Felice Varini’s site-specific paintings will have you dizzy as they distort your reality by altering your perception. Depending on where you stand or how you look her work, it looks completely different. One moment you are standing in front of a spiral of bright oranges, if you move to a different angle, skewed and broken. Her public works are painted on beams of buildings, walls of galleries, windows, and much more. The artist incorporates the entire space that her work inhabits into clever optical illusions, manipulating your eye into seeing something amazing.
Her eye-popping, bold shapes and vivid colors that she uses in her works make it impossible to ignore if you are lucky enough to spot one. Each shape the artist creates is like a piece to a puzzle that only fits together at the right moment, forcing you to pay attention to your surroundings. Varini’s optic art demands that you slow down and take a second to enjoy all that is around you, including her incredible artwork. If you don’t, you may just walk right pass it, only catching hints of blues and reds where there should have been squares and triangles. Felice Varini, originally hailing from Switzerland, now lives and works in Paris where she installs many of her brilliant works. (via Ignant)
At first glance, these twisted, manipulated, and camouflaged bodies appear to be the work of a photographer who is very skilled in Photoshop. However, the subjects in these photographs are not the product of digital alteration, but were transformed at the hand of a simple paintbrush. Artist Natalie Fletcher uses the body as a canvas, applying her paint and imagination directly upon the skin of her subjects. Formally trained at art school, she broke away from the traditional method of painting after graduation and began her pursuit as a master of body art. The artist uses the lines and color applied by paint as a means to create a variety of different captivating and puzzling optical illusions.
In her series titled Just An Illusion, op art breathes new life on the skin of her subjects, as she covers the bodies in spiraling lines. The bends formed in the patterns seem to warp the bodies so to us they appear twisted, sunk in, and even cut open. In another series of Natalie Fletcher’s, titled Against the Wall, an illusion is still apparent, as each body has been blended into the background thanks to her painterly magic. In some cases, it is difficult for you to decipher where the wall stops and where the paint begins. Fletcher’s talents in body painting has not gone unseen, as she has won GSN’s “Skin Wars” and is in the process of traveling across the country, painting two bodies in each state.
British set designer and artist Nicola Yeoman creates optical illusions via temporary installations. The complex arrangements use well-scoped vantage points and specifically-lit sets that conjure fantastical scenes. She uses both conventional and discarded objects in her work and places these objects in unexpected locations.
Yeoman combines moody lighting and a variety of textures to make her works appear simultaneously flat and three-dimensional. This is especially visible in her letter installations. The “D,” for instance, is crafted by negative space with chairs that occupy the foreground, middleground, and background. But, you wouldn’t necessarily realize it unless you looked closely – this photo is shot at just the right angle.
While some of Yeoman’s work is as specific as the alphabet, other installations are more mysterious. Outdoor scenes obscured by fog fill the composition, and paper planes and a silhouetted car on a journey into the unknown. Her work has the power to go in opposite directions – didactic and dreamy – and the well-thought compositions, allow her to take the viewer anywhere. (Via Yatzer)
German street artist 1010 uses tromp l’oeil technique in murals that occupy the sides of buildings and gallery spaces. The abstract shapes have rings of color and have just enough shading to give them the illusion that they’re different layers. It gives them the appearance of paper cutouts, with multiple colorful “sheets” highlight the incredible depth that’s on flat surfaces.
1010’s illusion makes the entire side of a building feel like something that’s as light as paper. Their scale is large enough to create a cavernous feel, like you could venture inside of these paintings. In this way, he creates a fantasy within the ordinary urban environment. You start to ponder: what if these structures really were made of something as delicate as paper? Where would this dark abyss lead, and what would be there? Considering the oddly-shaped holes, it could be anything.
Considerably ancient art form of calligraphy is brought to new dimensions by Tolga Girgin, a Turkish electrical engineer by trade and graphic designer by heart. His series of 3D calligraphic artworks witness how a little bit of imagination and skill can breathe life to a slowly disappearing craft.
