Julian Beever is one of the world’s most intriguing artists. His claim to fame is his fantastic use of trompe-l’œil pavement chalk art along with a technique called “anamorphosis” which creates a 3Dimensional illusion when viewed from a specific angle through a camera lens.
Julian Beever became interested in street art while working with the Punch & Judy show in York where he saw other pavement artists. For 20 years Beever has worked across the globe in countries such as the UK, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Spain, and the U.S. Julian Beever’s sidewalk art is not only technically magnificent, but appears to both sink far into the floor and/or rise straight up out of the pavement.
Beever’s artwork has been commissioned by multiple entities around the world but his motivations for creating such beautiful and interesting works are mainly for personal enjoyment and to positively shock his passing audiences. He also takes on commercial commissions by corporate bodies. 2010 has seen Julian Beever’s first book release entitled “Pavement Chalk Artist”, and it includes photographs of his many works from around the world.
TJ: Where is it that you call home Julian?
Julian Beever: I live in Dover on the South East tip of the UK.
TJ: Where and when did you attend art school?
Julian Beever: Leeds Polytechnic 79-83 in the UK
TJ: When were you first struck by the Trompe-l’œil ( trick of the eye ) style art?
Julian Beever: I had seen trompe-l’oeil in the true sense of the word – as in paintings of small highly detailed natural objects in close-up from art history books.
TJ: What is the “Anamorphosis” technique?
Julian Beever: It is doing a drawing in a distorted, stretched form so that from one particular viewpoint, and as seen through a lens the distortion is resolved into the correct shape and form. In the case of a pavement drawing this means we view it at an odd angle to the surface. This allows us to create the illusion of solid or hollow forms going in to , coming out of or standing on the ground.
TJ: Is there a specific type of camera lens you use to create 3dimensional effects?
Julian Beever: You can use any.
TJ: Was combining Trompe-l’œil and Anamorphosis an original idea of your own, or are there similar previous works in art history?
Julian Beever: Others got there long before me – the most celebrated example being the skull in Hans Holbein’s ‘The Ambassadors”
TJ: Do you have a personal favorite Anamorphosis sidewalk piece?If so, which and why?
Julian Beever: Meeting Mr. Frog has a very good interaction between my daughter and the illusion of the frog and it serves also as a family souvenir.
TJ: Why do you continue creating chalk art instead of moving to a more permanent medium for Anamorphosis?
Julian Beever: That may be something I will move toward but I like the size, speed and freedom permitted in the streets using chalk.
TJ: Would this technique work for wall murals as well? Why or why not?
Julian Beever: Probably but I haven’t done it. There would be further problems getting permission for a wall which invariably would be privately owned and it wouldn’t wash away in the rain so easily.
TJ: Do you have to obtain permits for every sidewalk project? What happens if you don’t?
Julian Beever: If you don’t you take a risk. Sometimes you get away with it, sometimes you don’t. You can be stopped from continuing and once I had my work washed off in front of me. I have been escorted to the police station once or twice. So long as you stay polite however there is little risk of further penalties. On the other hand, asking permission as an individual artist to local authorities is seldom successful and once they have said no you are worse off than if you hadn’t asked.
TJ: Doesn’t that fold up camp chair get uncomfortable after hours of work using it like Superman?
Julian Beever: Yes but it reduces the discomfort that putting strain on the knees can cause.
TJ: Any idea where your next 3D sidewalk chalk art piece is going to take place?
Julian Beever: The next definite commissioned one will be in Shang hai but I may try to do something unofficial for Christmas.
TJ: Where can we find your book, “Pavement Chalk Artist”?
Julian Beever: To buy a book on the works of Julian Beever (entitled “Pavement Chalk Artist”) go right HERE
Or try any online book sellers..
TJ: Are all of your sidewalk works to date represented in this book?
Julian Beever: No there are a few left out either for legal reasons or where the quality didn’t stand up. I have also done a few since the book was compiled.
The images below have been courteously released by Julian Beever for use by BlowtheScene.com. To see a full collection of Julian Beever‘s artwork, please visit his official website HERE