Archaeologists have discovered numerous prehistoric cave drawings, the earliest dating back about 40,000 years. Some of these were discovered in Indonesia in 2014. Why did it take so long to find these crude drawings? Because the caveman did not post his work on Instagram or YouTube. These days, of course, many artists immediately publish their latest work online, reaching new fans … and making those of us who can barely draw stick figures shake our heads in amazement. We stumbled across several of these 3D time-lapse videos a couple of weeks ago, and got hooked on watching these artists at work. Warning: One of the drawings (No. 8) features a very realistic-looking and enormous spider.
10. Waterfall Pavement Art (Tornike Jashia)
3D pavement art has become a global phenomenon, with dozens of annual festivals held around the U.S. to celebrate and promote artists and their work. Check out the guy riding his bike across the bridge in the finished work here. We’ll give this an A+ for realism.
9. Anamorphic Hole (Jonathan Harris)
According to Dictionary.com, an anamorphic illusion is, “having or producing unequal magnifications along two axes perpendicular to each other.” In other words, it’s an illusion that tricks the brain into perceiving a two-dimensional item as 3D.
8. Spider (Stefan Pabst)
If you have arachnophobia, move along. While it’s interesting to watch artist Stefan Pabst creates this drawing, it’s even more fun seeing what happens when he leaves the drawing on the floor, and unsuspecting kids flee in terror … until they figure out it’s just an illusion.
7. Scissors (Marcello Barenghi)
Artist Marcello Barenghi calls this work of art “mixed media on grey paper.” But it’s so realistic, even moms who tell their kids “Don’t run with scissors!” would be fooled.
6. Levitating Red Bull Can (Vamos Art)
Andy Warhol would surely be proud of this pop-art illusion.
5. Lego Army (Planet Street Painting)
The annual Sarasota Chalk Festival brings many of the world’s greatest sidewalk artists/street painters to the Sarasota area. This video is a great illustration of just how much planning goes into 3D sidewalk art before chalk or a brush ever touch the ground.
4. Floating Ball (Jonathan Harris)
Watch the step-by-step process artist Jonathan Harris uses to create this illusion and it all seems so simple. Yet the end result is far more impressive than you’d expect, a common theme with many of these works of art.
3. Concrete Pyramid (Milton Cor)
You’ll have to look at this very closely to tell it is not actually a pyramid placed on top of the paper.
2. The Crevasse (Edgar Mueller)
There are street artists. Then there is German artist Edgar Mueller. He created this masterpiece for the Festival of World Culture in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, in 2008. He is regarded as one of the best and most prolific street painters in the world, with his work displayed in many YouTube videos.
1. Nativity Scene (Kurt Wenner)
Here’s the man who started it all. Kurt Wenner invented the whole phenomenon of 3D pavement art illusion and street painting in 1982. With a background in the centuries-old European practice of Italian street painting, the Michigan native used his classical art training, along with his understanding of illusion, to create 3D or anamorphic pavement art. Here he creates a nativity scene at a shopping center in Perth, Australia.
One More: Melting Rubik’s Cube (Mahesh Pendam Art)
Frankly, we never could figure out how to solve a Rubik’s Cube, let alone understand how some people can work them in under a minute. So we’re not about to try to explain why Mahesh Pendam’s work on this illusion looks so realistic.