Local artist Abigail Bruce has been creating since she could first draw or write; however, it wasn’t until 2018 that she began working with chalk as a medium. Bruce created her first public chalk piece after a friend contacted her in search of an artist who could “chalk” for an event at Levis Commons. “I said ‘why not?’ and I did a couple of dinosaur drawings. I guess you could say chalk chose me, in a way,” Bruce explains.
Since then, she’s gained recognition as an artist who uses the sidewalk as her canvas. Bruce has been commissioned to create colorful and ornate chalk pieces around the Toledo area, including the Toledo Botanical Gardens, the Momentum Art Fest, the Arts Commission Uptown Green Summer Spectacular and the Schedel Arboretum and Gardens in Elmore.
Bruce describes her artistic style as “bright, colorful and fantastical.” She uses tempera paint, chalk, soft pastels, water and her hands to transform sidewalks into vibrant chalk murals. Some of Bruce’s proudest pieces include an Easter Bunny piece, a 3D yellowjacket and a Pride rainbow. Many of her creations are available to view at her website, abbscraftart.com.
“My favorite subjects are animals or flowers and plants with some abstraction, or pieces with multiple perspectives or hidden meanings. I draw inspiration from my emotions, those around me and nature,” Bruce explains. A self-taught artist, Bruce’s father began teaching her and her brother music theory and how to play the piano around age 2. “I gravitated away from the music arts and toward the visual. It just seemed more natural for me,” she said. Bruce also credited her art teachers at Bowsher High School for sparking her passion for creativity.
Bruce describes artistic expression as a healthy emotional outlet that brings peace in the chaos.
“When I create, it’s like I’m in a trance and nothing can stop it. Whatever I’m feeling or going through comes out in what I create. The stress, worry and grief melt away,” Bruce said. She also loves to see the joy that her art brings other people.
An Artist in Motion
In addition to chalk art, Bruce dabbles in acrylics, watercolors, jewelry, alcohol inks, drawing, fabrics, furniture refurbishment, sculpture and mixed media. She recently completed a mural on the side of a fence surrounding her yard in Perrysburg. The mural, which faces Eckel Junction Road, features bright red poppies, green leaves and yellow jackets. It is a tribute to her late mother and to the City of Perrysburg.