Kurt Wenner

is an artist with an international following. He is best known for his invention of 3-D pavement art. Wenner was inspired by anamorphic perspective, but had to invent an entirely new geometry in order to create his astonishing 3-D pavement art images.

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KurtWenner22 karma

1) I started pavement art in 1982 on the streets of Rome where I was studying classical drawing.

2) Actually I was not. I was interested in Classicism and Renaissance art. I ended up on the street because I was an American who did not speak Italian and needed to make money. Pavement art is a sacred art, traditional in Italy.

3) I have several stories about encounters with the Police. The most dramatic story took place in the city of Naples, Italy. On this occasion, the spectators actually physically carried the policemen away. This was not terribly helpful, as they came back in force during the quiet lunch hour. I took refuge in the church and then escaped.

KurtWenner13 karma

Pavement art and graffiti are very different, not so much because of the subject matter, but because of the artist's relationship to the public. The graffiti artist mostly does the work at night in secret and attempts to escape, while the pavement artist works constantly in front of the public. I think that the most valueable aspect of pavement art is the experience of executing a work in front of the public. Therefore I do not envy the graffiti artist for this reason.

KurtWenner10 karma

Of the pieces I'm most proud of, the first one is entitled Dies Irae It was done in 1986 and was the first piece that premiered the 3D pavement art form. Another piece is called Office Stress and that can be seen at KurtWenner.com. I've also done large pieces for Greenpeace and a piece called "The Sea Dragon" in Taiwan.

KurtWenner8 karma

Thank you for all of the questions! We are closing up now. Arrivederci!

KurtWenner8 karma

I don't call myself the inventor of one-point perspective art. The perspective I personally use I call hyperbolic perspective. This reversed the curve of the human eye. It is the outward projection of the geometry of the back of our eyes. This was not an invention of the 15th century or any other time. Some artists that do 3D pavement art use the more simple one-point anamorphic projection that was popular in the 17th century. They imagine I use this and continually screw up the Wikipedia section on "street painting." I have given up trying to fix this - sorry if you were misinformed.

KurtWenner8 karma

1) In the early years the reactions were more dramatic because people were not used to seeing this kind of work. One time, a woman described to her husband that I had painted a hole in the ground and dead souls were coming out of it. The next day the husband came to the site and where my picture had been, there was a real hole because they had dug up the street during the night to repair some drainage lines. The couple had a terrific argument until a photo of the piece appeared in the newspaper the next day.

2) I generally like to leave the work when it's done. Mostly because I'm tired.

KurtWenner7 karma

How much are you offering?

KurtWenner6 karma

The art is calculated to be seen from one point in space. Technically, the illusion should not work from other points. Many people, however, feel they get the illusion from other points. Ultimately, it is impossible to know what other people's perceptual experiences are. One interesting thing about working in the public is being able to see the reactions of the audience.

KurtWenner5 karma

I've always loved perspective and illusion. I taught myself the geometry and when I went to art school, I found that I had created an entirely different technique. By studying early Renaissance perspective, I noticed that there were some mathematical problems that had not been solved, particularly with ellipses and spheres. By solving those problems, I was able to invent the 3D effect.

KurtWenner4 karma

1) The 3D pavement art is a combination between wide angle perspectives I used to depict planets and spacecraft for NASA and my studies of Italian Renaissance Classicism. I wanted to see whether historical imagery could be inserted into a contemporary environment.

2) The 3D effect starts with geometrical studies. I create two different images. One is of the composition as it appears in perspective, and the other is the image as it is actually drawn. There are different techniques to interface these two geometries.