concrete beauty

| 10 Nov 2015 | 01:00

In a school all about art and design — colors and expression aren’t a surprise. And starting last week, the walls of the Fashion Institute of Technology turned colorful and expressive.

“To innovate, you need to make a change,” said Elizabeth Surico, a senior at the Seventh Avenue school. She composed a red flower and multicolored butterfly springing from a blue human head that now decorates the school’s stone walls.

This is the third year the Department of Illustration’s seniors are adorning the school’s outside walls. Chalk FIT, as it’s called, “revealed what FIT is about,” said Dan Shefelman a professor at FIT and a practiced illustrator.

This year’s theme, or rather the first with any theme — innovation — was by students in the hopes of inspiring the community in the same way it inspired their chalk and pastel drawings.

As it would along a busy avenue, the event is getting attention. One student, Raissa Oliveira, choose to recreate the Chloe meme bounding around social media. Chloe is a young girl who gained attention for her ability to produce the pop-culture ‘side eye.’ Her mother, Katie Clem, who runs Chloe’s and her sister Lily’s Instagram account took notice of the Chalk FIT project and shared Oliveira’s art with her 356k followers.

Oliveira took the idea of innovation and put her own on the theme creating art inspired by, “How social media is taking over the world.” Though “Chloe” started out as eye-catching and fun, it became something entirely more powerful when it sprung into cyberspace.

“And I realized how powerful social media really was. Why do they all know her?” Oliveira said.

The overall added attention of social media seems to have increased to students’ enthusiasm.

What originally started out as class assignment by Shefelman has grown into a rite of passage for students, several of them said.

“It grew into this,” student Queenie Huang said. “Because originally it was kind of just us drawing all over the floor and then (Shefelman) made it into an event.”

The event is now been included in Legacy Week at the institute, the school’s homecoming. It’s an opportunity for students to show what Shefelman called “their best work and FIT’s best work.”

The installation will be up until the end of the month.

And as challenging as it could be for students to stand outside all day and paint in front of strangers, Shefelman maintains that nerves evaporate as soon as they start: “First mark, they forget it.”