[slideshow_deploy id=’4281′] (Photos by Ryan Ho and Shriya Nadgauda)
Junior Dominic Stephen kneels on a piece of cardboard, yellow chalk in hand. His legs, arms, face and clothes are covered in a rainbow of chalk.
Stephen worked for almost seven hours on Friday, Oct. 18, to complete his square in the annual Chalk Mural.
Every year, Country Day’s National Arts Honor Society (NAHS) chooses an artist to feature. Art students recreate pieces of the artist’s work in chalk on the sidewalk in front of the high school. Advanced art students known as “squaremasters” take charge of each chalk “painting.”
The work of Gregory Kondos, a local artist, was showcased in this year’s mural.
Students were more apprehensive this time because Kondos came to observe their work.
“I wonder what he will think about it. Will he like the Chalk Mural or will he be judgmental?” senior Abigail Pantoja said.
While they were anxious, most students were also thrilled at the opportunity to meet Kondos.
Senior Cissy Shi said she hoped that Kondos would give students feedback on how they could improve their work and what their strong points were.
Kondos arrived around 2 p.m, when the mural was almost complete. His wife, Moni, stepping out of the car, immediately noticed the first square and said, “What a beautiful caique!”
Kondos later approached junior squaremaster Melissa Vazquez about the history behind the caique, the boat that she was reproducing. He told her that he had actually painted a real caique and that the painting was inspired by that.
Kondos and his wife observed each of the squares. “Make sure you put the accents on the trees,” he said as he walked by Stephen’s square, which reproduced Kondos’s painting, “Sequoia Trees, Yosemite.”
After looking at the completed mural, Kondos sat at a table to sign posters and cards for students. He talked to each of the squaremasters and told them anecdotes about his work.
Once the squaremasters met Kondos, their fears were put to rest.
“Because I’m Chinese, he talked to me about how he has been to China several times and really likes China,” Shi said.
Kondos’s paintings focus on landscapes, especially those of California. Art teacher Patricia Kelly loves the paintings of California and France, particularly the “blues” in them, she said. (Because Kondos often paints the sky and the ocean, his work has a large variety of shades of blue.)
When observing the Chalk Mural at the end Kondos said, “Seems like they got all the blues right.”