Fayette County

EKU student’s chalk mural of Pokémon characters grabs attention

Joe Alcorn took photos Wednesday of Wylie Caudill’s chalk art on a wall on the Martin Luther King Boulevard viaduct just off East Main Street in Lexington. Artist Wylie Caudill created the Pokemon mural over the weekend.
Joe Alcorn took photos Wednesday of Wylie Caudill’s chalk art on a wall on the Martin Luther King Boulevard viaduct just off East Main Street in Lexington. Artist Wylie Caudill created the Pokemon mural over the weekend. cbertram@herald-leader.com

Downtown Lexington is home to several murals and art installations, but the colorful depiction of Abraham Lincoln will have some competition for photo ops with the arrival of several curious creatures at the corner of East Main Street and Martin Luther King Blvd.

A chalk mural of 12 characters from the Pokémon franchise was completed Monday by EKU sophomore Wylie Caudill and quickly caught the attention of passers-by. Someone who works nearby posted photos of Caudill and his drawings to a popular Pokémon group on the social media site Reddit, which also sparked interest in the street art.

“I was really surprised to see how much people liked it,” Caudill said. “Some of the comments were really great.”

One of the Reddit users recognized Caudill from his art around EKU and thanked him for his drawings.

“Oh hey, you go to my school,” said the user, who goes by holycowpinkmilk on Reddit. “Thanks for always making my day better!”

After the mural was finished, Caudill posted a final version to the Pokémon-themed group on Reddit with a caption playing off of the lyrics to Beyonce’s hit song Formation. He said he was amused to see that several users continued the joke by incorporating puns into the lyrics based on the popular series.

Caudill said he was glad to see people having fun because of his art. Connecting with people over something fun was part of the point for the Cynthiana artist who first started chalk art last fall out of boredom and an over-abundance of chalk.

“I’m kind of nostalgic and this is something I love,” Caudill said. “It’s something I wanted to share with people.”

The mural, which features new characters to be launched in Nintendo’s latest release of the Pokémon franchise, Pokémon Sun and Moon, was supposed to include all of the main characters from the games. After six hours in the sun, Caudill decided to call it a day before drawing the remaining nine characters.

“I have this technique where I use my hands to smooth out the chalk in order to give it texture but after my fingers started peeling, I had to call it quits,” Caudill said.

Not everyone was amused with the art and one user from Reddit, who goes by Atim03, claimed in a comment that Caudill was committing vandalism. After an argument that spanned several hours, the comments were removed.

“Technically, it’s probably vandalism because I didn’t ask to do it, but it’s chalk so it washes off,” Caudill said

The few negative remarks haven’t caused him to second-guess his approach to art.

Caudill said that he will be back in Lexington Friday to “chalk” during the monthly pop-up festival, Night Market, at the 700 block of Bryan Ave. Organized by the North Limestone Community Development Corporation, Night Market is a platform for neighborhood businesses and artists held on the first Friday of every month from April to December.

“After the response I got, I’ll be back,” Caudill said.

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