Looking at Girgin’s graceful letters and strokes it seems like they are going to leap off the page and float into thin air. The eye-catching effect is achieved by combining skillful shading and perspective. Bright colors also do justice for Girgin’s works. His letterforms look more like paper cut-outs than two-dimensional drawings.
Girgin also practices “calligraffiti” which blends the properties of calligraphic style with modern day graffiti: the art of writing meets the art of getting your (pseudo) name up in an urban environment. Calligraffiti borrows inspiration from ancient lettering styles: Japanese ancient brush characters, Arabic pictorial scripts, medieval books and quill writing. The new form of art was originally named and pioneered by Dutch artist Niels Shoe Meulman. (via Colossal)
Creative murals by designer and street artist Mehdi Ghadyanloo are turning Tehran, Iran’s streets into an outstanding open-air gallery. Executed on two-dimensional blocks of concrete, Ghadyanloo’s artworks deceive the viewer’s eye by skillfully using methods from op art and 3D painting.
Mehdi has established a mural-painting company Blue Sky Painters, which helps him to work with the large-scale street art projects. What is not very frequent in the field, is that Ghadyanloo is fully backed up by the city’s municipality. According to the artist himself, it is one of the government’s goals to promote mural art in Tehran.
“The city is an architectural mishmash with buildings often having only one facade and the other three just left blank and grey. This doesn’t make for a beautiful city but it is a great environment for mural work. I think the municipality really felt the need to bring some cohesion or at least colour to the often confused and smog-smeared architectural face of the city.”
Ghadyanloo graduated from MA in Animation, which brought him closer to storytelling and surrealism. The latter has really influenced his style in urban murals. His scenes often depict unrealistic sights and actions such as cars flying in the air, man bicycling down the wall, people defying gravity and so on. Many of Ghadyanloo’s creations also cleverly interact with their surroundings bringing even more life to the streets of Tehran. (via: My Modern Met)
The animator and designer St. Francis Elevator Ride’s delightful animated gifs read like the 21st century’s response to the Pop Art masters of the 1950s; using vintage ad imagery, the artist marries retro aesthetics with modern technology. The 1950s moon landing even makes a subtle appearance! Using the seductive visual powers of color, form, and motion, he explores the endless allure of kitsch appliances, electronics, and other pop culture or commercial materials.
Like Richard Hamilton did with the iconic collage Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?, the mixed-media artist focuses much of his attention on domestic consumption. A chipper 1950s nuclear family is shown to be enjoying a night of bonding over screens, and a woman with perfectly coiffed hair replaces her eyes with dollar signs. The human body and sex drive become fused with images we intellectually associate with the media; as with the work of Roy Lichtenstein, flesh is rendered in polka dots, and women’s tears are represented in dramatic comic book-style shapes.
The body of work, dripping in a charming sort of irony, is made in a way that parallels its content. Like the Cleaver-esque family before the television, the viewer is seduced and transfixed by St. Francis Elevator Ride’s images. The eye is manipulated by an expert understanding of color; opposite colors like green and magenta alternate and flash at break-neck speed, forcing a sort of optical illusion that commands attention (this technique was widely employed by Andy Warhol). As technology and media integrate seamlessly into our home lives, our sense of identity shifts in challenging new directions; from these charming gifs, we might draw insight into the changing definitions of personal agency, selfhood, and intimacy.
The photographic murals of Mike Hewson don’t exactly decorate the buildings they inhabit. Rather, the murals create surreal optical illusions, highlighting the buildings by nearly making them disappear. Hewson, creatively uses perspective to erase walls or even entire structures. In some of his work this reveals the buildings inside – its purpose being put to use. Other times, his work interacts with the building in order to recall an empty space or a space’s potential. Hewson’s murals hints not only at structures that we’d often take for granted, but our often overlooked relationships with them.