Kurt Wenner

Kurt Wenner is an artist with an international following. He is best known for his invention of 3D pavement art. Wenner was inspired by anamorphic perspective, but had to invent an entirely new geometry in order to create his stunning 3D.


Kurt Wenner produced his first commissioned mural at the age of sixteen and by seventeen he was earning his living as a graphic artist. He attended both Rhode Island School of Design and Art Center College of Design, before working for NASA. While at NASA Wenner worked as an advanced scientific illustrator, creating conceptual paintings of future space projects and extraterrestrial landscapes. In 1982 he left NASA, sold all of his belongings, and moved to Italy to study figurative drawing and art. Wenner lived a stone’s throw from the Pantheon in the heart of Rome, where he studied the drawings, paintings, and sculptures of the old masters in Rome’s best known museums. Over the years Wenner’s work became known throughout the country and in 1991 he was commissioned to create a work of art to honor the visit of Pope John Paul II to the city of Mantua.

In the 1980’s Wenner first introduced 3D pavement art at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Shortly after that he founded the first street painting festival in the United States at the Old Mission in Santa Barbara, California. The Old Mission festival, also known as I Madonnari, continues to this day as do many of the festivals and events Wenner started across the country. One often-overlooked fact of Wenner’s career is that he dedicated one month every year, for 10 years, to teach more than 100,000 students from elementary through university level how to work with chalks and pastels. For his dedication, he was awarded the Kennedy Center Medallion for his outstanding contribution to arts education.

With the ever increasing popularity of Wenner’s images, hundreds of artists across the globe became inspired to create their own versions of three-dimensional pavement art. Artists such as Julian Beever, Manfred Stader, and Edgar Muller as well as others can trace their roots back to his invention in the early 1980’s. By using computer programs or a simplified geometry to create their illusions they are able to approximate the effect of Wenner’s three-dimentional illusion.

Wenner’s images always tell a story and challenge the public to reconsider the use of classicism (discarded during the era of Modern art). Wenner believes that the language of classicism is a critical tool that has been overlooked for far too long. He developed 3D pavement art precisely to illustrate that a new art form can be expressed within this language. Wenner has not only become known for his own body of work, he has inadvertently become the father of an art movement.

After participating in countless festivals, Wenner returned to fine art painting on commission and also created sculptures, decorative stucco relief, ceramic murals, architectural designs, and numerous images for publicity and advertising. Wenner’s latest creation is his book Asphalt Renaissance, which documents the history of pavement art and his role in transforming it from a dying tradition to a dynamic multi-dimensional art form.

2010 Buick Lacrosse

K. Wenner

K. Wenner

National Museum of Singapore

Dies Irae

Spider Man


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