Now You’re Chalking: Dad Draws Chalk Art to Amuse Toddler, Ends Up Impressing Dee Why

Dee Why Now You're Chalking
Photo Credit: Now You’re Chalking/Facebook

Sometime during the long lockdowns in mid-2021, Dee Why began to be treated to the chalk artwork of James Maltman, the creative person behind ‘Now Your Chalking.’ James initially drew interesting figures on the boring grey walls and streets outside his unit block to amuse his toddler.

But James also impressed several passersby in his neighbourhood, who enjoyed his creative doodles. This encouraged him to create more chalk artworks around the community and document everything on his Now You’re Chalking Instagram and Facebook accounts, where his followers have grown after a few months.   

The young dad of two decided to do chalk art so he and his toddler, Freddy, could get outside of the house whilst his wife and newborn napped. The worthwhile activity not only bonded father and eldest son together but some of his Dee Why neighbours even ask him to draw their favourite characters. 

The community also did chalk hunts to see where James has done his latest piece.

He also got to collaborate with another local artist for a mural with a distinctive Australian theme for New Year’s.

However, James and his family moved to Kellyville in late January 2022 for his job with a liquor retailer. He still keeps at it with his chalk art movement in The Hills Shire, where he plans to participate in street festival events.

James’ chalk artworks are often washed away when it rains or when the street cleaners do their jobs but heaps of his creations have actually been holding up in Dee Why, where people have been missing his new drawings.

They continue to follow his work on his social media pages.

Across Australia, chalk drawings and messages on the streets have given locals much joy amidst the pandemic stress. In some communities, kids draw chalk artworks together whilst getting a healthy dose of vitamin D outdoors and a mental health boost as they connect with other people without breaching social distancing rules.

Public health expert Lisa Gibbs of the University of Melbourne chalk artworks serve as a coping mechanism during the lockdowns and contribute to the neighbourhood’s beautification. Some of the adults say that creating chalk art is cathartic, beautiful, empowering and joyful — a positive experience all over.