Graffiti artist transforms buildings into surreal 3D art

Italian artist Manuel Di Rita — who goes by the nickname Peeta — lives and works in Venice. However, since 2000 he has risen to international fame for his surreal 3D graffiti style. Using a variety of shading, gradients and shadows, Peeta transforms static buildings into visually-striking optical illusions.

By painting abstract shapes onto the buildings, his work often appears to be floating just off the surface on which it is painted. And while Peeta’s surreal 3D murals often seem to dissolve and morph, the illusions are ever-changing depending on the angle of view. The aim of his unique graffiti art is always to create an exchange between the structural and cultural parameters of the surrounding setting — whether it’s architectural or not.

Surreal 3D optical illusion graffiti by Peeta

“My geometrical shapes act as they interact with the surrounding environment.”

Peeta’s technique was derived from the traditional 3D lettering he grew up painting. He continues to evolve it today as he experiments with realistic objects. It’s also worth noting that the artist not only creates surreal 3D work in public spaces; Peeta also used to create similar figures with paint on canvas as well as sculptures. Unfortunately, it’s been years since he’s permanently substituted sprays with acrylics and brushes.

Optical illusion building on a street corner in Manheim, Germany
3D mural by Peeta

Constructing surreal 3D optical illusions on buildings

As for the time it takes to paint one of his surreal 3D graffiti, Peeta says that it depends on its size.

“I manage to paint a wall in one day but I need 20 days in order to paint a façade. Recently, I’ve [been] mostly involved in large scale mural projects (100-300 square meters) so the average time it takes me to fulfill them is 10-15 days.”

Surreal 3D graffiti
Optical illusion building art by Peeta

Through Peeta’s anamorphic works, he redesigns the space of any kind of surface in order to neutralize preconceptions and urge the emergence of new perspectives. The artist also says that the role of sculpture comes to be essential for his overall production in order to understand the rules of light and shadows and to reproduce them.

You can learn more about the artist and view more of his work on Instagram or his official website.