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Paris Crater

Painting by Julian Beever, via

From 3D chalk drawings on pavement, to painted buildings that appear to allow you to see inside them, optical illusion street art has been spotted all over the world. The intentions behind these works of art can range from creative expression by artists, to fulfilling advertising objectives for agencies, but the underlying trend remains that gigantic optical illusion urban art attracts attention.

Julian Beever (some call him the “pavement Picasso”) is one of these unique street artists, and has gained fame internationally for creating 3D chalk illustrations worthy of a double take.

“I got started when I was in a pedestrian street in Brussels where an old garden had been removed,” Beever explains on his website. “This left an unusual rectangle of paving slabs which gave me the idea to convert this in to a drawn swimming pool in the middle of the high street! It worked so well I tried other variations such as a well with people falling in. I soon realized that if you could make things appear to go into the pavement you could equally make them appear to stand out of it.”

Soon after, he began doing contract commercial projects, and has created chalk art in 28 countries.

“He paints over large areas of urban public life and gives them a new appearance, thereby challenging the perceptions of passers-by,” Mueller’s website explains. “The observer becomes a part of the new scenery offered.”

Müller first received the title of ‘maestro madonnari’ (master street painter) in 1998, a rare title granted to extraordinary artists at The Grazie Festival in Italy.

Street Painting
Chalk art by Edgar Mueller, via


But it’s Kurt Wenner who claims to have “invented 3D Pavement Art” as well as Interactive 3D Art. After graduating from art and design institutes, he worked as an advanced scientific space illustrator for NASA, then moved to Italy to pursue  art in the early 80s.

In addition to creating 3D art  projects in public spaces to wow passersby, Wenner has also become well known for producing interactive advertising installations.

“Branding of a client’s product, logo, or other specific elements can be incorporated into the artwork,” Wenner explains on his website. “Because the art is often interactive many events have a photographer on-site to hand out instant prints to the public. Numbers can also be given out to download the photograph directly from the client’s website, thus creating a second marketing opportunity.”

Clever — surely there are many people who can’t pass up posing with illustrations like these ones.

Kurt Wenner


Painting by Kurt Wenner

We’ve most recently come across work by Mike Hewson, who took his three-dimensional, optical illusion, urban art to the walls of buildings instead of the streets.

“In Christchurch, New Zealand, 10 massive optical illusion-inducing mixed-media art pieces by Mike Hewson pay homage to the former Christchurch Normal School which opened in 1876,” The Cool Hunter explains.

“The building, completely renovated for apartment and retail use in 1981 and renamed Cranmer Courts, was damaged badly in the February 2012 magnitude 6.3 earthquake and it is now destined for demolition.”

Hewson took the opportunity to get creative, and covered the building in images depicting the people who once lived inside.

Image via

Would this type of street art catch your eye? If so, would you stop to take a photo of it, or mention it to your friends?

3D art
chalk art
Edgar Mueller
Julian Beever
Kurt Wenner
Mike Hewson
Street art