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Visual Arts


Julian Beever
Artist Julian Beever in Birmingham

Pavement Picasso

By Sarah Loat
Artist Julian Beever has been drawing plenty of attention with his amazing 3D pavement chalk art to celebrate Chinese New Year in Birmingham.


Take a look at pictures of Julian's amazing pavement art, and see the whole process from beginning to end:
Pavement Picasso gallery >
Pavement Picasso Gallery 2 >
Pavement Picasso Gallery 3 >

Internationally renowned Artist Julian Beever is often called the 'Pavement Picasso' for his enormous 3D pavement sketchings that bring his art well and truly to the streets.

Celebrating Chinese New Year

Pavement art copyright Julian Beever
Pavement art copyright Julian Beever

For three days on the 27th, 28th and 29th January 2006, Julian decorated the streets of Birmingham's Chinatown with a huge three metre by three metre Chinese dragon in celebration of Chinese New Year.

"Today I'm drawing Felix the Cat gate-crashing the Chinese New Year of the dog.  He's popping put of the ground in a Chinese dragon costume."

It was while working with a Punch & Judy show in York that Julian Beever saw other pavement artists and first became inspired to give pavement art a go.

The 3D aspect to his work came much later while he was working in Brussels, "I decided to get into 3D after seeing the effect of tiles being removed from the street, and later trying to recreate the sense of depth in a drawing.

Chalk
Chalk - essential tools of the trade

"Once I realised you could make things go down, I realised you could make them appear to go up and I began experimenting."

Exposed to the elements

Julian works in chalk, so his art, which takes up to 3 days to complete, is there only as long as the elements allow, "If it rains it means I've done a lot of hard work for nothing, but I usually manage to avoid that.

"The important thing for me is to get a photo of it at the end.  For me, I'm working towards building a photograph as my end result, and if I get that I'm happy."

In fact it's not just the weather that can be cruel.  During Julian's last visit to Birmingham his drawing was swilled away from the pavement due to a mix up with permissions.

Pool; copyright Julian Beever
Pool; copyright Julian Beever

Julian admits that some people do see his work as graffiti, and don't feel it has a place on public streets.  Happily, he says,  he mostly receives a positive reaction and people like and enjoy his art.

Art for the people

"My art is for anybody, it's for people who wouldn't go into an art gallery.  It's art for the people. 

"Art shouldn't be locked away in galleries and libraries and books. Art should be for everybody and not just art boffins, historians and so-called experts."

How does he do it?

Julian's 'trompe l'oeil' (or 'trick of the eye') pavement art is amazing to see.  The effect is so convincing people will swerve to avoid potholes he has drawn in the pavement.  But just how does he get this incredible effect?

Spiderman copyright Julian Beever
Spiderman copyright Julian Beever

"The secret is to set up a camera on a tripod and keep it in one spot and check every mark you make.  It's really just playing with perspective to make it appear different to what it really is.

See for yourself

The full effect of Julian's art is only truly appreciated when viewed through the wide angle lens on his camera.  Julian invites people to have a look for themselves - visit him outside the Hippodrome Theatre and take a look!

Julian took three days to complete the drawing in Birmingham, an admirable feat considering he spent three days outside in biting winds and temperatures barely reaching 5ºC.

Julian Beaver
Julian Beaver - Day 1 in Birmingham

"It's very hard work but running about between the camera and the drawing keeps me warm, and I just keep aiming at my final result.  I work all the daylight hours available which is about eight hours a day in winter.

"It's very physically demanding to do it.  I don't actually kneel at all as it puts a huge strain on your body, I have a stool which I lie on which removes some of the physical stress."

In the last 15 years Justin has produced hundreds of pieces of 'pavement art' at venues all over Europe, but this will be the first time he's completed one on the streets of Birmingham.

The complete picture

The final piece was revealed at noon on Sunday 29th January 2006 to coincide with the Chinese New Year celebrations in the Arcadian Centre.

The final 3D image revealed
The final 3D image revealed

The picture is finished and Julian has left his mark on the streets of Birmingham.  His patience and dedication to his art is inspiring, as too is his patience with his 'gallery' visitors.

I watched as Julian engaged with people who quizzed him on art, politics and life in general.  The picture on the pavement drew people in, and Julian ironically, was the captive audience that listened to each and every person who came by to view his work.

So after three days in Baltic Birmingham, and the picture completed, how does he feel? "I'm relieved that I got it finished.  The weather's been tough but it hasn't rained and the whole project has come to its destination.

