Childhood and Early Education
Julian Beever was born in Cheltenham, UK in 1959. He grew up in Melton Mowbray from the age of two in a lovely 1920 house with a nice garden and orchard. This is where he developed a keen interest in nature and a sense of wildlife.
He attended state schools and studied Art at Leeds Metropolitan University in UK from1979 till 1983.
Before doing Pavement Art
As a young man, before his artistic career, he also worked in a range of different jobs including photographer’s assistant, tree-planter, carpet-fitter. He then went on as a street entertainer and Punch and Judy Man and won the national Punch and Judy championship in 1987 and 1988. Julian also worked as an Art teacher in the UK and an English teacher (TEFL) in Belgium.
Beginning as a Pavement Artist
Julian Beever is a British artist who began pavement art as a busker, drawing in different countries including the USA, Australia and Europe to fund his travels. His earlier drawings were portraits of well known people which worked best in getting immediate attention from passers-by.
Anamorphic 3D Illusions
He began anamorphic pavement illusions in early 90’s. He developed his 3 dimensional or « anamorphic » pavement drawings out of curiosity and a love of the medium.
These became well known in early 2000’s and commercial commissions followed.
“I got started when I was in a pedestrian street in Brussels where an old garden had been removed. This left an unusual rectangle of paving slabs. It gave me the idea to convert this in to a drawn swimming pool in the middle of the high street! It worked so well I tried other variations such as a well with people falling in. I soon realized that if you could make things appear to go into the pavement you could equally make them appear to stand out of it.”
Some have dubbed him “the Pavement Picasso”. He says that, although this is flattering, his work has little in common with the Spanish Master except perhaps in the fact that Picasso too was interested in 3 dimensionality in his Cubist period.
Each drawing must be seen from one special viewpoint. If the viewer moves from it, the illusion is lost and the drawing becomes an unrecognizable distortion.
“My work appeals literally to the man (and woman) in the street and is not confined in galleries or limited by the gallery system”.
It is the internet that has brought it to the attention of the world. The artist is now in great demand from corporate business and has worked in at least 35 different countries.
He made a 10 part TV series « Concrete Canvas » (with ElectricSky Productions) in 2007. He has written the book « Pavement Chalk Artist » (published by Firefly), featuring his pavement art in 2011 .
He still finds time to do drawings for his own satisfaction and for their own sakes.