Memphis artist uses chalk art to prompt more conversations about race

WATCH: Memphis artist uses chalk art to prompt more conversations about race

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One Memphis artist is using street art to start more conversations about race relations in our community.

You may have seen some of these chalk art designs along Main Street.

Memphis artist uses chalk art to prompt more conversations about race
Memphis artist uses chalk art to prompt more conversations about race (Craig Thompson)
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The artist, Craig Thompson, said he was inspired by the protesters who marched throughout downtown this summer.

For health reasons, Thompson said he couldn’t join the marches but he can draw.

Memphis artist uses chalk art to prompt more conversations about race
Memphis artist uses chalk art to prompt more conversations about race (Craig Thompson)

He said each design has a fist and a Bible verse because he believes people of faith need to be a part of this movement.

Thompson said the chalk art has been shared on social media but most importantly, it’s started more conversations about race.

“When I did the first one down here, I had a black family stop, they got out their truck and they thanked me for doing this and we had a great conversation about race and racial relationships,” said Thompson. “And things that I want to start participating in and have those kinds of conversations and the art kind of started it, people are a little bit more at ease when they see a piece of art.”

Memphis artist uses chalk art to prompt more conversations about race
Memphis artist uses chalk art to prompt more conversations about race (Craig Thompson)

He is hopeful these kinds of conversations will continue.

“Sometimes it’s hard to have those conversations especially for someone who is white and doesn’t understand the background and the history but it’s a starting point, and a way to start that conversation,” he said.

Because it’s chalk, the designs only last a few days, but Thompson say one of his mural remained on the street for nine days!

Memphis artist uses chalk art to prompt more conversations about race
Memphis artist uses chalk art to prompt more conversations about race (Craig Thompson)

He said the only challenge has been finding the right colors. Thompson said companies don’t make skin tone colored chalk and he actually uses charcoal for the color black.