With chalk in hand Eli Childers leaves messages of hope throughout Jackson.
All moments in life are temporary, even the beautiful ones.
Local artist Eli Childers has designed an entire movement around this idea through his chalk art designs, which are also fleeting.
Childers has created art throughout his whole life, but it wasn’t until 2013 that he began to devote more time to it after he lost a job.
“I went through this identity crisis of where I had attached so much of my identity to what I did. It was kind of an awakening, like, ‘What do I do now?’” he said.
Art helped him through that time, as he worked through those emotions by getting them out onto paper or canvas.
“I felt really connected to the purpose that art can really bring light to people’s lives,” Childers said. “I really started seeing artwork as a way to ground my emotions and what I was feeling and really have been consistently doing it over the last five to six years.”
He began to look for opportunities to create and make an impact in his community.
Now, residents can see Childers’ fingerprints all over the city of Jackson and surrounding areas, as he leaves behind a message of hope and positivity with each mural.
Over the last couple of years, however, his focus has shifted a bit to include some pieces that won’t last. In fact, a sudden rainstorm could take out some of his latest works.
Childers has begun working with chalk and has organized an event in October to showcase his work and that of other local artists. Their canvas? The sidewalk. Their medium? Chalk.
Back in May, he was hit with the inspiration of leaving these works of art across the city to drop a bit of positivity into others’ days in the most unlikely of places. Sidewalks and parking lots typically go unnoticed as passersby walk along.
Childers’ art draws the eye to find beauty in the ordinary.
“People in the city, if they’re walking to get lunch or do business, they can see something positive and maybe just feel good where they are and just have a moment of brevity and inspiration,” he said.
The event, which has been in the works for the last four months, will be held October 17 in partnership with the Mississippi Museum of Art Third Thursday. It will begin at 5:30 p.m. and run until about 8:30 p.m.
Artists will be around Lamar Street, around the Planetarium and all along the sidewalk downtown towards Thalia Mara.
“There will be various artists doing chalk designs along that path leading to Thalia Mara,” Childers said.
There will also be a designated space for those who attend to make their own creations.
Leading up to the event, Childers has created chalk art pieces across the Jackson metro to give residents a taste of what the event is about.
“I like the impermanence of chalk,” he said. “I think it relates directly to life. Just creating beauty. We’re beautiful, and then we’re gone. It’s a very connected experience between the artwork and how I feel personally.”
Childers draws most of his inspiration from people who have withstood tough moments and still have hope and don’t give up.
“Nature and emotions and joy inspire me,” Childers said. “My purpose, I feel like, is to stray away from any type of negative imagery. I really just want to focus on the things that make people feel good, because I feel like that’s my purpose.”