When he isn’t working in a health clinic, he’s on his hands and knees holding a piece of chalk.
Matt Allred, an OB-GYN at the Madison Women’s Clinic, began creating chalk art on their family’s driveway about four years ago.
His family had just moved from St. Louis to Rexburg, and they thought it would be fun to draw a giant rainbow on their driveway.
What started off as an afternoon activity eventually turned into nearly 200 hours worth of projects. Since then, Allred has created 17 stunning chalk drawings on his driveway including images inspired by films, holidays and video games.
Initially, he drew for fun, but now he also draws with a bigger purpose.
“During COVID-19, when there were a lot of riots, I wanted to send more of a message of hope and also that of rising up, so I did a chalk art of a phoenix to encourage people to rise above all that was happening,” Allred said.
His most recent piece is an image of Jesus Christ’s tomb with the words, “He is not here: For He is risen.”
As Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ, Allred felt inspired to share the light of Christ through his artistic talent.
“I believe in Jesus Christ and the resurrection, and I think it’s a message of hope; it’s a message of belief that there is a Savior and there is a Redeemer,” Allred said. “No matter what, we have that hope to hang on to.”
Allred begins by dividing an image into nine squares with a carpenter chalk line on the driveway. After tracing the outline of his image, he begins drawing section by section.
On average, each piece takes him about 12 to 14 hours to complete and remains for about one week.
In previous years, Allred posted his chalk drawings on an Instagram account. However, he realized he was too focused on likes and comments rather than the process of creating, so he deleted the account.
“It was getting to the point where I was just so involved in how many people were ‘liking,’ and I realized it was a habit I didn’t want to have, so I got rid of it,” Allred explained. “It gets too hard to do it for the right reason.”
Allred doesn’t create chalk art for social media. He creates for himself and to inspire others. He expresses himself through his art as a way to treat his mental health and relax his mind.
Another main reason he continues to draw these masterpieces is to show the world you can do anything.
“It’s very easy to get into some sense on complacency of saying, ‘Wow, that’s so cool … I could never do that,'” Allred said. “That is one thing I never want to accept.”
He encourages everyone to simply give things a try. While trying something new comes with failure, it also brings learning and growth. He made many mistakes as he started chalk drawing, but those mistakes led him to where he is now.
During the winter, when his driveway was covered in snow, Allred found a new way to use his creativity. Last winter, he built three colorful igloos in his backyard, including a seven-foot-tall one where they had a small New Year’s Eve dance party. It took him about 80 hours to complete, but he didn’t give up.
Allred plans to continue building igloos in the winter and drawing chalk images in the summer while inspiring hope and encouraging others.