever they visit, Vickers said.

“It sort of snowballed, and more people wanted to do it with me,” Vickers said. “And here it is today.”

The group usually meets weekly to create chalk art in different parts of the city. Attendees can work on solo or collaborative pieces side by side. Vickers organizes meetups through the summer and for as long as weather permits, which is usually until November, he said.

Vickers encourages people of all ages and skill levels to join the group, including children and people who have never drawn with chalk before.

People can find information about group meetups, browse Vickers’ creations and learn more about chalk art by following and messaging him on social media. He goes by the moniker Andrew the Rose Artist on TikTok, Instagram and Threads and Andrew Rose Vickers on Facebook.

Vickers recently started posting photos of his art in a neighborhood Facebook group, often with hints of each illustration’s location, like “Located on Windsor” and “Location in uptown, try to find it.” He said he was amazed at how active people are on Facebook, with dozens of neighbors interacting with each post.

“I try to always sort of promote my stuff,” Vickers said. “These days it seems like Instagram and TikTok a little more. But when I started posting on Facebook, I started to have more people reach out to me.”

While Vickers has experience working with a variety of media — acrylic painting, watercolor, drawing and more — chalk has not only become his main focus but also the kind of art he is most known for, especially during the warmer months.

Last month, Vickers collaborated with artist collective Paint the City for Chalk Howard Street. His creation featured a tree frog, toucan and manatee amid greenery and a vibrant rainbow background.

Credit: Provided
Andrew Rose Vickers collaborated with artist collective Paint the City to create this animal-inspired chalk artwork at the 2023 Chalk Howard Street.
Credit: Provided
Uptown-based artist Andrew Rose Vickers has been making chalk art around Chicago since 2019.

Vickers said he draws inspiration from a variety of different sources, especially animals and High Renaissance pieces by artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael.

“I have a ton of books on animals,” Vickers said. “I’ve always been sort of fascinated by animals, even growing up. My father worked for the [U.S.] Fish and Wildlife Service, so I got to see a lot of that growing up.”

He describes his art style as “too detailed to be an impressionist, but at the same time, not detailed enough to be a sort of renaissance artist.”

Alongside his personal art endeavors, Vickers works as an art teacher around the city, currently teaching general art classes to students ages 16-21. The class covers everything from acrylic paints to watercolor, chalk to pencil and even graffiti.

Vickers has found his own personal art endeavors often intertwine with his teaching because he’s able to connect his students with other artists and resources in the community.

“I do a lot with the Chicago art scene. A lot of the people who do murals and graffiti and everything, I’m friends with a lot of that community,” Vickers said. “So [my students] are more willing to learn from me.”

Vickers is commissioned for various future events around the area, like the upcoming Lincoln Park Zoo Fall Fest, where he will create themed chalk art at the zoo every Saturday in October.

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Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation. 

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Watch our “On The Block” TV show on The U, CW26 and MeTV.

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