• 11.01.13

You Can Only See This Beautiful Street Art If You Have The Right Perspective

Germany’s Zebrating creates lovely portraits that are hidden in plain sight.

The clandestine street artist duo known as Zebrating (it means “making the zebra”) has found an unusual kind of canvas around their native Germany: railings. From one angle, their work may look like abstract designs and splotches of paint. But stand in the right place, and you see their work morph into highly life-like portraits.


“We want people to go with open eyes through the streets,” wrote the artists via email. “Our art is very unobtrusive and not everyone has immediate access to it.” Meaning that you have to know where–and how–to look.

Each design takes up to 15 hours to complete and is either painted directly onto the railings or applied to paper in advance and then glued to the rails in strips. Zebrating uses trigonometry to get the perspective and optical distortions just right. “We survey and measure every railing for weeks before,” they say. So if you see a pair of striped snoopers who seem intensely interested in the neighborhood fence, you might be watching Zebrating in the wild.

About the author

Jennifer Miller is the author of The Year of the Gadfly (Harcourt, 2012) and Inheriting The Holy Land (Ballantine, 2005). She's a regular contributor to Co.Create.