Thursday Salute to Originals: Urban Graffiti Culture

Do you consider street graffiti to be vandalism or art? Despite its negative connotations, this controversial form of self-expression has evolved into a global artistic community with its own techniques, rules, and history. Many artists are choosing to reject the traditional idea that graffiti is a spontaneous act, and are instead creating meaningful pieces that take days of imagination, planning, and effort. By utilizing the power of attention-grabbing designs, bold colors, and optical illusions, street artists are not only gaining worldwide fame, but leaving lasting cultural impressions within their communities. Though you’re not likely to find these urban masterpieces in a museum, we’re sure you’ll be impressed by their richness, complexity, and 3D effects.

Apocalyptic Street Scene

Utilizing an ordinary German street as a blank canvas, Edgar Mueller demonstrates his mastery of optical illusions. By disintegrating the sidewalks into a churning sea, Mueller has captured the attention of the community and instilled a new life into this district of town. Because the street art stretches hundreds of square meters over the pavement, pedestrians actually have the ability to become part of the image.

Idea Festival

Taking 3 consecutive days of drawing to complete, “Idea Festival’ by Julian Beever takes traditional graffiti to new heights-literally and figurally. After creating an imaginary bridge on the flat Louisville, Kentucky sidewalk, Beever gives passer-bys the illusion that flower pots and other sidewalk fixtures will fall into the scene below. After spending several decades drawing 3D art, Beever has learned that “people like things they can understand quickly,” and plans to continue transforming walkways around the world.

Dies Irae

After leaving his career at NASA in favor of pursuing his passion for Renaissance art in Rome, Kurt Wenner has become one of the founders of anamorphic street art. This technique requires the viewer to look at the drawing from an unusual angle instead of straight on. One of his greatest works is Dies Irae, which depicts deranged human creatures crawling out of a crater in the Italian pavement.


Graffiti is not only used as entertainment for pedestrians, but as a marketing technique to create brand awareness. Manfred Stader drew this 3D cappuccino for Costa Coffee in the United Kingdom to advertise that coffee beans will be sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. As the community of talented street artists continues to grow, there is no doubt that graffiti has the ability to become a universal form of communication around the world.

Image credits:, Graphic Design Blog, Squidoo, Hongkiat