It’s All in the Eye


The ground is opening up, flashes of lava, waves of water, is our world really coming to an end?! Certainly not, but one might think so when seeing this apocalyptic image. This is what anamorphic art does, it makes you look twice and think twice, maybe even more. There are many different types of anamorphic art out there, but the main idea of this is that it is an optical illusion to the eye. In order to view this type of art properly, it has to be seen from a certain perspective. If it isn’t, the image appears distorted and skewed. Most anamorphic street art is also created using chalk or paint, depending on whether the artist intends for it to be permanent or not. This is a piece that was composed by a German street artist that specializes in the technique anamorphosis, Edgar Mueller. This was created in recognition of the 30th annual International Street Painting Festival that was held in Geldern, Germany. It is know as “Lava Burst”.
Being an anamorphic street artists has its challenges, but it simply amazing how they are able to use their environment to their advantage. The way the entire street is used provides so much depth and really draws the viewer into the image. Look at the way they have drawn around the cars on the street and the placements of ground opening up. It follows all the way up to the actual buildings on either side, making this illusion look even more real. The use of bright red and orange colors help to intensify the illusion of lava as if it is really pouring out of the earth. This artist does an amazing job of incorporating texture within the rushing body of water that takes up the entire length of the street. Also, the dark colors and layers of rock walls where the lava is pouring out of helps to give the image true depth and blend in with the street. All of these techniques are what provide this artwork with a realistic effect. It’s amazing, complexly amazing.
I chose this piece because I have always had a fascination with street art, of any multitude. There is something about it that has always drawn my interest. Whether it be unplanned graffiti or a well thought out mural, there is always a story behind it that personally connects itself to the artist who created it. It’s just inspiring, simply inspiring. The fact that it is art composed in the streets helps to provide me with just a small sense of how big our world really is and the true creativity that is revealed when people use our world as a surface for art. Street art in my mind, shows a different perspective of what art and reality really have to offer. What I love about this piece is its structural uniqueness. This artwork’s structure IS the street it is created on. The placement of the image within this environment as well as its enormous scale are so absorbing that it lures the viewer all the way to the very end of the street. Its beautiful details incorporated along the way. This is a stunning example and just a small piece of what can be found within the streets we live in.
1. How long do you think it actually took street artist, Edgar Mueller to complete this work of art?
2. How is the street prepped in order for the artist to paint on top of its surface?
3. How do artists know they are creating these optical illusions properly using only the one specific perspective?

The process of “Lava Burst”

Edgar Mueller Art

Amber Cooke


13 thoughts on “It’s All in the Eye

  1. I’ve seen this done in Dublin. It wasn’t to this scale or dynamic, but, yet, still incredibly well conceived. What i saw was an artist took existing paintings and presented them on sidewalks, small sections of the street and on walls. It was incredible.

    I’d guess that it took severs

    • I really hate technology.

      Aside from that, I’d have to guess it took the artist several days to do something like this.

      When i saw an artist doing a ssnd sculpture of a life size dog, he said it had taken him 5 hours to get it right. So, i could only offer an uneducated guess.

      Great blog.

  2. I really like this anamorphic art. This art gives me a strong visual impact. First it is the color contrast, the white river with red lava. Second is the temperature contrast, cold water compared with hot lava. I can imagine that the boiling stream of molten lava is falling into the water and then turning to a rock. Third is peaceful street which contrasts with the dangerous volcanic explosion. When I look twice, I have to think what can I do if I had to face a natural disaster? The answer is nothing, I can’t do anything about it. I would not even have no time to escape from it.
    I think maybe it took no less than one day, and perhaps a full week, to paint this street. Edgar Mueller may have first painted the street with white color and then added grey, red, and black.

  3. I love this piece! When I looked at some of the pictures on the link you provided, it was interesting that my perception of the image changed if there was a person standing on the artwork. I still can’t quite grasp how he does it on such a grand scale, but this artist is amazing. I had not heard of this artist before, but I am so glad I was introduced to his work through your blog post. I am fascinated by street art as well. It makes a bold statement of self-expression. When I was a teenager in the seventies, I liked walking among the paintings on the rocks at Foster Beach. Wonder if that art or tradition still exists.

