Die Strassenmaler (The Pavement Artists)

Die Strassenmaler is a Swiss-German (German language) documentary done a couple of years after the National Geographic. It shows some of the development of pavement art in those years. I created the work below, entitled “Reflections” was done for the documentary, and the artistic process is shown in the video.


The documentary also shows the lifestyle of the pavement artists while the art form was just starting to become popular and more respected. It was still very much a folk art in Italy. The costumed figures were a group of young people specialized in reconstructing the costumes of the great Gonzaga family that ruled Mantua as dukes for several centuries. The video also shows pastel making and other techniques that I was introducing to pavement art.




Icon of Christ

34The last Supper was an all-time successful piece in Europe. It was always a bit of an interpretation, as Da Vinci’s original is in such a bad state that the figures are not very clear.

A couple of years ago I made an image of the center figure of Christ image for a one-man show at the Friday Harbor Museum of Art. I wanted to show the kind of traditional imagery that was used by pavement artists. There are actually not many simple, classical devotional images of Christ. Some of the most popular images have actually been cut out of larger works. I used a robe and position similar to those in Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper, but the portrait part is completely original. Iconic images are made to help the devotee into a meditative state, for this reason they are restful and quiet.

Portrait of Christ

This image, along with others, is on display at the Andrea Smith Gallery in Sedona, Arizona. The gallery specializes in sacred works from a wide variety of traditions.

Their website is here: Andrea Smith Gallery Home.

My page is here: Kurt Wenner


Here is a nice instrumental piece that I like to play when I am working called Aria di Chiesa, traditionally attributed to Stradella: Aria di Chiesa


Queen of the Night

The Queen of the Night is a character from Mozart’s Opera, The Magic Flute. She first appears appears and tells the prince Tamino that her daughter Pamina will be his wife if he can rescue her from Sarastro (Recitative and aria: “O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn” / “Oh, tremble not, my dear son! You are innocent, wise, pious”). The Aria can be heard here, sung by Luciana Serra, a singer I heard myself in Naples in 1984:

Luciana Serra

Queen of the Night

I created this work in pastel as a fine art edition. The figure is reversed from my original painting so that it may be paired with the Papageno print. The pastel gives the work a lighter, more airy feeling than the oil paint. The work can be seen at the AFA gallery in the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The address is below:

Grand Canal Shoppes (The Venetian)
3377 Las Vegas Blvd. South #2058
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Telephone: 702.998.6975
Mon-Thurs & Sun 10AM – 11PM
Fri & Sat 10AM – 12AM

The AFA gallery represents a number of interesting artists. Their website is below:

AFA Gallery- HOME


National Geographic Video

While still very young I was the featured artist in National Geographic’s documentary, Masterpieces In Chalk. The film won many awards and helped to resurrect and spread pavement art across the globe.


While working on the street painting for the film, I had to confront the nature of my own creativity. I wanted to demonstrate that I was capable of inventing original compositions on the spot, so I deliberately didn’t make any sketches for the piece I was to create. I had been accused many times by onlookers of copying Renaissance paintings, and the public often refused to believe that I created my own unique original compositions. Creating an original work of art is novel in the world of street painting, and it was important to me that the director Kevin Peer captured this in the documentary. My method of working at the time was entirely spontaneous, much to Kevin’s concern, as the director he was hoping to see some preliminary drawings. It was difficult for Kevin to accept this approach, as he would have no way to know if a spontaneous creation would end up being good enough for the film. I decided to paint the Muses, which as a theme lent itself to improvisation. The Muses also symbolize the idea that even though works of art are ephemeral, the inspiration behind them is immortal. Inspiration may be lost or forgotten, but it is eternally present whether or not we are able to perceive it. Whenever I create a work of art, I can feel inspiration come through me–it is what creates the ideas behind my work; I don’t generate the ideas themselves.