Look Twice: 10 Artists Who Specialize in Optical Illusion

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6. Thomas Barbéy
Photographer Thomas Barbéy uses photos from his travels in the past two decades to create surreal situations and scenes, and often marries two photos that are decades apart in one image. He prefers to shoot in 35mm and uses an enlarger and darkroom to create his photo illustrations. Tiny skiers careen down the edge of a bed sheet, the keys of a piano bleed into the stripes of two zebras and a hilltop castle hovers over the center of Niagara Falls in Barbéy’s fantastical photographs.

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7. Oleg Shuplyak
On first glance, Oleg Shuplyak’s dreamy paintings appear to be classically-styled landscapes, or portraits of figures from art, culture and fiction. On second glance, the optical illusions are actually both—classic landscape imagery and figures are carefully styled to represent eyes, noses, mouths and hair to their larger counterparts (who happen to be figures like Vincent Van Gogh, Charles Darwin and John Lennon).

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8. Edgar Mueller
German artist Edgar Mueller doesn’t toy with the fear of height—he creates the fear on flat, public spaces by painting over them to change their appearance. A street suddenly has an enormous cracked glacier, a smooth river quickly turns into a waterfall with a seemingly 90-degree drop and a cavernous lava pit takes over a street in some of Mueller’s works.

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9. Felice Varini
From one vantage point, Felice Varini’s paintings are simplistic geometric shapes that look like they have been photoshopped over regular rooms, living spaces and buildings. From another angle, they appear to be fragmented pieces haphazardly painted in various areas. Varini uses anamorphosis to trick the eye to see a complete object from a certain point. In his project “Cercle et suite d’éclats” Varini painted perfect anamorphosis circles over an entire town in the Swiss Alps.

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10. Ramon Bruin
Dutch artist Ramon Bruin specializes in airbrushing, but his drawings are intricate optical illusions that appear to jump off the drawing pads. Also using the anamorphosis technique, Bruin’s drawings are created as slightly distorted to display a scene that appears to be 3-D from a certain vantage point.

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