Kurt Wenner 3D Pavement Art
Introducing Kurt Wenner
Discussing the unique masterpieces of Wenner should be done in a historical context, something that may seem surprising for one who does not fully grasp the genre of 3D pavement art. Chalk art in public places first arose in Italy.
The artists were called “Madonnari”, and as one might guess, this word comes from Madonna, or Virgin Mary. They were so named because they frequently recreated or reinterpreted the icons and paintings of the Catholic Church. What’s so extraordinary about Wenner’s images is their anamorphic character, meaning they play with perspective to look as though they are popping off the pavement, or sometimes, falling through it. This technique dates back to the early Renaissance, just like the majority of his themes and subjects.
“I am continually challenged to rediscover, transform, and share neglected ideas of the past.”
Wenner is the first American Madonnaro and has enjoyed great acclaim from a variety of sources because, to put it simply, his artwork is magic. This magic derives from his mastery of artistic perspective and deep conceptual knowledge of how the human eye and brain work together to interpret the visual world. One thing to keep in mind is that Wenner himself popularized 3D pavement art, so for passersby who encountered his work originally it was literally something never seen before.
The ambition of Kurt Wenner and the surprising twists and turns in his career tell a memorable story.
While studying at the Rhode Island School of Design, he gravitated towards the aesthetic of iconic Renaissance architecture and classical painting. After completing his studies he found a career as an
advanced scientific illustrator for NASA, a post that would challenge him to expand even further his already profound understanding of perspective. Still though, European classicism called to him, especially the Italian aesthetic, he knew he had to visit the source. What he didn’t know is that in this foreign country he would also invent 3D pavement art and study with the elusive Madonnari themselves.
“I believe that while the patrimony of great masterpieces from the classical tradition belongs to history, the artistic process they propose is eternal.”
He left his job to do what he loved and pursue this ancient artistic process. Since first arriving in Italy, he has covered many street corners with his impermanent yet enchanting works, providing memorable
moments to public viewers. He has now spent over half of his life in the country and is an example of how it’s always possible to follow your dreams.
Becoming the foremost authority on 3D pavement art has also turned him into a prolific lecturer, historian, and theorist of the subject. In addition to his art in public places, he has been commissioned
for numerous commercial projects by the likes of Bank of America, Greenpeace, General Mills, and many more. Also included on this list of commissions, is a large church in Italy for which he painted his own
iconic frescos. Seeing a 3D pavement art piece by Kurt Wenner is a rare opportunity to witness a true originator craft beauty like only someone at the top of their field can.