The Amazing Chalk Art of Julian Beever

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The chalk art of Julian Beever is truly amazing. He creates these works using a painstaking process that involves periodically viewing his work through the lens of a camera. The 3D effect he achieves, technically known as anamorphosis, gets the images to appear to pop out of the pavement.

It takes him days to create some of these masterpieces of illusion and to appreciate the effect, you have to be standing in exactly the right position. If you take up a different vantage point from the one intended, you will simply see an oddly stretched drawing that is distinctly two dimensional. But when you view them from the intended spot, they truly come to life.

It is experiencing this magic that makes his pavement art such a joy to behold. But, I also love the fact that it provides me with a graphic reminder of the importance of considering perspective in relation to what we perceive. What you perceive and what I perceive may not be the same thing even though we are actually looking at the same thing.

Hopefully it is quite obvious why we need to appreciate that individual perceptions can be wildly different. Try to remember this the next time you are having a disagreement with someone about how you ‘see’ some particular situation. The chances are that neither of you is wrong and the tendency to disagree about the matter is an indication that different perspectives are being discussed.

Rather than defending your viewpoint, if you can simply open your mind to the opposite view that is being expressed, you might well be able to get a much better handle on what the actual reality of the situation is.

Recently, I wrote about the art of Escher which I love for similar reasons. He challenges our perception by creating impossible realities. Because they look possible, but our own mind knows they are impossible, the cognitive dissonance is again a joy to experience but also serves as a reminder of how fragile our perceptions can be. Take a look at these images for an excellent demonstration of that.

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