An Optical Illusion For Your Inner Nocturnal Animal

I have an animal within who can see at night. And so do you. Humans have a setting on our eyes we use but rarely pay attention to: night vision.

Simulations of how animals see show that through another set of eyes, the world changes its color, sharpness, and contrast. With night vision, this simulation becomes real.

Last winter, I created a series of optical illusion candle prints that show the after-image effect.

This winter, I set out to create another optical effect: a lit candle that brightens as the eyes adjust to the dark.  The effect– a demonstration comparing our two types of vision rather than a true illusion–works because our night vision sees color differently, allowing a camouflaged flame to emerge Continue reading

Shine Pig Season

Shine Pig

As the sun sets each summer evening, it sends a shimmering pig up the side of a tall storage building down the street. At first, the pig looks like it’s standing on the sidewalk, then it ascends the wall and fades as the sun disappears.

Brian noticed and identified it a few years ago. I still remember him standing at the window of our apartment, repeating the phrase  Continue reading

Reversing the American Flag Optical Illusion

“I’m a vexillologist,” an older gentlemen said to me on the BART train platform, “and I’ve never seen that.”

He handed me his card. Vexillology is the study of flag symbolism.

I was on my way to the Oakland Women’s March carrying a large American flag that I had handmade several years ago.  I’d never taken it out of my studio. The flag is regulation-sized (3×5 feet) and totally official, except that I reversed the colors: the blue star field turned light yellow, red turned turquoise, and white turned black.

The Inverse U.S Flag Illusion

The inverse U.S. flag is a classic optical illusion, and I’d first come across it in a book of visual Continue reading