A couple of weeks ago I was making my way up the High Street on an exceedingly gray morning when I saw this in front of me:
This chalk mandala, both beautiful and ephemeral, cheered me up considerably. I snapped a quick photo, and posted it up on the Normal For Glastonbury Facebook Page. Thanks to the 67 shares it received it reached over 20,000 people in a couple of days, and over 570 of them ‘liked’ it. The comments were all very appreciative, with one person saying “Where there is beauty there is magic!”. I’m guessing that means this chalk drawing on a pavement in a small Somerset town had cheered up people all around the world.
I decided to track down the artist and find out why he spends hours on his hands and knees decorating the pavement. I came across him on a sunny Saturday afternoon, he was easy enough to spot as he was wearing kneeling pads and bearing a fistful of coloured chalks. He’s called Gaz, he’s from Newcastle and he very kindly agreed to be videoed. He talked about Glastonbury, reincarnation, spirituality and Intelligent Design. In the background you can hear Strawberry busking. If you come across Gaz making his mandalas do show your appreciation with a few coins in his hat.
By the way, a friend has just pointed out to me that You Tube’s automatic subtitle adding speech recognition thingamijig cannot cope with Gaz’s fairly broad Geordie accent, with quite hilarious results!
For the benefit of visitors I’d like to point out that the scruffy backdrop to this video is the former Crown Hotel, it’s closed at the moment, and a bit of a blot on the landscape in an otherwise thriving and attractive town. It is however due to be revamped and reopened in the not too distant future. Thanks to Gaz’s mandalas I find I don’t really notice it’s peeling facade anymore, I’m too busy admiring the pavement.