3D street art, also known as anamorphic pavement art, is a technique of painting a portion of pavement, or floor, in indoors cases, in such a way that, viewed from a specific angle it offers a perspective that makes the two-dimensional painting appear as being a three-dimensional object. While the technique itself has a long history, dating from the Renaissance and is usually behind the sort of pictures that appear to “follow you around the room”, its combination with urban street art is quite recent, being developed since around the 1980s through a graffiti and stencils revolution of sorts.
It has exploded, however, in recent years and has now become a global cultural phenomenon. While one doesn't find this art so much in a school workshop or in the pages of a book or conventional journal, but rather on a blog or a tumblr page, being, by definition, unconventional, there are numerous prints that made the news or the subject of one documentary or another.
Winter is here and it’s probably not the best time to find any amazing 3D street paintings in your nearby locations, underneath all that snow, so here are 6 more stunning examples of 3D street art worth seeing.
1. The Orange Raft
One of the main draws of 3D street art has been, since its beginning, the ability to participate in the installation. It’s probably not a very good idea, when visiting a fine art museum or a gallery, to shake the hands of a statue or to lean on a painting, in an attempt to get a fun photo. But when it comes to this raft that is about to plunge into the swordfish-inhabited waters below, climbing on seems like an awesome idea.
2. Climbing Snail
Through their very nature, anamorphic paintings seem to either rise or plunge from the flat wall they are actually drawn on, but this New York piece by Julian Beever is taking it to a whole new level, with the paint spreading on the bench as well, offering a powerful illusion that the snail is freestanding and the presence of the shadow makes it so much more realistic.
You don’t see a lot of self-portraits done in 3D street art form and for obvious reasons, but this piece by the famous Julian Beever, also placed in NYC, is an example of cool creativity that makes you wonder whether there can be a collaboration between the chalk-drawn version of Julian and flesh-and-bone one, as they seem to both be quite interested in street arts and even enjoy the same beer brand.
4. Clear-sky Chasm
Who says that one has to walk the streets of a Western cultural center such as London, Berlin, Seattle or Chicago to see a wonderful 3-d street art concept? You know that nightmare you sometimes have in which the pavement is suddenly giving way underneath your feet and you find yourself free-falling from hundreds of ft high, into the unknown? Well, you’re going to have it more often after seeing this piece from China. There is some relief and beauty, however, in the fact that it’s not a dark or fiery pit that opens up under the street, but a bright blue sky, giving a surreal and optimistic view of the underworld.
5. Bridge over 2D water
If you ever find yourself at the mall and the floor caves, leaving a clear brook behind, make sure to find a nearby log that can be used as make-shift bridge over the newly-formed peril. This simple, yet effective piece is part of a series of 3D paintings that are going on the road in 2014 and 2015, as an alternative festival, touring not fewer than 12 malls across Germany and infusing the man-made mall environment with a little bit of forest-chic.
6. The Other Side of Art
As a bonus and a way of further showing how painstakingly precise artists must be to create the incredible illusions offered by 3D street art, here is the above snail piece seen from a an angle just a few degrees off from the “perfect one”. Seeing it from across the street would mean that you probably didn’t even realise the wallpaper was a snail.