The Good News File: Stepping on inspiration

Albuquerque, NM (KKOB) – When the pandemic began, local artist Maewyn Padilla began using chalk art to relieve stress. “I had filled up my driveway with chalk … and one day I was walking through UNM’s campus and there was so much concrete, it just suited me. It was the perfect place for me to go,” she said while sketching out a life-size cartoon giraffe under a bright blue spring sky one afternoon near Ortega Hall.  For the last two years, Padilla has made a name for herself on the University of New Mexico’s main campus. People recognize her work and have grown used to seeing her quirky characters on their way to school or work. She says she enjoys working in the medium of chalk because it’s temporary. “I really love that idea of creating beauty and happiness in this world that can’t be bought, it’s not a commodity, you know it’s just out there for people to enjoy and nothing else,” she said. Inspired by the video games and cartoons of her childhood, Padilla’s creations look like something out of Roger Rabbit, life-size cartoons popping out of the sidewalk greeting you with a quote that might brighten your day or make you think. “That’s kind of one of my goals too is just to get people to stop for a second when they’re heading to something they maybe don’t want to do. To stop thinking about [themselves] and realize that there are people all around [them] doing amazing things.” 

In the two years since Padilla began chalking, her art’s become a lot more for other people too. A Biology major, Renatta Bennette-Perez, stopped on her way to class to tell us she was a fan. “I think finding things that give you joy is really important, especially during times of pandemic. I think it’s really special what she’s doing and I’m grateful she’s doing it because it brings me joy and I hope it brings other people joy.”  

As the days grow warmer and the sun sets later, Padilla has advice for anyone who might be scared to try something new or to get out of their comfort zone as she did two years ago. “I mean I’m just a mom from Albuquerque you know I have no formal education I have no art education whatsoever, but I stuck to my guns and I’ve gotten so much positive feedback. So, whatever you’re wanting to try, just stick with it and put yourself into it. You never know where it’ll go.”