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Art on the edge
Street art has always fascinated me. There is an intense beauty in art that is unmotivated by success or social advancement and recognition.
Now tagging your pseudonym on a wall of a house or statue can hardly be called art, this is more of an act of pointless vandalism than anything else really. It’s like doodling in somebody else’s notebook. The motivation that drives a true street artist is usually one of two things.
Either the artist wants to make the streets of his/hers town more alive and beautiful or wants to send a message (sometimes it’s both). Noble goals as they may be it is dangerous work since the authorities of most countries see these people as common vandals.
Regardless of these hardships and restrictions street art has evolved and is now an accepted art form. Not surprising when we take into account the breathtaking beauty of their work which even the untrained eye can perceive as something that really takes talent and hard work to achieve.
Illusions on your pavement
Street art has evolved so much that today we have something called Illusion street art or 3D street art. It is done using chalk, pastels and spray paint by extremely skilled artists and takes a lot of planning and creativity. Usually these pieces are done pro bono and have become attractions for tourists and locals regardless of the cities they sprout in.
Of course in recent years a lot of commercial work has been done in the form advertisement or work ordered by city officials that were interested in having an attraction of this type in their city. Being a street artist today is a valid carrier choice so the need to be unique has risen thus contributing to the progress of the genre.
The man who pioneered this is art form is Kurt Wenner, a master artist and master architect who invented and introduced this technique to the world.
Drawing his inspiration from anamorphic perception he invented a new geometry to suit his need and thus 3D pavement art was created. He is also the founder of the first street art festival called I Maddonari which continues to live even today.
Wenner was awarded the Kennedy Center Medallion for his work in educating young artists. By taking a month of every year for ten years and dedicating himself to teaching he passed on some of his knowledge to over 100.000 students of all levels. Today Wenner works around the world and his art is famous around the world. Here are a few samples of his work:
The next famous 3D pavement chalk artist we’re going to talk about is Julian Beever. Julian Beever is an artist originating from the UK. He got his art degree at Leeds Met and started doing 3D pavement art in the 1990s.
Also known as the “Pavement Picasso”, Beever started getting recognition in the 2000s and has since worked in 28 different countries. As inspiration can strike at any moment, the artist himself tells us how he got the idea to start doing 3D art:
“I got started when I was in a pedestrian street in Brussels where an old garden had been removed. This left an unusual rectangle of paving slabs which gave me the idea to convert this into a drawn swimming pool in the middle of the high street! It worked so well I tried other variations such as a well with people falling in. I soon realized that if you could make things appear to go into the pavement you could equally make them appear to stand out of it.”
Julian Beever first does his work on paper and then uses a camera to accurately assess the perspective and thus create a high quality illusion. Here is some of the work he has done:
Manfred Stader studied at the famous Städel Artschool in Frankfurt and at about that time he started getting interested in street art. He is a proud holder of the title of Master Madonnaro awarded at the world’s greatest street art competition in Grazie di Curtatone in Italy.
His interactive street artworks are the things that make him stand out amongst 3D chalk artists. So not only does his work create the illusion of being three-dimensional, it also leaves a place for a passerby to stand in and create the illusion of him being a part of the scenario. Here is how this looks like: