Born in Ann Arbor, in Michigan, this truly pioneering artist is world renowned for realistic chalk murals and street paintings that give rise to fantastic optical illusions of three dimensionality, and are known in the art world as examples of the anamorphic style. So good are these 3d street art works that this man produces, that many of them have featured on TV and in many newspapers globally.
Kurt was barely 16 years old, when commissioned to do his first portrait, an indication of just how talented he is as an artist, underlined by the fact that, within one year of that, he was already making a living doing graphic art. Both the Art Centre College of Design and Rhode Island School of Design were part of his education and he went on to be employed as an illustrator, coming up with concept images for future space projects,by NASA.
In a radical lifestyle change in 1982, he quit his NASA post, put everything he owned up for sale, then simply headed out to Italy, wanting to study art at the home of artistic endevour. Kurt lived in Rome, soaking up the every piece of art and classical sculpture that he could find, trawling through museums. In 1991, the city of Mantua commissioned him to design something honoring the visit of Pope John Paul II, from which moment he never looked back.
The practice of street painting is hardly a new thing, and such artists are known throughout Europe, as Pavement artists in the UK, Madonnaro in Italy, Strassenmaler in Germany, and even in America called Sidewalk Artists. It was, however, Kurt Wenner who pioneered the using of techniques and principles more applicable to classical art, which forever changed the way street art was viewed.
It was in 1992, in Rome, that Kurt began making the complex geometric designs used in classical architecture into ideas that helped him reproduce such classical imagery on the streets. His was the innovative style that saw three dimensional aspects being brought into the art form, forever changing the outlook of those who created it .
He made a now famous documentary for National Geographic, called Masterpieces in Chalk, a film that won first place in the Fine Arts Division of the 1991 New York Film Festival, and which no doubt greatly assisted in the establishment of three dimensional street painting as an art form. Absolut Wenner, a print ad commissioned from him by Absolut vodka, began to be seen in many magazines in 1996, the creation of this piece also being filmed for use as a television commercial.
It was to take, however, a full fifteen years before other artists could even begin to replicate Kurt’s style, very often with the help of computers. Edgar Muller, Julian Beever, and Manfred Stader are leading lights today, among a huge number of artists creating three dimensional Pastel art works on the streets of cities around the world. Not that this art form is the only thing Kurt does.
He is also a skilled in Residential Architecture and designing Villas, as well as being able to create extremely lavish interior designs, and to create product designs inspired by the classics. He is happy to accept both public and private commissions for oil paintings, sculpture and murals, his largest U.S. mural can be found on Wilshire Boulevard , and made an appearance in the movie Sneakers. December 2010 saw Greenpeace calling for Genetically Modified crops to be banned, as well as presenting a petition, accompanied by a banner with 1 million signatures, to EU Commissioners. Kurt had, at the request of Greenpeace, created a 3D anamorphic image that was 22m square, a world record for the largest image of its kind drawn by a single person.
This incredible artist has devoted much of his life to producing visually stunning art that can take your breath away. Imagine strolling along a city street, then stopping short with slight feelings of vertigo, on what appears to be the edge of a massive hole, at first glance. This is the experience of viewing work by Kurt Wenner, an artistic genius who will still be amazing us all for a long time yet. Unbelievable stuff.
All images used with permission of artist Kurt Wenner. All information taken from wikipedia