Los Angeles-based artist Tracy Lee Stum and assistant show off their finished product at the 2012 Victoria International Chalk Art Festival at the Bay Centre in 2012.

Los Angeles-based artist Tracy Lee Stum and assistant show off their finished product at the 2012 Victoria International Chalk Art Festival at the Bay Centre in 2012.

James Bay artist gets chalky

Ken Winchester, a James Bay resident and owner of Niagara Grocery, sure has a way with words.

Ken Winchester sure has a way with words.

Every week for the last six years, the James Bay resident and co-owner of Niagara Grocery has come up with a catchy phrase or pun to go along with a picture that he draws out of chalk on a sandwich board outside the store to entice people to come in.

“I realized that if I do something fun and make a pun, people would smile and come into the store,” Winchester said. “It became one pun after another. Simple messages, not controversial.”

When the store started carrying local free range meat, he drew a picture of a burger and wrote “Burger She Wrote.” In another phrase, he said “When did my wild oats turn into gran flakes?” At one point, he also paraphrased Shakespeare, saying “I come to seize your berries, not to praise them.”

“The word I would use to describe it is ephemeral, temporary. It’s like a concert — you really enjoy the music in the moment and then it’s gone,” said Winchester about his love for chalk art. “Unlike a painting or water colours, you walk around and enjoy the art and in a couple of days it’s washed away. That’s kind of what’s cool about it.”

The chalkboard has received a lot of praise over the years from residents enjoying the puns and drawings. It even caught the attention of John Vickers, the executive director of the Victoria International Chalk Art Festival Society.

“The chalkboard had some great artistic skills on display and someone had mentioned Ken’s prowess with chalk to me and thought he would be a good contribution to the festival,” Vickers said. “He’s one of the most positive people you will ever meet.”

For the past four years, Winchester has participated at the Victoria International Chalk Art Festival, often drawing farm scenes to encourage people to eat fresh and eat local.

This year, Winchester will have a designated eight by 10 foot piece of asphalt to draw on, adding he will likely draw a scene involving a tractor.

But spending two, eight-hour days on your hands on knees gets tiring. The lesson he’s learned from previous years: bring gloves, knee pads and lots of chalk.

“With chalk art, you get down on your hands and knees. It’s very physical. You focus on a square footage at the time and then move on, and after eight or 10 hours you stand up and look back and you have this small work of art,” Winchester said.

Winchester will join more than 30 other 2D and 3D chalk artists from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico as part of the festival from Sept. 12 to 13 along Government Street and at the Bay Centre.

For more information visit victoriachalkfestival.com.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after cancellations on Friday due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich police seek suspect after woman nearly robbed while getting out of vehicle

Incident occurred before 7 a.m. Feb. 17 in parking lot off Cordova Bay Road

Saskatoon resident liajah Pidskalny poses with his bike near the University of Victoria after putting on thousands of kilometres to raise awareness of the overdose and mental health crisis. (Courtesy Iliajah Pidskalny)
Saskatoon cyclist winds up mental health and overdose awareness ride in Victoria

Iliajah Pidskalny braves prairie winter conditions to get word out to communities

Gabriel Swift, 23, is one of three Victoria filmmakers chosen to receive $20,000 Telus Storyhive grants to produce Local Heroes documentaries. (Courtesy of Gabriel Swift)
Three Victoria filmmakers producing ‘local heroes’ documentaries with $20,000 grants

Telus Storyhive providing $20,000 to 40 Western Canada productions

Goldstream Food Bank president Gayle Ireland is the Goldstream Gazette’s 2021 Local Hero as Community Volunteer of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Two-week stint at Goldstream Food Bank turns into 35 years of volunteer service

Goldstream Food Bank’s Gayle Ireland is the 2021 Community Volunteer of the Year

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Most Read