Do you love art? Most kids are naturally creative. Whether you give them pens, pencils, crayons, markers, paint, clay, yarn or sidewalk chalk, they can create works of art that are priceless to their parents.

There all sorts of canvases that can be used to create art. Of course, paper is a favorite of many children. Many artists, though, think outside the box and make art on ceilings or even on the side of buildings.

In cities, some artists have turned ordinary streets into fantastic works of art. This type of art is called by many different names, including street painting, pavement art, street art and sidewalk art. Have you ever seen street art in your city?

Since street art is by its very nature temporary (people still have to use the streets!), many artists use materials that can be removed easily. One of the most popular materials for street art is sidewalk chalk.

Street art isn’t a new phenomenon. Would you believe that pavement artists — called screevers — have been around in England since the 1700s? Historians believe that over 500 street artists made a living from creating street art in London alone by 1890.

Screevers did more than just make beautiful pictures. They would often add poetry or political commentary to their artworks. In this way, they created visual images of what was going on in the world around them. These images were loved by working people, many of whom could not read the newspapers of the day.

Today, street artists turn simple streets into eye-popping works of art. Some of their pieces seem to jump off the pavement to reach out and grab you.

How do street artists make these incredible 3D works of art? It’s all a matter of perspective. Street artists use techniques that have been around for hundreds of years.

First, they decide upon how the picture should be viewed. In other words, where will most people be standing to look at the picture? With this information, they can then use one simple fact — objects that are farther away appear smaller — to plan a work of art that creates the illusion of three dimensions on a flat surface.

When viewing a work of 3D street art, you have to be standing in the right position — the one from which the artist created the work — to fully appreciate the illusion. If you’re standing in the wrong area, the work of art will look smeared or distorted.

28 Join the Discussion

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    • Hi there, Rahul! It’s SUPER GREAT to hear from you today! Thanks for stopping by to learn about street art with us! :-)

    • We like that guess a lot, Rahul! We can’t wait to visit Wonderopolis again tomorrow morning to see what we will all be WONDERing about! :-)

        • Great question, Jack! The WONDER tells use that to create perspective the artist must “first decide upon how the picture should be viewed. Then, they can use that information to plan a work of art that creates the illusion of three dimensions on a flat surface.” Artists must keep in mind that objects that are farther away appear smaller. Artists could use many different tools, such as chalk or spray paint. Graffiti would be an example of street art. Check out Wonder #387: How Old Is Graffiti? Enjoy!

  1. If I was on the street in the video, it would probably feel like I was falling off. I like to draw. Once my mom inspired me to draw a baseball field in 3-D. I wonder how long it took them to create the street art.

    • What a GREAT comment, Charlie! Thanks for letting us know what you thought about the video and the street art featured in it! We know it takes a while to create such awesome masterpieces in perfect perspective. We have seen some artists take just a few hours to create one of their street chalk works of art, and sometimes it can even take DAYS! :-)

  2. I really loved the video. I was WONDERing if people could fall in the ice cliffs, but then I watched the video and I found it was not real and they would not fall in.

    I am going to draw with chalk today. I will draw something different.

    • We think it is AWESOME that you were inspired to create your own chalk masterpieces later today after exploring this Wonder of the Day® with us, Helena! We thought those ice cliffs looked a little scary at first, too! It was interesting to see all the people standing on that part of the drawing to make it look like they were falling! :-)

  3. The art, the most elegant to inspire the mind and culture. Art is life around you to impress you. Art…is having fun with imagination and creations, I really love art, I have lots of imagination and creations to draw, build, and write amazing things. :-D

    • We really appreciate the AWESOME things you said about art, Carlos! In fact, we think they ROCK! We agree that art is all about having fun and being creative with your imagination! We hope you have a GREAT evening…THANKS for visiting THREE Wonders today and leaving us a comment on each one! :-)

  4. Hello!!!! GREAT! Wonder!!!! Love the video too. Those artists can be very artsy!!! :)
    I love to draw, I can get inspiration anywhere. That iceberg painting looks so realistic and it is a huge master piece. Thanks for the wonder!

    • Thanks for sharing your WONDERful artistic talents, Madison! Artists can express themselves in different ways, like the street art video you enjoyed. We hope you continue to Wonder about different types of art and seek inspiration for your drawings. Have a WONDERful time creating! :)

    • WOW, what a cool talent you possess, Jeff! Drawing on different media is so cool to see– just like our Wonder on perspective! Thanks for sharing your talent with us, Wonder Friend! :)

  5. I like how they make drawings on the streets,it looks so awesome! It is like 3D, it has a very good illusion it tricks my mind. Also I am an artist myself as I take classes. I really like to draw. I am gonna make some small comics. I will try to draw on the street sometimes and see how it will look.

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Do you have perspective?
  • How do street artists make 3D pictures?
  • Can you make art with sidewalk chalk?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Ready to make street art of your own? Grab some sidewalk chalk and head outside. The sidewalks and streets are your canvas!

What do you like to draw? People? Animals? Machines? Can you create a 3D artwork like you saw in today’s video?

To help inspire you to create something great, check out these cool websites featuring street art:

When you’re finished, take a picture of your street art and post it to Facebook for all your Wonder Friends to see. We can’t wait to see what you create!

Still Wondering

In ArtsEdge’s Dan-One: Alphabetical Engineer video, graffiti artist Danny “Dan-One” Polonco, a self-described “Alphabetical Engineer,” talks about graffiti art form as a means for self-expression.

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