3D Street Art

Posted: 2nd February 2023
Street art is not always created on walls. Some pieces of work require the interaction of the public to create an illusion.

Have you ever come across a drawing on a street or pavement that seems strangely odd at first. But as you look at it from a certain viewing point or angle, it looks like a real-life object or structure. Well, that is the magic of 3D street art, one of the most famous public art forms.

Where did it all begin?

3D art has been around for quite a while, and with the advent of the internet, its popularity has catapulted. Artists across the world practice the trade today. But few know that forms of street painting trace their origins back to Britain as far back as the 1700s.

Italian madonnari were vagabond street artists noted for a life of travel between festivals and were the visual arts counterpart of minstrels. They often lived solely from the coins tossed onto or next to their drawing as homage to the Madonna and possibly their skill.

Street art today

In 1982, Kurt Wenner became the first American to join the ranks of the Italian madonnari. By creating his first pavement art picture in Rome. In the same year, he returned to the United States to introduce pavement art at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

Upon returning to Italy, it wasn’t long before he became the first American to win the top prize at the Grazie di Curtatone competition. By 1985 his art had captured the attention of many, including National Geographic. Who travelled to Italy and created an award-winning documentary on his work, Masterpieces In Chalk.

In 1984 leading street artist Kurt Wenner invented 3D pavement art as a result of being inspired by anamorphic art. Or one-point perspective art that is viewable only from a specific angle.

In doing so he had to invent an entirely new geometry to make his sidewalk art work the way it looks today.

Other street artists include Leon Keer, who is a Dutch pop-surrealist artist. He has created work on canvas and (3D) artwork on the streets across the world.

In addition to using optical illusion, he often presents his art by adding new technologies, such as augmented reality and video mapping.


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