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10 Mind-Blowing Illusion Paintings That Make You Look Twice

10 Mind-Blowing Illusion Paintings That Make You Look Twice

In life and in art, perception is reality. Things aren’t always what they seem to be… or are they? Over the years, artists have tried to used the power of illusions with mind-blowing paintings to challenge the human mind. Their works often leave us in awe, as we are left to ponder on the details of creating such strong and enlightening images.

Some images have a distinct mental twist to them, while others are only for entertainment. No matter what, there is no denying the artistic creativity of a mind-blowing painting that makes you look twice.

Here are ten mind-bending works of art from artists spanning several generations that will cause you to question reality. These artists use architectural precision and creative license to show you a world of impossible realities. Enjoy the Surrealism, Magical Realism and Optical  Illusions created by artists ranging from Oleg Shuplyak to M.C. Esher.

1. Tomek Sętowski

Tomek Setowski - Tutt'Art@ (16)

    Tomek Sętowski is a Polish artist known throughout the globe for his distinctive and dream-like style called “Magical Realism”. His art is filled with whimsical fairy-tale characters and beautiful women set among glittering cities floating high in the sky or deep underwater – sometimes both.

    http://www.tuttartpitturasculturapoesiamusica.com/2011/06/tomek-setowski-poland.html

    2. Oleg Shuplyak

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    13-oleg-shuplyak-illusion-two-birds

      Oleg Shuplyak is a Ukrainian surrealist artist who has mastered the the art of optical illusion. He  places characters, objects and coloring strategically throughout his scenic oil paintings to create two layers of images. He is famous for his surrealist depictions of historical famous figures, including Van Gogh, Darwin and Shakespeare.

      http://webneel.com/oleg-shuplyak-illusion-painting

      3. Robert Gonsalves

      magic-realism-paintings-rob-gonsalves-13__880

        Canadian artist, Robert Gonsalves, uses his skill as an architect to perfect his art of illusion. Gonsalves uses precision and imagination to turn everyday scenes into magic through the style of Magic Realism.

        http://www.boredpanda.com/magic-realism-paintings-rob-gonsalves/

        4. M.C. Escher

        slide_239193_1236489_free

          One of the most famous artists of illusion was Dutch graphic artist, M.C. Escher (a.k.a. Maurits Cornelis Escher). Through the medium of woodcuts, mezzo-tints and lithographs, Escher applied his knowledge of mathematics, architecture and geometry to create impossible and seemingly infinite constructions.

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          http://www.mcescher.com/

          5. Jos de Mey

          melancholy-tunes-winter-day

            Look closely at this painting by Flemish-Belgian artist, Jos de Mey. The wall is seemingly parallel to the viewer while the columns are definitely not. For the majority, he used acrylic paintings to create his artwork and primarily featured depictions of impossible objects in a photo-realistic style. He is also well known for borrowing characters from other artists such as Magritte, M.C. Escher, or in the image above, Bruegel.

            http://www.artsology.com/optical-illusions-art.php

            6. Julian Beever

            c9

              Contemporary artist Julian Beever uses the medium of chalk on public sidewalks to create one-of-a-kind, mind-bending illusions.

              http://julianbeever.net/

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              7. Salvador Dali

              Cinquenta Imagenes Abstractas by Salvador Dali OSA372

                Spanish surrealist, Salvador Dali, was one of the most prominent artists in his field. His grandiose and eccentric behavior could only be outdone by his wild and imaginative art.

                http://www.salvadordali.com/

                8. Michael Parkes

                Parkes_Michael-Desert_Dream

                  Michael Parkes’ brings to life breathtaking and romanticized dreamscapes. This American artist now resides in Spain where he works with painting, stone lithography and sculpture to create amazing Fantasy Art and Magic Realism.

                  http://theworldofmichaelparkes.com/cm/Home.html

                  9. Giuseppe Arcimboldo

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                  images

                    Giuseppe Arcimboldo was an Italian artist from the 1500’s. He was a master at tricking the eye reimagining everyday objects such as fruit, vegetables, flowers, books and even fish to create the illusion of faces. Arcimboldo arranged the produce with precision that the painting still gave a very recognizable likeness to the actual subject of the painting.

                    http://www.giuseppe-arcimboldo.org/

                    10. Vladimir Kush

                    27

                      Russian born artist, Vladimir Kush refers to his work as “Metaphorical Realism” as his oil paintings merges images to create fantastic, colorful imagery. Kush now lives in America. His art is on display in galleries throughout the U.S. He prominently creates seascapes and water images, though he also in known to blend images of animals and inanimate objects.

                      http://vladimirkush.com/Editions/

                      Featured photo credit: http://nuffer.name/gallery/March-trip-to-Mexico/optical_illusion_painting via nuffer.name

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                      Last Updated on July 17, 2019

                      The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

                      The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

                      What happens in our heads when we set goals?

                      Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

                      Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

                      According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

                      Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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                      Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

                      Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

                      The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

                      Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

                      So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

                      Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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                      One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

                      Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

                      Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

                      The Neurology of Ownership

                      Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

                      In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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                      But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

                      This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

                      Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

                      The Upshot for Goal-Setters

                      So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

                      On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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                      It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

                      On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

                      But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

                      More About Goals Setting

                      Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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