For this post, I thought it would be interesting and slightly challenging to create a different kind of virtual exhibit. An exhibit of works created in the modern era, but not on traditional canvas or paper. This virtual exhibit will focus on the fantastic and widely popular tromp-l’oeil street painting styles of two of its most influential and famous artists, Julian Beever and Kurt Wenner. Not only do the works shown below show off the different street illusions created by these artists, but they represent a spectacle of being able to watch an artist work publically to create his work, as well as participate and sometimes be a part of the work itself. These six works also show off a kind of melding of the old and new styles of visual arts, sometimes exhibiting traits and imagery of work created centuries earlier, but putting a new spin on them.
We’ll first start with the works of Julian Beever. He started to learn more about street art working on the Punch and Judy Show in York, watching many other artists create works on the pavement (Julian Beever Interview). Since then, Beever has spent over twenty years creating works across the globe, sometimes successfully, but with the occasional hiccup with working out in the public, where officials sometimes put a stop to his work before he can finish.
This most frustrating thing about trying to keep a record of some of Beever’s (and for the most part, any street artist’s) works is that it’s sometimes hard to find where exactly these works were created. Fish Supper was most likely created in Belgium in 2008. We see, of course, the anamorphic style in full effect, with what looks like Julian himself sitting on the “beach”, watching the bird and water. It’s a very tranquil piece, calming, reminiscent of some Impressionism styles from the late 1800’s. With the angle, it looks almost lifelike, with reflections off the water, which don’t quite match up with the scene above, but that’s the beauty of the piece. Look closely for long enough and you’ll believe the palm tree was actually there.
Feeding the Fish shows, again, both Beever’s love of blending reality with his fictional works, as well as public participation. The little girl sits on the lily pad, feeding the fish, which swim in what appear to be in a pond that has dropped into the pavement seamlessly.
Finally, we come to one of Beever’s several more lighthearted works, Swimming-Pool, created in Glascow, Scotland. The attention to detail of some of the objects in the work could make some wonder whether the coke bottle and can with straw at the bottom left are actually just placed there and not in the work. This also proves how much work and thought must go into producing such a piece of street art. In fact, just look at the leg of the swimmer from a different angle.
Now we move to the works of Kurt Wenner, born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. While he is now best known for his anamorphic street pieces, he originally worked for NASA as an advanced scientific space illustrator, before leaving for Italy to study classical art, a theme that is exhibited in most of his pieces (Stunning 3D Designbeep).
Babel shows off anamorphic perspective at its finest. With the most intricate detail, Wenner provides a stunning display of falling bodies towards the endless bottom of the marble columns. Even above the open chasm, the details help to create a most startling creation of bricks being thrown aside and skewed as the hole opens.
Cocito was created during the Chalk It Up Festival in Pasadena, Californioa, and is probably Wenner’s most disturbing and dramatic work. In the picture, we can see how important audience participation and observation is important to some of these works, as some of the audience is posed on the frozen blocks for the photo. Again, Wenner’s fascination with classical works and their style is exhibited here perfectly, with classical interpretations of bodies, frozen with icicles drawn with startling detail.
The last work presented here doesn’t quite show off any aspects of anamorphic perspective in the most direct sense, but the sheer amount of effort that Wenner puts in to replicate The Last Judgement onto the pavement surrounded by hundreds of onlookers is utterly baffling. Even from such a height from which the work is photographed you can see how much detail Wenner puts into its replication. It, along with the two previous works from Wenner, perfectly show how the artist is melding the old visual art values of centuries ago with the new modern values of today.
“Julian Beever Interview – A Moment with the Pavement Picasso” BlowtheScene.com. Blow The Scene. Web. 19 Apr 2011.
“Stunning 3D Street Art From Kurt Wenner” Designbeep. Designbeep. Web. 19 Apr 2011.