Urban Butterflies

Mantra is a French muralist and street artist, born in Metz (East of France) in 1987. He is a self-taught artist and currently one of the most important “avant-garde” graffiti artists in Europe.

Having developed over many years a very personal technique and skills, Mantra is able to realize artworks on any surface and of all scales using a great level of detail and realism. Mantra’s artwork bring concrete walls to life around the world, from Zaragoza, to Paris, passing by Vienna, Lima, Seattle, Brussels, Quito and Bogota.

The artist pays tribute to his childhood exotic heroes (butterflies, owls, spiders, birds…) in a realistic and lively style, like a mirror reflecting on the cries of a nature that we don’t hear anymore.

I love butterflies… There is no doubt that they have significant meanings to us. Butterflies are deep and powerful representations of life. Many cultures associate them with our souls. Around the world, people view the butterfly as representing endurance, change, hope, and life.

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Mantra-masterpiece

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Read Mantra interview on Street Art United States

Godzilla could turn off that switch!

on_off_switch Escif is a Spanish muralist and street artist, most of his work can be found in the streets of his town, Valencia, but also in countries such as Canada, France, Italy, Poland and more.
The use of subdued colors and simple lines helps the artist make a humorous statement on various sensitive social or political issues, like in this gigantic mural for Poland’s “Katowice Street Art Festival”.

Juxtaposed next to those who passers-by, the artwork looks ridiculously large. Carefully painting just a few colors, Escif gives the illusion that some sort of giant can really turn off that switch!

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Shadows Creating The Illusion of Depth

I particularly enjoyed the fishpond mosaics with 3D trompe-l’oeil effects by Gary Drostle. Gary is a UK award winning artist specializing in murals and mosaics. He made a series of fishpond floor mosaics with golden fish, the shadow of which creates the illusion of depth. The circular concentric ripples even boost the 3D depth effect of the compositions. I love the simplicity and ingenuity of these stunning pieces of art!

3D Mosaic fishpond

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Would you dare run on it?

This wavy floor is actually a mind-boggling optical illusion that discourages people from running down the hallway (in fact, the floor is a completely flat surface!).

Manchester firm Casa Ceramica used a neat combination of black and white tiles to make the floor along the hallway look as though it is uneven making the tiles appear to slope away into a dip.

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The illusion only works in one direction, so you will be perfectly safe on the way out.

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The making of the floor.

Many visual illusions have already been used to try and slow down traffic like this 3D-painted zebra crossing trialed in Iceland that provides an illusory effect of white blocks floating over the road.

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Move Away From the Past You Need to Leave Behind

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Two Zen monks noticed, at the edge of the river, a beautiful young maiden sat weeping because she was afraid to cross the river alone. She begged them to help her. The younger monk turned his back. The members of their order were forbidden to touch a woman.

The older monk picked up the girl without a word and carried her across the river. He put her down on the far side and continued his journey. The younger monk came after him, scolding him and berating him for breaking his vows. “As monks, we are not permitted a woman, how could you then carry that girl on your shoulders?” He went on and on like this for a very long time. The elder monk didn’t say a word.

Finally, the elder monk, exasperated, turned to the younger one. “I let her go as soon as we crossed the river. Why are you still carrying her?

How often do we carry around past hurts, holding onto resentments when the only person we are really hurting is ourselves.

Dynamic Müller-Lyer Illusion

I am very proud that my “Dynamic Müller-Lyer Illusion” won the third prize as best illusion of the year 2017!

As you surely know, the “BEST ILLUSION OF THE YEAR CONTEST” is a yearly competition under the patronage of Scientific American, organized by the Neural Correlate Company (New York, USA).

Müller-Lyer’s illusion proves that a segment can visually appear longer or shorter depending on the sense of the arrow heads at its ends. In what consists my variant? As shown in the animation, the red dot in the middle of the line is equidistant from the other two red dots, although the ends of the line visually appear to alternately stretch and shrink like a rubber band!

The radial version of the illusion is even more impressive:

The perceptual increasing and decreasing of the segments occurs in a very short time. Thus, I suppose it is more a physiological phenomenon, rather than a psychological bias. Our attention seems to be attracted by the receptive field WITHIN the V-shaped arrow heads, causing an illusory inward or outward shift of the ends of the line.

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