About the Artist

the artist David Zinn seated next to a wooden box of chalk and his first chalk character, Sluggo

David Zinn has been creating original artwork in and around Ann Arbor, Michigan since 1987. For more than twenty years, he freelanced for a wide variety of commercial clients while simultaneously sneaking “pointless” art into the world at large.

His professional commissions included theatrical posters, business logos, educational cartoons, landfill murals, environmental superheroes, corporate allegories and hand-painted dump trucks. Meanwhile, he indulged his personal creativity using bar coasters, restaurant placemats, cake icing, and snow.

Now, thanks to the temptations of a box of sidewalk chalk on an unusually sunny day, Mr. Zinn is known all over the world for the art he creates under his feet. David’s temporary street drawings are composed entirely of chalk, charcoal and found objects, and are always improvised on location through a process known (to almost no one) as "ephemeral pareidolic anamorphosis." 

Most of his creatures appear on sidewalks in Michigan, but many have surfaced as far away as beaches in California, village squares in Sweden and street corners in Taiwan. He has achieved global notoriety and millions of followers through sharing of his images on FacebookInstagram, TikTok, CBS Mornings and BBC News, and his TEDx Talk (Avoiding Blank Canvases: Street Art and the Earless Mickey) has received more than 42,000 views on YouTube.

David Zinn drawing 3D hole illusion on sidewalk
His most enduring characters are Sluggo (a bright green monster with stalk eyes and irreverent habits) Philomena (a phlegmatic flying pig), and Nadine (a mouse of adventure), but the diversity of Mr. Zinn's menagerie is limited only by the size of the sidewalk and the spirit of the day.