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What Do You See?

“Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?” – Hamlet, William Shakespeare

As with my previous entry, I will start with a quote from Leonardo Da Vinci. If you read my previous post you already know about my admiration for him. He said “if you look at any walls spotted with various stains or with a mixture of different kinds of stones, if you are about to invent some scene you will be able to see in it a resemblance to various different landscapes adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys, and various groups of hills. You will also be able to see divers’ combats and figures in quick movement, and strange expressions of faces, and outlandish costumes, and an infinite number of things which you can then reduce into separate and well-conceived forms.” This refers to a psychological phenomenon that we today call Pareidolia. It basically revers the brain’s ability to see faces, animals or even objects in random patterns.

It is ability we all poses and as a creative person normal things I see every day tend to come alive with all kinds of characters spurred on by my imagination. Anyone who has ever stared up at the clouds and have seen something other than a cloud, like a dog or a house or even the face of some famous person would know exactly what I mean. Pareidolia is not limited to sight though as people will sometimes hear voices or rhythm in sound witch has none and this may very well be the culprit in many EVP (Electronic voice phenomenon) cases.

I believe this phenomenon can be an important tool in an artist’s arsenal and I think when developed can help one create truly unique works of art. Every morning when I take a shower I come face to face with a tiled wall and every day I see new faces and objects within its random patterns. I’ve added a few of the tiles with a simple sketch depicting what I see.

What interesting things do you see in everyday objects and patterns? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below!!!

Franscois Potgieter

Founder, Artist, The Mind Is Right


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