Julian Beever
Julian Beever

"I'm very pleased, when you're working outdoors you never know what's going to happen - it can always go wrong. It's a pleasure and relief to get it finished." 

And next on the agenda for Julian Beever?  "A rest - and a hot bath!"

See how the 3D image develops here!

The BBC Birmingham website has been photographing the progress of the 3D drawing, take a look at the galleries here to see how the image develops.

See the amazing pictures of artist Julian Beever creating a 3D masterpiece on the streets of Birmingham:
Gallery - Day 1 >
Gallery - Day 2 >
Gallery - Day 3 >
last updated: 03/02/06
Have Your Say
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The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Mike O'Connor
Whatever aesthetic criteria you can apply,this is great art for everyone. Also, it's generous and altruistic.

gabby
im from aus and i heard about you from my teacher ilooked him up on the internet and know i want him to put out a book with all his drawings in it

bee bop
he is a totally amazing artist. I wish he would come paint my side walk for me.

the chalkafier_aussie chick
WOW!!!! i am in year six and my teacher got a HUGE email with loads of pictures of julian's work. We have smartboards throughout our whole school, and incase you dont know what they are, a smart boeard is a big screen connected to the computer and you can sawp it over so it;s on the screen or the monitor. it is touch screen and also has speacial pens and erasers. you can also use the keyborad and pen if you want 2. Anyway, we looked at the pics on the smartborad and my class couldn;t believe some of the artwork and were looking for the lines on the julian's work, trying to find where the pavemnt was underneath. keep it up!!!! IT"S AMAZING!!!! P.S canyou please give me personal training!!!

stacy
wow i could do this for my homework

Wanda
You guys do a wonderful job! Keep up the good work!!!e

Annie
They are great! Really alive. It's good that you make art for all to see. I am an art teacher and I hope you don't mind me showing your art to kids in school. They are going to love it!

D-Li
Todo mi respeto hacia usted Sr. Beever, es todo un maestro en el arte de Anamorfosis, usted ya esta entre los grandes genios del arte...INCREIBLE !!!!

ulaganathan
Oh.. Man. This is just amzing. A supernatural human!

Michelle Wetnight
I think this is the most fascinating work to look at. I especially enjoy the "wrong" views. Thanks for what you do!!

IAN
TAKES YOU AWAY FROM THE DAYLY DRUDGE

Diana, North Carolina, USA
I have received many emails with your work. I did not believe they were real at first. You are so dedicated and talented. I am absolutely amazed! Good luck to you!

Joe
Your pictures are amazing man! fantasic...just fantastic...

Chris
Julian Beever's Art is Amazing! I only wish that one day, I will be in Europe to visit all the wonderful places there and to see Julian Beever's work in person!! Christine - USA

Lucas
That's pro! I wish I could do that!

bob
you are awesome. i think you should be the president of united states of america.

Al3ssiaa
I think that your are very impressive and you sould come to Montreal,Canada to do some here.

RAYSA!
i wanna learn of you!! that pics are amazing! keep drawing !

Ana Maria
Julian,you are a Great man and a Great paint..i have not words for to tell you about your paint,its "Fantatic"..and you have a Great heart,too,because you paint for the peoples cannot to go in a art Gallery.Congratulations! Ana Maria-Barra Bonita,s.p. -Brasil

mrs morris
how amazing r these this bloke has got such a fantastic talent.

Desmond
what is the big secret about this kind of art, I tried to make such a drawing, but it ended up in a failure, does anyone know???

Robert
J am from Poland. good job. Wery beautyfoul.

Ewa
it is super

Tricia
Absolutely amazing. Incredible talent. Would love to see it in real life if ever in Canada. A pure joy to look at his art.

piece lover
i love your work i think your awsome

Agnès-Lise
Marvelous ! Merveilleux, Superbe ! Congratulaitons ! Félicitations ! Go one ! Continuez !

Manrique
Impresionante, Julian no es de este mundo...No tiene límites ni en su imaginación

rhysie
this art is fantastic and great i have never seen better you should do it in portsmouth

sunil
amazing

adri
omg! thats marvellous!

Billy Martin
I think you are a fantastic artist. Your work is finaminal. It looks soo real. Keep up the good work!

danilo
Sencillamente increible y único, tus trabajos son tan buenísimos como el idioma español

Tracey Adams
How very original! makes you want to see much more of his work.

