About Optical Art

It seems to me that ‘Optical Art’ is about using fundamental psychological and mathematical principles that inform the way we interpret the universe, to create what – I hope – are beautiful and interesting pictures.

Triangle 3
“Triangle” by Chris Tucker, 1968 – One thousand painted cubes of wood, cut and glued, making a 3D effect. Dimensions are 60″ x 60″ inches / 153 x 153cms

Physicists Hawking and Mlodinow wrote in their book ‘The Grand Design’ (page 46), published by Bantam Press in 2010:

In vision, one’s brain receives a series of signals down the optic nerve. Those signals do not constitute the sort of image you would accept on your television. 

There is a blind spot where the optic nerve attaches to the retina, and the only part of your field of vision with good resolution is a narrow area about 1 degree of visual angle around the retina’s centre, an area the width of your thumb when held at arm’s length.

And so the raw data sent to the brain are like a badly pixilated picture with a hole in it. Fortunately, the human brain processes that data, combining the input from both eyes, filling in the gaps on the assumption that the visual properties of neighbouring locations are similar and interpolating.

Moreover, it reads a two-dimensional array of data from the retina and creates from it the impression of three dimensional space. The brain, in other words, builds a mental picture or model”

Optical Art takes this “assumption that the visual properties of neighbouring locations are similar and interpolating” and creates images, that do not have these properties or the sub-conscious expected psychological baggage of ‘reality’ (chairs, people, books, television, trees, et al) and confuses this assumption.

By using geometry, number series, colour theory and artistic intuition, Optical pictures can, at the same time, be alluring, disturbing, exciting and intrigue the viewer. Their appreciation is not a function of history, culture, education or context, but they do say to the viewer:

“What are you looking at? Why do I move? Why am I disturbing you? Why do I keep your attention?”

‘Optical Art’ provides a counterpoint and juxtaposition to the way some realities are presented in a Photoshop, special effect, technology driven world.

Click here to see some of my 3Dimensional  artworks and Optical Art Objects.

The Beauty of Geometry

There’s the geometry of perspective, number series – the golden section ratio, integral calculus and complex numbers.

Combine this with traditional artistic disciplines – painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, colour theory and some of the opportunities for optical phenomenon explored by artists like Vasarely and Riley –  mix in a little environmental psychology and computer science, and we have the most fabulous palette available with which to create pictures.

I was fortunate to be born into the second half of the 20th century, where the freedom to express visual thinking was established by some truly ‘revolutionary’ artists, including Cézanne, Gauguin, van Gogh, Picasso, Braque, Lichtenstein, Rothko, Pollock and Escher.

The influence of these observations, disciplines, knowledge and experience has allowed me to create images that I love and excite me.

I try to create images that can appear to be three dimensional; or kinetic; or puzzling; or disturbing; or beautiful; or mesmerising; or meditative; or alluring; or any combination thereof.

Furthermore, physicists Hawking and Mlodinow wrote in their book ‘The Grand Design’ (page 46) Published by Bantam Press in 2010:

“In vision, one’s brain receives a series of signals down the optic nerve. Those signals do not constitute the sort of image you would accept on your television.

There is a blind spot where the optic nerve attaches to the retina, and the only part of your field of vision with good resolution is a narrow area about 1 degree of visual angle around the retina’s centre, an area the width of your thumb when held at arm’s length.

And so, the raw data sent to the brain are like a badly pixilated picture with a hole in it. Fortunately, the human brain processes that data, combining the input from both eyes, filling in the gaps on the assumption that the visual properties of neighbouring locations are similar and interpolating.

Moreover, it reads a two-dimensional array of data from the retina and creates from it the impression of three-dimensional space. The brain, in other words, builds a mental picture or model”

Optical Art takes this “assumption that the visual properties of neighbouring locations are similar and interpolating” and creates images, that do not have these properties or the sub-conscious expected psychological baggage of ‘reality’ (chairs, people, books, television, trees, et al) and confuses this assumption.

By using geometry, number series, colour theory and artistic intuition, Optical pictures can, at the same time, be alluring, disturbing, exciting and intrigue the viewer. Their appreciation is not a function of history, culture, education or context, but they do say to the viewer:

“What are you looking at? Why do I move? Why am I disturbing you? Why do I keep your attention?”

‘Optical Art’ provides a counterpoint and juxtaposition to the way some realities are presented in a Photoshop, special effect, technology driven world. Click to see some of my 3Dimensional  artworks and Optical Art Objects.

 

The first home

Young couples already zealous for their memories in the future commissioned me to draw their first homes in London.

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#1 – Chloe & Danny – Bromley, London – 2017

The drawing #1 is the first house of Chloe and Danny, in Bromley, London, to where they moved on last November. The image also shows the first car. The drawing was made in pencil on fine art paper and measures 420 x 297 cms.

A pencil drawing requires special techniques and the final effect is a smooth, calm, a peace of art – nice to look at it.

Usually I recommend a pencil drawing when the subject does not have too many details, like a house with no bricks, for example.

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2# – Lucy & Callum – Brockley, London – 2017

The 2# drawing shows the first house of Lucy & Callum, in Brockley, London, to where they move on July 2016.

The drawing was made with pen and ink – the ideal technique to use when the subject is more complex, with lots of details. The image has 210 x 297 cms.

If you want a pencil drawing  of your home or any other subject, contact us at Contact & Purchase.