Since 1987, self-taught artist David Zinn‘s playful chalk drawings have been popping up around Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In his “Lost and Unfounded” street art series, he creates playful characters and temporary illustrations on the fly using chalk, charcoal, and found objects.
Zinn told Business Insider that he chooses locations that are either unimpressive or easily ignored (cracks, curbs, or pipe covers), and invents interesting ways to incorporate his imaginary friends into the landscape.
The majority of his work is a playful trompe-l’œil effect that uses the surroundings to make the cartoons appear 3D and as if they’re coming to life.
The creatures that show up most often in his work are a green monster named “Sluggo” and a flying pig named “Philomena.” All of Zinn’s drawings usually feature some sort of cartoon animal and are a big hit with the children in Ann Arbor.
“Philomena was first requested by a young girl I met while drawing in front of a market,” Zinn told Business Insider. “Since then, I have found that flying pigs have a strong positive effect on many people.”
“I think it’s because the phrase ‘that will happen when pigs fly’ is such an inherently glum and discouraging phrase, and so any demonstration of porcine aviation is seen as a symbol of encouragement,” he added.
Sluggo, the green monster, was inspired by a series and cracks in the sidewalks and now shows up in drawings, “whenever he feels like it.”
As for using chalk as his medium, Zinn enjoys the freedom that comes from the fact that his drawings are ephemeral.
“Knowing that the art will wash away in the rain makes it easier to enjoy the process of creating it,” Zinn told us. “There is nothing that needs to be framed or sold or stored away after the drawing is done, and very little planning beforehand to make the art suitable as a permanent presence in the community.”
“Since the installations are so fleeting, the experience of seeing one in real life is both more surprising and more exceptional,” he said.
For more of David Zinn’s work you can check out his Facebook page, and keep scrolling to see more of our favourite designs.
A fish peeks out from its shallow basin in the sidewalk.
An octopus climbs out of an imaginary pool as people walk by.
A rabbit looks forlornly out of its window in the brick wall.
A cat wails against its imaginary imprisonment as a mouse sits guard.
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