Friday, April 9, 2010

Chalk dust on your knees

I’m not a fan of graffiti. I don’t consider it art, just trick typography. It doesn’t bring the satisfaction that art does. It's more a cry for attention. I like street photography and street art, just not four bloated letters filled in with a silver aerosol. That’s just my opinion.

But 3D Pavement Art or Chalk Art which uses anamorphosis to create the illusion of three dimensions, that’s something else. Magnificently transcending when done by the master exponents like German artists Edgar Mueller and Manfred Stader or American master painter in chalk, Kurt Wenner, who worked for NASA as a scientific space illustrator before his love of the Italian Renaissance painters took him to Rome to study them. The UK has Julian Beever who now works all over the world drawing evocative pavement scenes from his vivid imagination.

Anamorphosis has been used since the Romans to induce optical height and width. It was widely used in Renaissance and Baroque paintings.

But these modern masters in chalk create wonderful illusions on our streets and terraces. So successful are they that major companies employ them to spice up their product launches and their work often moves inside galleries now.

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign runs the Young Pavement Artists Competition, an annual event with a nature theme for budding new chalk artists with great prizes to be won for the kids who enter. Who knows, maybe one of them will go on to greatness like the top exponents of this brilliant art form.

Here are just a few of the greats:





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