It could be called the ultimate in modern art - three-dimensional street paintings that have risen to popularity not through traditional exhibitions but via e-mails circling the world. At Quarry Bay yesterday two of the world's best joined a collective of local artists to create the unique paintings, which rely on perspective, to amaze crowds on the paved street at Taikoo Place. The Illusion of Art Exhibition is a two-day event run in conjunction with the Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation and Swire Island East. Manfred Stader, 47, who with partner Edger Muller, 38, is one of the few artists recognised as a 'master madonnaro', or street-painting master, has spent more than 20 years street painting. While the pair were busy yesterday sketching a frighteningly realistic great white shark bursting through the road in front of hundreds of onlookers, Stader said the crowds were not always so positive. 'I've been doing this since 1984 and it was not as popular then. People in Europe used to ignore it or if they were drunk, throw things at you, because they said they had seen it all before,' he said. 'Now with these images all over the world on e-mail, everyone seems to appreciate them more and want to find out more about how it's done. 'This is the first time we've been in Hong Kong and the response is amazing.' Stader said the thrill of street art came from painting in front of crowds rather than in a studio. 'People come and watch and then, when it's finished, they can interact with the work,' he said. 'There will be kids standing on those tiles pretending the shark is after them.' Local artist Chow Chun-fai was busy preparing a typical Hong Kong street scene - road works. He said he had studied perspective in art, and street art allowed him to stretch the boundaries of the craft. 'You have to do more calculations for perspective art,' he said. 'It's a long tradition which comes from the 16th century.' Chow, who has held exhibitions in Austria, Beijing and Hong Kong, chose the theme of workers because locals would easily identify with it. 'How many streets are there where this is not going on?' he said The artists will finish their works by about midday today.