Harvinder
Brilliant!

Paris Hilton
Amazing!! Wonderful, Brava!

esther panama
inspirante creativo in creible

kathy stavrou
wonderful, inspiring public art

Darci
i think that your stuff is really cool so thats y i choose to do your stuff for my art project.

james street
we must meet up and do some drawings some day your skill is just awsome i have pictures of your work all over my room love your number one fan jay

Kearstin
Please add the picture that Julian beever made of the the bathroom floor! Where it looks like you are gonna fall through the bathroom floor! Thanks! I can't find it anywhere and that is the best one!

JACQUES M.
La virtuosité technique de BEEVER est étonnante Compte tenu du support,les dalles qui pavent les rues,peu réactif .MAIS ce qui est beaucoup plus étonnant c'est la mise en place en perspective des dessins et des couleurs.Les oeuvres sont toujours belles avec une note d'humour. BEEVER ne se prend pas au sérieux mais,s'il "s'amuse" et cela se voit,il reste toujours un très grand artiste Je retouve dans certaines de ses réalisations la "touche" des plus grands muralistes mexicains RIVERA ET OROZCO en particulier

Marcelo, Barranquilla-Colombia
NOJODA !!!!!! Esta palabras la utilizamos para referirnos a algo IMPRESIONANTE; ALUSCINANTE,INCREIBLE !

ROGER MORENO - COLOMBIA
Todo está inventado, lo que nos hace especiales, es lo que hacemos de ellos.

Fred
Very Impressive. Would be nice if you could come in Paris La Defense

louise
you have inspired me to do more art! how do you make them look so real? i love your spider-man pic!

VALERIA
ES LA OBRA DE UN GENIO DE LA PERSPECTIVA, NINGUNA PERSONA COMUN PUEDE ARMAR EN SU MENTE UNA OBRA DE ESTE TIPO

Angie (Your #1 FAN!!!!!!)
I got a e-mail today of your art work. It's the most breath taking chalk work that I have ever seen! I would be honnered to forward the e-mail on to all my friends and family to see. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

Annie
WOW!

SWAMP
"TRUE ART MY FRIEND"

Aiswaria
Your work is like awsome age 12

GUSTAVO
ES UN MASTER DE LA PERSPECTIVA REALMETE FANTASTICO

abigail
I think is increible!

marcelo cespedes
I can bearly imagine the 3D-mind his got, not only amazing, it's a gorgeus world he lead us into. An exhibition of his work is needed to apreciate and worthship this amazing artist.

Rachel
Très Magnifique!!! You have a great talent. Thank you for the lovely images.

Chela
Julian beevers work is awesome I love to draw and seeing his art has inspired me even more and infact I shared this with so many people already.

me
I (L) his drawings, how does he do it? xxx me

Leloxord
What a 3d master!!! he knows about perspective!!! that's a point of view.

Marcus Vinicius do Carmo
Sou um artista em início de carreira e o trabalho de Julian mudou minha concepção de arte urbana. Simplesmente fantástico. Parabéns!

Ariel - Argentina
In my country, all the people know to Julian for inrternet. In Argentinian´s language we said !!! QUE GROSO !!!

Momen Moussa
This guy should come to new york city.

Phil
absolutely outstanding talent.

Manuel Camilleri
Julian Beaver is a real amazing artist fulfilled with super talents. It will be something unforgettable to visit one of his exhititions. Keep it up

caroline lowe
This is great stuff & amazing too

francisco chile
esta muy bueno tu trabajo

colin butler
truly amazing.his work needs to be preserved in some way...how about a return visit to the indoor bull ring, and an exhibition of his "foto's"

Sharon Pinkerton
Truly, Truly Amazing. I love the shading!

Kelsey
Hey Julian Beever! I LOVE your artwork!!!! It is the COOLEST thing on Earth!!!! I especially LOVE the coke bottle LIFE-SIZE pictures, and ALL of our beautiful and GREAT pictures! Keep up the SUPER work!

daryl edge burntwood
hi julian i love your pictures i did some using your techniques they are awsome i love your pictures they are just superb from number 1 fan daryl

alejandra Bernal
Hi good afternoon you are a perferct artist, and I don't speak english but your work is very god, and good luck in the next work see you later.

Kuruvilla
Strokes of a genius, obviously. Julian Beaver really caught my imagination. The paintings are a hit in India and I've received them on many a mail.

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