Ryan Holmes, also known the the “chalk guy” has made his mark around Lansing.
City Pulse named Holmes as Lansing’s Top Visual Artist Wednesday.
Holmes says he’s been involved in art since he was just 5 years old.
Now he is recognized for his artwork with chalk.
Most Friday nights, you can find Holmes putting his chalk to work at the Tin Can in downtown Lansing. He says he’s been drawing there for 8 years and has done over four hundred pieces there.
“Where my growth has been is, what I did, it started internally as a challenge for myself become something I was inspiring for everybody around me,” said Holmes. “I try to make something that will affect people in a positive way.”
Holmes says drawing at a bar creates a fun environment while he’s working, and he has made friends while doing his art, but is always looking for his next move.
“I’ll always come here, I’ll always do this, but I’m trying to find the next step with that and the next step with chalk in general,” said Holmes.
Holmes’ artwork has evolved from chalkboards to billboards in downtown Lansing.
“Instead of having people in our city or our community go to a museums or art galleries or experience things in that type of culture, I’ve brought that art to them,” said Holmes.
He added that he enjoys the growing conversations about artwork in the city.
“If I was just sitting at home drawing this, like on my couch or just making it for myself yeah it’d be artist expression but art needs viewers, it needs people to have a conversation,” said Holmes.
Cartoons, memorials, movies and celebrities are just a few of the main art topics Holmes sticks to, and says he stays away from doing anything divisive.
He says he’s noticed more local artists coming out and picking up the art.
“There are more local artists in the city that come out more regularly and it’s so great to come in and it’s not just me anymore,” said Holmes.
Overall, Holmes says he loves teaching this art to people. He added he had to learn the skill primarily by himself.
He added that the biggest obstacle people think faces someone who does chalk art would be getting it smudged or erased by someone else, something Holmes says he’s had plenty of experience with.
“Sometimes will erase stuff or smear stuff, I’ve had people get rid of it while I’m drawing it,” said Holmes, “but it doesn’t get to me too much.”
He says it doesn’t bother him as much as people would think, and it’s always another opportunity to draw again.
“I understand that it needs to go away, because if it doesn’t go away, I can’t do more,” said Holmes.