trompe l’oeil

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Art

Strength: Pejac Honors Spain's Health Workers with a Moving Trio of Interventions

October 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Overcoming.” All images © Pejac, shared with permission

On the campus of University Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla in Santander, Spain, a trio of interventions by street artist Pejac (previously) simultaneously responds to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and offers potential paths for healing. The new series, titled Strength, is Pejac’s direct response to the 50,000 people who have died from the virus in his home country. “The idea of the Strength project arises as a gesture of gratitude to the health workers of Valdecilla, for their work in general and during this Covid crisis in particular. Offering them what I do best, which is painting,” the artist says.

In “Social Distancing” (shown below), a horde of people escape from a crevice in the building’s facade. The trompe l’oei artwork is a multi-layered metaphor for the ways the virus has ruptured society and the necessity of community care and compassion. “Caress” features two silhouettes standing six-feet apart, with Monet-style reflections on the ground nearby. The figures, which represent a patient and doctor, stretch their hands toward each other.

Pejac worked in collaboration with young oncology patients to complete the third piece, titled “Overcoming” (shown below), in which a child perched on a wheelchair recreates Van Gogh’s “Wheat Field with Cypresses.” “This is something that we, as a society could do—take this crisis and use it to propel us forward,” he says.

Watch the heartwarming video below that captures the works-in-progress, and find more about the tribute on Pejac’s Instagram.

 

“Social Distancing”

“Social Distancing”

“Caress”

“Caress”

“Social Distancing”

“Social Distancing”

“Overcoming”

“Overcoming”

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“Overcoming”

“Social Distancing”

 

 



Art

Mantra's Trompe L’oeil Murals Encase Enormous Butterflies in Vintage-Style Boxes

October 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

Torino, Italy. All images © Mantra, shared with permission

Working with entomologists around the globe, the French street artist known as Mantra (previously) transforms brick facades and concrete walls into massive studies of local butterfly specimens. With framed outer edges that mimic a wooden box, the trompe l’oeil murals render the winged insects in detail, depicting their richly hued scales and delicate antennae. Each artwork features species native to the area, making it possible that a live specimen might flutter by its enormous counterpart.

In a conversation with Colossal, Mantra said he’s harbored a lifelong fascination with entomology that stems from spending hours in French gardens and bucolic areas as a kid. “As a child, I was interested, curious, and focused on the small life forms in those places,” he says. His current practice hearkens back to those carefree hours and connects with an adolescent desire to become a naturalist. “My approach is as a scientist,” the artist says, noting that education about environmental care and issues is part of the goal.

Although Mantra considers all insects and natural life beautiful and crucial to maintaining biodiversity, the focus on butterflies revolves around his artistic ambitions because the vivid creatures allow him to experiment with color, shape, and texture. Each specimen is rendered freehand before the artist adds detail and the illusory shadows that make them appear three-dimensional. By painting various Lepidoptera species again and again, the artist is “repeating a mantra,” a detail of his practice that informs the moniker he works under.

In recent months, Mantra has traveled to Belgium, Denmark, and Sweden, in addition to various locations throughout France, to complete public artworks, and he’ll be in Arkansas this month for two projects curated by Just Kids. Follow all of the artist’s entomological murals on Instagram.

 

Rombas, France

Cancún, Mexico. Image by Gino Caballero

Silkeborg, Denmark

Las Vegas, Nevada

Dijon, France

Jacksonville, Florida

Brooklyn, New York

Dallas, Texas. Image by Chop’ em Down

Overum, Sweden

Indianapolis, Indiana

Cancún, Mexico. Image by Gino Caballero

Torino, Italy. Image by Martha Cooper

 

 



Art

A 3D Mural by Artist Leon Keer Wraps a French Housing Complex Like a Gift

July 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Safe House” (2020). All images © Leon Keer, shared with permission

Dutch artist Leon Keer is known for his large-scale anamorphic and Trompe-l’œil projects, transforming the sides of buildings and sidewalks into illusory public art. His latest mural, titled “Safe House,” turns the side of a housing complex in Morlaix, France, into a massive, wrapped gift. Despite its flat surface, the gold paper appears to crinkle and bulge under the bright, imperfectly cut tape. “It is not obvious for everybody to have a roof over their head. Your home is precious and gives you the comfort and protection, a gift for the necessary needs in life. In honor of the great Christo and Jeanne-Claude,” the artist writes in a statement.

“Safe House” was created as part of the MX29 Graffiti Tour, a festival organized by Les Ateliers du Graff. To follow Keer’s deceptive works, head to Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

 

 

 



Art Photography

Large-Scale Photographic Installations by Olivier Lovey Blur Distinctions Between Two and Three Dimensions

November 12, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Anachronie”, all images © Olivier Lovey and shared with permission of the artist

Olivier Lovey creates large-scale tricks of the eye by installing photographs in-line with their surroundings. The series, Miroirs aux alouettes, “confuses the real and its double. I question the limits of image and representation,” Lovey explains. “I revisit the notion of perspective, trompe l’oeil and mise en abyme“. Lovey creates his illusions both in gallery settings as well as outdoors. “Anachronie” turns a roadside billboard into a reflection of the surrounding mountains, while “Pasteboard” turns a building into a hollow facade of itself. See more of the Swiss artist’s multi-media work on his website and Instagram. If you enjoy Lovey’s work, also check out Chris Engman’s immersive photograph installations. (via Colossal Submissions)

“Pasteboard”

“The Lost Dimension”

“The Beyond”

“The Error”

 

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A post shared by Olivier Lovey (@olivierlovey) on

“The Mirror”

“While Waiting for the Beach”

“Ordinary Madness”

 

 



Art

Dutch Artists Transform a Utrecht Apartment Building into a Tri-Level Trompe L'Oeil Bookcase

April 8, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Dutch street artists Jan Is De Man and Deef Feed recently painted a literary trompe l’oeil mural on an apartment building in Utrecht, Netherlands. The pair turned the side of the three-story building into a multi-level bookshelf packed with a selection of their favorite books from their own collections, in addition to a few made-up titles featuring their own names. Another XXXL bookshelf exists in Kansas City, Missouri on the side of a parking garage belonging to the central branch of the city’s public library. You can see more of Jan Is De Man’s artwork on his website, and Deef Feed’s paintings on Facebook. (via Laughing Squid)

   

 

 



Illustration

Delicate Flowers Juxtaposed with Modern Dystopian Imagery in Tattoos by Lena Lu

August 22, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Russian tattoo artist Lena Lu focuses her needle on monochrome tattoos that combine botanical and insect illustrations with modern objects such as jeeps, soda cans, and crumpled take-out bags. One piece in particular features a trompe l’oeil flower that appears to be secured to her client’s inner forearm with bits of electrical tape. The adhesive looks faded and raised at the points it crosses the thorny rose, and extra strips lay flat both above and below the three-dimensional flower. You can see more of the artist’s tattoo work on Instagram. (via Booooooom)