Although wall paintings are literally the earliest accounts in the history of visual arts in human history, as well as some of the most famous, from cave paintings to Roman mosaics to Renaissance murals and everything in between, street art is still a relatively new phenomenon and, due to its often informal and even illegal nature, a still controversial one. Despite this, even traditionally conservative art institutions have become more perceptive to the goings-on of the sort of cultural form that takes place not so much inside the walls of a museum, but on them. Artists like Banksy and graffiti scenes like the ones in Berlin, Paris, San Francisco, New York, Chicago or Los Angeles are becoming household names and are beginning to be appreciated for their worth of demystifying art by bringing it, quite literally, from the center to the streets, doing away with the once pretentious public in favour of an urban, eclectic, yet deserving, audience.
Nonetheless, the concept of street art is taken even further, to the next level with 3D street art, a form that uses optic illusion and amazing street-painting to transform the urban environment in even the most obscure locations. Here are 5 examples of 3D street art that make the pavement come to life and which will swoon you off your feet.
1. The Lost Canals of Deventer
A giant work commissioned by The KunstLab Deventer at the September GedempteGrachten Festival in Deventer, Netherlands, which the people at the blog www.3d-streetpainting.eu managed to craft in a way that immediately blends with the local motif of Dutch canals coming alive with an utopia consisting of quasi-Lovecraftian motifs. The opening of the gates of a watery hell filled with Ancient Ones among the café’s terrace and bike rack is a superb juxtaposition of one of 3-D street art’s main hooks, the mingling of the impossible and the mundane.
2. Hans Christian Andersen Festival
A local pride vibe has clearly influenced every step of this awesome piece of work, painted in Odense, Denmark’s third largest city. The birthplace of legendary children’s righter Hand Christian Anderson, of The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling and The Emperor’s New Clothes fame, Odense clearly made 3D street art its own, with this depiction of the life-filled underwater dwelling of the eponymous Little Mermaid.
3. Sustain Your Excellence
Another Dutch example, this is an indoor gallery created at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam for the EFR Business Week stand which gradually became a magnet for art amateurs. With its outer limit climbing the surrounding walls, it has as opposite end a semi-circular couch that serves best as observation point for this installation called “Sustain Your Excellence”. Within a futuristic setting that seems to drawn inspiration from both Back to the Future’s famous hoverboard and The Jetsons’ retro-futuristic ways of transportation, the Fritz Lang aesthetics of the high rises are levelled with the office floor.
4. Sunken Playground
Using the form to bring about further debate on the fight on what man-made climate change brings about, The Swedish Green Environmental Party (Miljöpartiet de Gröna) has commissioned these artists to step away from the canvas and tour this powerful fine work around Stockholm, Göteborg, and Malmö, Sweden’s largest three cities. The political, ideologically-heavy work brings the desired topic forward by confronting passers-by with the effects of global warming visible during their daily routine, and not just in a North Pole documentary or the occasional news.
5. 3D Streetpainting XL
Just because VSK Beurs is “the most important exhibition for heating, climate control and sanitary systems in the Benelux area” it doesn’t mean it actually needs to be as boring as it promises. And indeed, at least at this stand, it managed to avoid that and bring a bit of the NYC cool home by hosting this 3D street art, where the street is left outside in favour of M.C. Escher-influenced 2+1 levels house plan that manages to create a comfortable oasis in the middle of the expo area.