For most people, a sidewalk is a convenient way to get from here to there and the best use for an asphalt parking lot is to park your automobile.

For a sidewalk chalk artist, these surfaces are viewed in a completely different light. They represent blank canvases awaiting temporary masterpieces to be drawn onto them.

Sidewalk chalk art, also known as pavement art or street painting, involves using chalks, pastels and other non-permanent paints to draw a picture on the ground. The roots of this art form can be traced back centuries ago to Italy where artists painted images of religious figures and icons on cobblestone streets.

Today, artists have access to improved materials and better surfaces (e.g., smooth asphalt and concrete) to paint on but they do it in much the same way the ancient Italians did – on their hands and knees, exposed to the elements and fully aware rain will eventually wash away the products of their labor and talent.

Below are five examples of anamorphic sidewalk chalk art. Each appears to be three-dimensional when viewed from a specific viewing point, but is highly distorted from any other angle.

chalk art illusion Wilhelmshafen 3D Street Painting Gregor Wosik

Wilhelmshafen 3D Street Painting by Gregor Wosik

chalk art illusion Lego Terracotta Army by Leon Keer

Lego Terracotta Army by Leon Keer

chalk art illusion Techkrit Tracy Lee Stum

Techkriti ’14 by Tracy Lee Stum

chalk art illusion IFA by Manfred Stader

IFA by Manfred Stader

chalk art illusion The Flying Carpet by Kurt Wenner

The Flying Carpet by Kurt Wenner


This was a guest post from Brad Honeycutt, who is co-author of The Art of the Illusion and author of Exceptional Eye Tricks and the forthcoming The Art of Deception. He also operates an optical illusion blog that is updated regularly with deceptive content.