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"My artistic training is in the field of realistic painting. The techniques of realism have been developed by artists over many centuries. Many of these techniques are basically tricks of visual deception which are used to make two-dimensional images present the illusion of three-dimensional objects and spaces, illusions of texture, and even suggestions of motion. While painting I have often been amazed at both the sophistication and the limitations of our ability to interpret visual information. The expression perceived in a painting of a person's face can change dramatically with a slight fleck of paint in the eye or smudge on the brow, yet the perception of another area of the same painting may be completely insensitive to details of line, color or tone. The painter is often surprised by unintended visual perceptions and interpretations in the painted image. A painted horizon can looked tilted or curved even though it is measured by a ruler to be absolutely horizontal. A part of the sky might need to be painted a dull orange in order to make it appear to be the right shade of blue! Light objects in the shadows often need to be painted a much darker tone than you can imagine would be necessary.

"These observations led me to explore the anomolies that seem to occur at the limits of our visual perception, and the interfaces of our mental processes. Although these optical studies often took me far beyond effects that would seem to be useful in my realistic paintings, I have found a certain beauty in some of images that were arrived at by simple graphic algorithms. Beauty, we know, is in the eye of the beholder...but so it seems is the straightness of a line, the roundness of a circle, and the perception of motion in colors!"

Kaia Nao is a pseudonym for the graphic optical art of Joe Hautman who is known for his realistic paintings of wildlife.



Optical Illusions
Stereograms and more