scorecardresearch

People are going crazy — again — over this giant ‘triple mural’ on Worcester’s Hanover Theatre

Artist Insane51's mural in Worcester gives viewers three different perspectives. This is the normal view, without 3D glasses.
Artist Insane51's mural in Worcester gives viewers three different perspectives. This is the normal view, without 3D glasses.(Lisa Drexhage/ Pow! Wow! Worcester!)

In case you haven’t heard the news, Worcester “is becoming cool.”

“I just think people haven’t realized that yet,” said Lisa Drexhage, codirector of Pow! Wow! Worcester’s mural and arts festival, an event that brings artists to the city from around the world and lets them create elaborate eye-popping works on the sides of walls and buildings.

One mural in particular, done by artist Insane51 on the side of the Hanover Theatre, seems to back up Drexhage’s claim about Worcester’s emergence as a hip and trendy community.

While the mural has been up for several months, it gained renewed interest — and captured the attention of those who didn’t even know it existed — Thursday, after the artist behind it posted a short video of his work to Instagram.

Advertisement



“It’s a touching image — a very cool image,” Drexhage said of the mural. “He had always planned on posting some sort of video or footage of the mural, and I think he waited to do that for Valentine’s Day.”

Artist Insane51's mural in Worcester gives viewers three different perspectives. This is the view through the red side of 3-D glasses.
Artist Insane51's mural in Worcester gives viewers three different perspectives. This is the view through the red side of 3-D glasses.(Lisa Drexhage/ Pow! Wow! Worcester!)

One look at the artwork and you can see why.

The massive artwork depicts a man and a woman, their foreheads touching intimately, in blue and red colors. The faint presence of their skeletons is visible beneath their skin.

But when using a pair of 3-D glasses to take in the mural, titled “Mooncake,” viewers can see more than meets the eye.

When looking through the red lens of the glasses, the man and woman become skeletons, giving the artwork a haunting feeling.

If a person then looks at the mural through the blue lens, the skeletons disappear, showing just the man and woman caught in an emotional embrace.

“You essentially get three murals in one,” Drexhage said. “He’s one of the few artists who does this type of artwork, so we were really thrilled to get him here.”

Advertisement



Insane51 (real name Stathis Tsavalias) demonstrated how the triple mural transforms while wearing the 3-D glasses in his Instagram post on Valentine’s Day. By Friday morning, the video had been viewed more than 75,000 times. On Facebook, it racked up 20,000 views.

It was also picked up and posted to the Reddit Boston page, giving it an additional boost.

Although the mural can be seen in three different ways, the style is actually called “Double Exposure 3D,” according to the Athens, Greece-based artist, and requires transparent spray paint to help get the desired effect.

Artist Insane51's mural in Worcester gives viewers three different perspectives. This is the view through the blue side of 3-D glasses.
Artist Insane51's mural in Worcester gives viewers three different perspectives. This is the view through the blue side of 3-D glasses.(Lisa Drexhage/ Pow! Wow! Worcester!)

Insane51’s post couldn’t have been more perfectly timed: Although his aim seems to have been to highlight the mural for Valentine’s Day, the video coincides with Worcester’s recent attempts to brand itself as a go-to destination.

After Conan O’Brien recently ribbed the city during an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” calling it “un-WOO-able,” officials launched a campaign — complete with a video — challenging the comedian to come and check out what the community has to offer.

“Business is booming, people are moving in, and we just landed a Triple-A affiliate for the Boston Red Sox,” Che Anderson, “deputy director of fun” and a committee member for Pow! Wow! Worcester, said in the video to O’Brien.

Advertisement



“We’re crushing it here in Worcester, and we want you to come see it for yourself,” he said.

Drexhage, Pow! Wow! Worcester’s codirector, was pleased by the attention Insane51’s mural was receiving.

While there are no definite plans for a 2019 mural festival at the moment, Drexhage hopes the video will convince people who don’t travel to Worcester often to take a drive into the city to scope out artwork from past festivals.

“We have a map — on Google Maps — showing where all of the murals are,” she said. “It’s definitely a day trip that people could come up here and do.”


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.