Little green Alien brings a smile to peoples’ faces all over Ann Arbor
Some people might still have their doubts about street art, but the city of Ann Arbor has accepted the idea whole-heartedly thanks to the adorable chalk illustrations of David Zinn. His work features a little green alien called Sluggo, who can be found interacting with other imaginary characters all over the city. Created with chalk, charcoal and found objects, each piece is completely improvised, and has proven to be a huge hit with the local children.
Part of what makes Zinn’s illustrations so special is that they aren’t meant to last forever – rain, snow and street cleaners all pose a threat. In an interview with the Ann Arbor news, he said, “Really it’s pointless, other than hopefully it cheers someone up.” More than that, the art aims to mystify people and shake them out of their usual reality in order to appreciate the moment.
Sluggo can be found marching through double yellow painted lines, tracking yellow foot prints along his way, sitting on tropical islands, fishing in the sidewalk, and attacking leaves with a rake – to name just a few.
His art isn’t just for show either, as there have been times when people decide to make their own changes to the art. On one such occasion, Zinn returned to check on a cute little rainbow-colored alien with a hole in its stomach, and was happy to discover that someone had left a pile of Skittles in the middle of the alien’s belly.
Outside of his chalk art illustrations, and commercial work, Zinn also uses his skills for the greater good. One of his oldest jobs has been illustrating “Waste Watchers” comics included in City of Ann Arbor recycling information. They teach kids about sustainability and new city waste management programs like streamlined recycling bins. “Usually it’s the kids who are explaining these things to the older people anyway. When something new comes along, it’ll be the youngest ones who embrace it when their parents might still be confused,” explains Zinn.
Images by David Zinn