Graffiti Houdinis “CTRL+X” a Car and Dumpster With Paint

Now you see it, now you don’t — but no, your brain isn’t broken. The anamorphic illusion was created by a team of graffiti artists for the Stenograffia 2017 graffiti festival in Russia. The checkered background is a reference to the default background of a deleted image in Photoshop, and it’s aptly named after the keyboard shortcut “CTRL+X.”

To create the clever illusion, the artists covered a car and dumpster with white paint, then shone a patterned light on the objects from the specific angle from which the illusion is meant to be seen. They then traced the squares, applied tape, and spray-painted the corresponding regions grey.

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The graffiti-covered car and dumpster before painting.
The car and dumpster coated in white paint.
Car and dumpster at night, with projections shone on them instructing the artists where to outline.
Artists outline the squares.
Taping and painting the grey squares.
Car and dumpster after a coat of white and grey paint.

Seen side-by-side with the original image, the finished product gives the impression that the graffitied car and dumpster were simply erased in Photoshop. The artists provided dozens of images of the process.

At different angles, the illusion reveals itself.
The artists were given permission to paint the objects for the festival.

Graffiti culture has a long history of coverup. “Rival” artists Banksy and and King Robbo have engaged in an epic battle of one-upmanship, marking over each other’s work for decades. More recently, a street artist in London began spray painting condoms over penis graffiti in his “Protect City Cocks” project.

See the full process for “CTRL-X” on Facebook.


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