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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Pavement Art.

Bert, the screever, from Mary Poppins--magical pictures you can jump right into.
Are you familiar with the term "screever?" It refers to an artist who paints, usually with colored chalk, on a pavement. Until recently the most famous screever was Bert (Dick Van Dyke) in the 1964 movie, Mary Poppins (above). However, starting about eight years ago, two young artists have made quite an international name for themselves doing Bert's shtick (sort of). Actually, despite the Mary Poppins storyline in which Mary, Bert, and the two kids jump into one of Bert's pavement pictures for a romp in an animated fantasy land with dancing penguins and the like, British artists, Joe Hill and Max Lowry, created 3-D pavement images so real (or surreal) jumping into them seems like a real possibility. Moreover, they don't need Disney magic to do so.
The artist, Joe Hill, strolls by one of his holes
--art that requires the camera to have its full impact.
They billed themselves as 3-D Joe and Max. Max Lowry died suddenly in 2010 at the age of 34. Joe Hill carries on alone. In November of 2011, he and his team created the world’s largest and longest 3D anamorphic street painting in the Canary Wharf district of London. The 12,490 square foot painting was sponsored by Reebok CrossFit and took seven days to create. For video of 3-D Joe's massive creation, click here. Unlike Mary Poppins' Bert, Joe Hill does not work in chalk. His illusions are as humorous as they are breathtaking, usually about 150 to 200 square feet each. And like Bert's, most have a fantasy element, borrowing generously from 20th century Surrealism reminiscent of Rene Magritte.
The board, the bike, the boy and the pavement are real. All else is illusion.
Such 3-D pavement art is at its best when it involves bystanders.
Sometimes creatures from Hill's holes
emerge to challenge our perceptions
of the real and the unreal.
The images are designed to be photographic backdrops. That is, they work best from a single, predetermined point of view along three axes, at which a camera is placed to record the interaction of the artist and/or viewers of the work. Very often such art features jagged illusionary holes in the pavement through which the viewer sees a alternative, humorous or horrifying world. Hill's work is very much in demand around the world as show-stoppers for conventions or trade gatherings. Although Joe also does portraits and other canvas paintings, his major efforts fall flat (on the pavement, that is) but invite the imagination to look beneath it. Don't step on the crack...

Pressing a point, painting potent potholes.


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