David Zinn is a professional chalk artist from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Who’s on a mission to show that you don’t need fancy equipment to draw. His work has appeared on subway platforms in Manhattan, village squares in Sweden and street corners in Taiwan.

He is well-known for his “ephemeral art,” created on the streets and composed entirely of chalk, charcoal, and random objects found on the premises. Cracks, holes, and small grooves are enough for Zinn to notice the figures they suggest and that’s where he gets most of his inspiration from; his work is done on the go.

Another interesting fact is that David has been drawing since 1987, making various quirky chalk-and-charcoal creatures in site-specific areas that helped the drawings wash away with the rain. As of now, the artist has become known worldwide and his work alone has gained him over 384k followers on Instagram and 458k followers on Facebook.

We know you are pretty excited to see his work. You can scroll down to have a look.


David Zinn takes a playful approach to drawing and his work, and the artist has even had his work featured in the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) back in 2018, where he worked on a “path” that went through outdoor spaces, letting the museum visitors explore and wander to discover Zinn’s playful creatures and designs that were scattered around.

Given all of that, us reached out to the artist:

“The honest truth about my art is that I am inspired by the absence of perfection as a possibility: between the irregularities of the stained concrete and the limited hours of available daylight outdoors, perfection is blessedly not an option. Instead, there is just the lunatic joy of finding the most satisfying option that exists within those limitations.”


For more than twenty years, Zinn 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, and his less practical creations involved 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.


Most of his creatures appear on sidewalks in Michigan, but many have surfaced as far away as subway platforms in Manhattan, village squares in Sweden, and street corners in Taiwan. His most frequent characters are Sluggo (a bright green monster with stalk eyes and irreverent habits) and Philomena (a phlegmatic flying pig), but the diversity of David’s work and characters seems to be limited only by the size of the sidewalk and the overall spirit of the day.



While many artists were forced to cancel their plans due to the epidemic, Zinn’s outdoor public art in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has enabled him to continue his work. He’s utilized his local area as a huge “canvas” for his work, locating spots where his characters may relax and take in the scenery. However, some of his most striking works include the earth and another item. Leaves poking out from between the bricks provide wings for one of his recurrent characters, a mouse called Nadine.