Julian Beever is an unassuming chap, the kind of fellow you could easily mistake for a university lecturer, say, or a horticulturalist. The fact that he is one of the world's most innovative street artists is not self-evident.
Beever is middle-aged, softly spoken, bespectacled and wears white trainers with jeans. He does not work under a pseudonym, there are no masks, no hoodie, no bling, no bravado. Should some highfalutin collector offer to purchase one of his works for a million quid, you suspect he wouldn't know what to do with it. 'But it's not my pavement to sell,' he might retort.
Beever was in Belfast this month (June, 2012) courtesy of BT, who flew him over the Irish Sea to promote the telecoms company's fibre optic internet service. Beever brought his pastel chalks with him – and a can of hairspray for good measure – and set about producing a visual pun in three dimensions.
'I've now produced drawings all over the world, illusions of three dimensions, as if there is something going down into or coming up out of the pavement,' he explains. 'That's what I specialise in... I think I'm the first, perhaps the only person to have done that on the pavement.'
Beever tackled the brief for his latest project in typically humorous fashion, drawing a colourful cereal bowl with a spoon beside it and various telephones, wireless modems and wifi dongles taking the place of high fibre cereal. Watch the video embedded below to see the full affect of Beever's incredible three-dimensional vision.
'The reaction here has been good,' said Beever of his visit to Belfast, indicating those people gathered in the shopping centre's main atrium above to watch him work. 'This surface is a little bit shinier than I would have liked, so I had to add raw coloured pigment and I used a hairspray to make it a little bit stickier.'
The piece took Beever four days to produce and will be removed on Tuesday, June 12. Visit Julian Beever's website for images of previous works produced in cities across the globe.