AP NEWS

This Work of Art Really Sticks Out

April 14, 2019

By Daniel Monahan

dmonahan@sentinel andenterprise.com

LEOMINSTER -- The right combination of pastels, geometry, and perspective will produce a beautiful 3D illusion that makes the artwork appear to spill off of its canvas.

A group of Boys and Girls Club members, and local high school students, added the finishing touches to their 3D street painting at the 6th Annual Central MA Science Festival on Saturday.

Joined by world-renowned chalk artists Kurt Wenner, of Italy, and Julie Kirk-Purcell, of California, the students worked diligently on the piece to make a dragon look as though it was leaping off of the floor.

Wenner invented 3D pavement art in 1984, which is distinguished by images which appear to rise from, or fall into the ground. To accompany his art, he also created a new geometry that avoids a specific distortion that occurs in other forms of 3D art.

During the 2014 Sarasota Chalk Festival, Wenner and Kirk led a team of 30 artists to set a Guinness Book of World Record, creating the largest 3D pavement art piece. The piece, which depicted the now extinct megalodon shark, covered 22,747.6 square feet and took 10 days to complete.

Wenner was a member of a Boys and Girls Club when he was younger and joined the project in large part due to his passion for the organization. Kirk has been involved in street painting for 19 years, and an expert in 3D painting.

The project is part of a larger initiative to teach students seldom explored art forms and to encourage collaboration with their peers.

“Our first priority has been to teach them,” said Denise Kowal, who founded the Sarasota Chalk Festival which sponsored the chalk project. “We want to get them thinking, to get their brains working, and to start using tools that they have never been exposed to.”

To create a believable 3D illusion, students were exposed to elements of chemistry, science, math, and art, said Kowal.

“Our goal is to create a program where students can learn the art form correctly,” said Kowal.

The process began with learning about the history of art, she said. There was a lot of work with geometry and an emphasis on learning the techniques of the different materials.

“This is an education program in which we’re teaching perspective, the use of pastels, collaboration, working large, and drawing,” said Wenner. “I enjoy it, and I think it’s going as planned so far.”

With the knowledge of the art form bestowed upon them, the students successfully brought to life an intricate image that utilized color, creativity, and geometry.

“The kids are doing great,” said Kowel. “It’s a really fun experience to see them all come together, but we feel kind of sad that it’s going to end today.”