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Posts Tagged ‘trompe l’oeil’


Photo: Ralf Trylla / Town of Ísafjörður, Iceland
Ísafjörður, Iceland, recently installed a 3-D crosswalk on a centrally located street.

Optical-illusion speed bumps are getting to be a thing. Matt Rocheleau writes about the concept at the Boston Globe.

“A handful of cities around the world have painted optical illusions on roadways — think raised beams and even images of children — that appear, at first glance, to be blocking motorists’ paths.

“The idea is to get lead-footed drivers to put on the brakes. After all, if you think you’re going to hit a steel beam or a little girl chasing her ball, you’re going to slow down.

“Popular from New Delhi to a tiny town in Iceland, the most prevalent of these illusions are the striped lines made to look like [3-D] blocks floating in the middle of the road. …

“Officials in the other countries say the markings have contributed to better driving. And while they can add an element of surprise, officials in other locations said they haven’t seen any reports of drivers stopping so quickly that they’ve caused an accident.

“Initial measurements by the city’s traffic police found speeds dropped by 15 percent in the areas where 3-D crosswalks were installed last year, according to Yogesh Saini, founder of Delhi Street Art, which painted the crosswalks on the municipal council’s behalf.

” ‘As people got accustomed to seeing them, the speeds appear to have crept up some,’ Saini added in an e-mail. …

“In Western Canada, officials took the optical illusion even further when a nonprofit called The Community Against Preventable Injuries installed a 3-D decal on a road near a school to raise awareness about speeding in school zones.

“The decal, called ‘Pavement Patty,’ looked like a girl was in the street chasing a ball. It was installed temporarily.”

Thank goodness for “temporarily.” I’m all for any trompe-l’œil speed bumps that slow drivers down in areas with pedestrians, but please, no pictures of people! Once drivers get used to the images, do they then get used to charging fast at people? I hope communities will stick with floating blocks and steel beams.

More at the Boston Globe.

Photo: The Community Against Preventable Injuries
In West Vancouver Canada, a nonprofit installed a 3-D decal on a road near a school. I sure would worry about leaving this one out long enough for drivers to get used to it.

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Art: David Zinn

Here’s something fun from the reliably intriguing website This Is Colossal: playful chalk drawings on Ann Arbor, Michigan, sidewalks.

Kind of makes a person want to try it.

Christopher Jobson writes, “Michigan illustrator David Zinn (previously) has brightened the streets of Ann Arbor with his off-the-wall (or technically on-the-wall) chalk drawings since 1987. The artist works with chalk or charcoal to create site-specific artworks that usually incorporate surrounding features like cracks, street infrastructure, or found objects. Over the years he’s developed a regular cast of recurring characters, including a bright green monster named Sluggo and a ‘phlegmatic flying pig’ named Philomena.”

More about Zinn here. Lots more drawings.

Update 10/10/17: John sent me another link to this artist. Check it out for more great pictures. And the coolest part is that he learned about it from his son’s Highlights for Children magazine, which my husband has beeb sending.

Art: David Zinn

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I’m starting off here with four Providence photos: the railing at the Arcade, a message promoting the city as the “creative capital,” trompe l’oeil windows on a brick wall (note the page turning in the lower right corner), and a frieze near the Dean Hotel harking back to a club called Ginger’s.

Next we have three views of Minuteman National Park in Concord on a springlike February day. Seated on the river bank close by was a solitary figure sending wistful melodies from his wooden recorder out over the flood. I hesitated to disturb him and didn’t take a picture.

Buckets for maple sugaring are appearing all over town. It isn’t really spring yet, though: the daffodils came from the supermarket.

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Here’s an imaginative trompe l’oeil, art that gives the illusion of a welcome at the border.

Jude Joffe-Block writes at Fronteras, “Artist Ana Teresa Fernandez is attempting to paint a stretch of the border fence in Nogales, Sonora, so it looks like it is no longer there. … The project is an expansion of an earlier installation Fernandez did on the Tijuana border fence.

“Fernandez was born in Mexico, moved to San Diego as a child, and grew up going back and forth between the two countries. She heard story after story of migrants who lost their lives trying to cross the border, and of families divided by it. …

“In 2011, Fernandez went to Tijuana from her home in San Francisco with a plan to paint the fence.

“ ‘I just had this epiphany, of like, you know I can bring the sky down and erase it, just using paint and painting it sky blue,’ Fernandez said.

“She picked a stretch of the fence on the beach on the Mexican side, climbed up a ladder, and began to paint. …

“Fernandez carefully chose a shade of blue that would make it look like the fence disappeared into the sky and the Pacific Ocean behind it.

“The illusion worked. As she was finishing up a jogger came running up excitedly.

“ ‘And this runner was all sweaty,’ Fernandez remembered. ‘He was like, “I get it! I get it!” I looked down from the ladder, and I was like,”Excuse me sir, what do you get?” And he was like, “It looks like it is gone from far away!” ‘…

“Fernandez says her goal is to inspire people to imagine what if the fence really did come down.”

More here at WBUR, where you also can listen to the story.

Photo: Ana Teresa Fernandez
Ana Teresa Fernandez’s art installation on the border fence in Tijuana.

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If you like trompe l’oeil painting — that sleight of hand that makes you think you are seeing one thing when it’s really another — you will love “invisible” architecture.

Writes Mallika Rao at the Huffington Post, ” ‘Invisible’ architecture isn’t a novel concept … But it’s an evolving one. Given the pace of technological change, an architect is never done finding fresh ways to make a building disappear.”

Consider the picture below.

“The revelation is the technology the architects chose not to use,” says Rao. “No fancy LEDs or futuristic materials are needed to build “Invisible Barn,” as the parallelogram-shaped structure pictured in Socrates Sculpture Park is known. The brainchild of the New York-based architecture firm stpmj, it’s designed to be made of wood and sheeted with mirror film, at a cost of $5,000.

“The idea is to ‘blur the perceptual boundary’ between object and setting, according to a statement sent by the architects to The Huffington Post. Niches built into the structure mean the experience changes the closer you get — up close, you can see where true birch trees turn into reflected ones. …

“If it seems whimsical, that’s because the idea was hatched for the Folly contest, an annual event held by the Architectural League of New York. The name references the age-old concept of the ‘architectural folly,’ a fanciful, small building typically set in a garden as a conversation starter.” More here.

Photo: stpmj, an architecture firm

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