Art Beneath Your Feet

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Contemporary artists are reviving a centuries-old style of art that is now reaching an even wider audience than before, thanks to the Internet.

Sidewalk art, also known as pavement art or street paintings, are temporary works of art created on sidewalks or pavements using chalk or pastels. Although the tradition dates back to 16th century Europe and usually involved street drawings of the Madonna, contemporary artists are elevating the artform to new levels with their complex and inventive sidewalk drawings that engage the viewer in clever ways.

The most popular pavement art combines a sense of realism with forced perspective to create an optical illusion that conveys the appearance of depth, such as Tracy Lee Stum’s 3-D pavement artwork shown above. When properly viewed at the correct angle, the image on the sidewalk appears to pop out of the sidewalk and interact with the person (or people) who are positioned in just the right place.

Although these images are a marvel to behold in real life, they are equally impressive when reproduced two-dimensionally. Images of outstanding street art can spread across the Internet like wildfire, bringing the artform to a massive new audience beyond just those who are able to see these pieces in real life.

Part of the charm of these labor-intensive pavement artworks is that they are temporary, eventually fading over time or getting washed off. Photography of street art ensures that these temporal artworks will be recorded, remembered and enjoyed long after they have disappeared from the pavement.

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