  4. When I first saw this piece of street art it almost looks like a real life picture. I did not think it was street art when I first saw it really does look like a picture of the end of the world. But this anamorphic street art is awesome. I knew of street art and many types of street art but never before have I seen this type of street out. The artist does a great job with fitting in the sewer cap and the cars and the street it looks so real it almost frightens me. When I was reading your blog post I noticed you saying something about the bright colors the artist used those colors really are the ones that stick out the most. I think it took Edgar Mueller about 7 hours to create this piece.

  5. I would just like to say that this is a great piece of work. When i first looked over the painting i thought it was painting on a canvas and it had me fooled till i started to read the post. then i really took a look at it as saw the swear cap and it started to relieve it self. I have always been a fan of street art but after living in chicago i have came to be fascinated by it. Ive never really been much of a art person but i would have to say a piece like this had to take at least a few days but thats a uneducated guess. again great piece and i will definitely be looking into more of his work. nice job

  6. I haven’t ever seen a piece of artwork like this one. There is so much going on I don’t know what to look at. The color is simply amazing it looks like the street is on fire and there was an earthquake. I really liked this blog it is a different type of artwork and I didn’t know that artwork like this even existed. I think it took the artist a few months to complete this artwork.

  7. Wow I dont even know how to describe this. Looks like the whole area is split apart and almost like an ocean under everything just waiting to sink everything under. The visual line makes it look like this event is stretching for miles almost looking like its never ending. For some strange reason I like it alot. I think it took this artist a while to compose the street. If you look at it, It shows alot of detail and I know that took some time.

  8. i love love love this piece, ive actually have been looking up alot of anamorphic art after reading this. I think optical illusions are definately one of my favorite types of art cause in general its just really interesting to see what your eyes make you see or how your brain processes a photo whether its right or wrong. I think this artist chose one perspective of the street and used that focal point to process this piece. Its especially difficult to draw on a street let alone using one perspective. Another thing that caught my eye the most was the detail of the lava seeping through the cracks of the pavement. This piece is especially realistic because its drawn around reality instead of on a piece of paper or board.

  9. Works of art that take the audiences perception of reality and skew it in a new way, have always been fascinating to me. Namely the ability to offer different viewpoints to standard situation. Works like this always bring out the imagination of every person that views the work. This particular piece seems to reflect the childhood creativity and imagination that everyone has when they’re young. The piece depicts a surreal situation in an everyday setting. It brings out the joy and wonder felt by all who imagine something different in their lives.

  10. This is just crazy! Thank you for the share Amber! This is an art style I have seen around media but never took the time to understand the artistic style. You truly introduced me to something new, and I am appreciative of it because I really like this artistic style. I cannot believe how dynamic this structure is! As I look into all of the details such as the color contrasts, the lava, the use of creating whats around nature to make this piece more vivid and realistic astonishes me! I can’t imagine how the artist prepares to make a piece like this, I would begin to think that the artist has to pick a day that isn’t too sunny or isn’t too rainy or moist in order to keep a piece like this intact. I am not exactly sure how long a piece like this would take to create but an odd guess would be possibly between 4 to 5 hours?! I can only imagine how long it would take just to finish off one side and then the middle section and then the other side. This piece and the talented artists who create it should have more recognitions for the allusions they are able to represent. This is not easy to produce!!!

  11. I REALLY love this peice! I can honestly say I have never seen anything like this. I feel like the amount of dimension the artist was able to create on this street is incredible. The artist must have primed the street first to make these colors pop so well. You asked how long it might have taken and I would assume a few weeks? It’s such a big canvas to cover and considering weather conditions I would think the artist would have to keep that in mind in terms of time constraints. I’m really happy you chose this peice it is so realistic and original and happy o have gotten the opportunity to enjoy it!

  12. Hey Amber,

    I had actually seen this specific artist before in a chain email (do they even do those anymore?) a few years ago: and it’s still in the back of my mind! Street art is something that we might see on a day to day basis, depending on where you live, and it’s often overlooked. My question to you would be how do you view graffiti? Some of it, especially the ones I’ve seen in Chicago have been full on murals with intricate lines and shapes, that look like they belong in a museum! But of course with that, we have the criminal element which would use street art as a front for gang related markings. It’s just interesting to see a different medium now and again.

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