A South Carolina artist, Blue Sky, created the mural known as Tunnelvision to create the illusion of a road to another world. It is painted on a large blank wall abutting a downtown Columbia parking lot. The painting uses the tromp l’oeil effect, an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create an illusion that the depicted object exists in three dimensions. In the case of Tunnelvision, the painting shows a rocky portal to a world under a different moon, which if real, would be large enough to drive a car through.
Blue Sky painted the mural in 1975 after asking the city, and the bank whose wall the mural is painted on, multiple times. They finally agreed to the painting under the condition that he paint over it if they didn’t like it. Blue Sky said at the time, “I wanted to do in art what Beethoven had done in music… go right through to the next dimension.” Neither the city nor the bank has ever asked him to remove the mural. At 50 X 75 feet large, the mural is something to behold, and although touch-ups done by the artist over the years has helped maintain the accuracy of the scene, no accidents have been reported involving this convincing piece of fantasy.
The mural is definitely worth a detour when visiting the capital city of Columbia.
The mural is located at 1550 Marion Street in downtown Columbia, just a few feet away from the Busted Plug monument, a large sculpture done by the same artist.