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Trevor and Ryan Oakes' perspective easel
October 26, 2008 10:43 AM   Subscribe

Twin brothers Trevor and Ryan Oakes have a new technique for drawing perspective. Unlike the camera obscura and camera lucida (allegedly) employed by Renaissance masters, their method uses an easel with a curved steel frame which splits the artist's view into a grid and a skullcap to lock his head into place. By employing an optical trick similar to magic-eye stereoscopy, the artist can superimpose what he sees onto a thin strip of his paper. The result? Richly detailed line drawings on concave surfaces. Their website. (Look for Trevor's pipe cleaner weavings and the see-through concave cardboard wall). More, more and more.
posted by hydrophonic (24 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
I saw these guys senior show at Cooper Union some years ago, they displayed together then as well.. Really interesting stuff, and I'm glad to see they're still creating cool things.
posted by piratebowling at 11:03 AM on October 26, 2008


It looks like a mediƦval torture device.

This technique also seems to inherently call for many, small lines, which looks very strange when the observer knows the line he is seeing ought to be one, long continuous shot, but the drawing has many slightly disjointed lines end-to-end.

Interesting concept, but it's not for me.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:05 AM on October 26, 2008


very cool
posted by leotrotsky at 11:06 AM on October 26, 2008


Why not do pencil work with the easel and then paint it later.

It's also a bit depressing that there are no people in the drawings.
posted by empath at 11:08 AM on October 26, 2008


Man, it'd be cool to set that matchstick bowl on fire.
posted by sonic meat machine at 11:09 AM on October 26, 2008 [9 favorites]


The drawings don't really move my world, but the pipe cleaner weavings and especially the matchstick bowl are really neat.
posted by Forktine at 11:20 AM on October 26, 2008


Interesting proof of concept. And the drawings look pretty cool. The warmth of hand drawing should not be underestimated.

You could take a photograph, pop the image into an opaque projector, project onto a sheet of paper, and draw on the paper. Might be easier than having to hold your head in some....device.
posted by Xoebe at 11:37 AM on October 26, 2008


Brings to mind the detailed realism of autistic artist Stephen Wiltshire who often draws from memory.

Check out his drawings of Rome and Tokyo (among the many cities) which he completed after having a helicopter ride over each city. (videos: Rome and Tokyo.

Previously on MeFi.
posted by ericb at 11:40 AM on October 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I love this-- love the needless mechanism, and love the implicit nerdiness of wanting to project the world on the interior of a sphere to match the view from the eye. I remember the first time I saw a pinhole camera projection of a set of spheres, and being floored that they were such obvious ellipses, and wondering how to do away with the perceived distortion.
posted by phooky at 11:40 AM on October 26, 2008


I'm also reminded of the drawings of Matteo Pericoli. Check out his Manhattan Unfurled and Manhattan Within.

"Manhattan Unfurled" is two continuous pen-and-ink drawings of Manhattan's skyline. The book opens accordion-fashion into a 22-foot-long panorama, the east on one side, west on the other. The drawings are from the perspective of a boat tour taken around the island. "He started the drawing in May of 1998, working nights and weekends." (The New Yorker, December 13, 1999).

"Manhattan Within" is another 22-foot-long drawing, this one in color, which also unfurls accordion-style, giving a 360-degree view of the Manhattan skyline as viewed from inside Central Park. The drawing contains over 620 buildings (with over 35,800 windows!) including the Guggenheim, Rockefeller Center, the Dakota, the Plaza Hotel and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Beastie Boys also used Pericoli's two Manhattan banners for the artwork of 'To The 5 Boroughs.'
posted by ericb at 11:50 AM on October 26, 2008


I would love to see an animated, projected version of this...

Also, is a perfect partial sphere actually the best model for our field of vision? Is that correct? Hmm.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:54 AM on October 26, 2008


Witches, witches, I say!
posted by redsparkler at 12:05 PM on October 26, 2008


i have an old issue of natl geographic with an article on one of the early nasa lunar lander missions (ranger?), anyway, there's a shot of the nasa scientists pasting stacks of small, narrow-angle pictures from the lander to the inside of spheres, so they could be re-shot for wide-angle images...i will never take photoshop for granted again.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:43 PM on October 26, 2008


In a previous life I worked on immersive virtual reality applications.

This seems to be a cool application, if we could create curved LCD HMD eyepieces for the optics. I'll get on the phone to my VC guy in the morning, LOL.
posted by troy at 12:45 PM on October 26, 2008


Wonderful mix of science and art, a favorite combination. Science art rocks. Something enticing about Ryan's drawings, which remind me of both contour maps and patchwork. Patchwork maps?

The moment I saw the wood match art I thought how many times I've looked at wood matches and savored their beauty, about time somebody made intelligent art with them. I love his geometrical bowl shapes.

These young art scientists are onto something, lots of things, they're perceptual explorers. I just think that's so cool.

The Institute For Figuring site from your second "more" link has just my cup of science and art, some of which is related to Trevor's knitted pipe cleaners which are totally wow. Like the Crocheting the Hyperbolic Plane stuff, which I'm gaga about, like crocheted coral, chaos (image). There is something endearing about Trevor using pipe cleaners, that old, now hardly used for their original purpose, combo of chenille and wire.

Thanks for the post.
posted by nickyskye at 12:57 PM on October 26, 2008


Interesting stuff, thanks hydrophonic!
posted by carter at 3:12 PM on October 26, 2008


Outstanding post!

I read Hockney's book some time back with great interest. I'm a big Caravaggio fan, so it was a real eye-opener to read Hockney's analysis of some of Caravaggio's works. While profound in emotional depth, certain of Caravaggio's paintings contain technical errors, which even an amateur like myself can spot. But being an amateur as far as art history goes also means that I don't have the background necessary to judge whether Hockey's theories are correct or not.

Previously on Metafilter we have seen this kind of unique perspective mapping using modern photographic and computer methods.

These guys seem to have hit on something really unique and worthwhile, both artistically and scientifically. As a non-artist, the closest I can come to comparing what they do to my own experience is having used microscopes and loupes. Your natural inclination is to squint one eye closed, but you soon learn this is excessively tiring, and you then learn to keep both eyes open, and ignore the input of the other eye. These guys have obviously "taken it to the next level".

I've been to the camera obscura in San Francisco, and I'm glad to learn that there are others around the United States.

This is one of the most interesting Metafilter posts I've read in a long time, thus I'm compelled to go beyond the obligatory "favorite", and suggest that it's sidebar worthy.
posted by Tube at 4:04 PM on October 26, 2008


Not only do all their ideas strike me as unique and insightful, I loved reading about the thought processes and experiments that brought them to where they are now. Those comments that disparage the technique as pointless, or akin to projecting an image are completely missing the point. You might as well say that Seurat should've just used brush strokes and made it easier on himself.

Wow, just wow. Thanks, hydrophonic.
posted by artifarce at 4:19 PM on October 26, 2008


Not only do all their ideas strike me as unique and insightful, I loved reading about the thought processes and experiments that brought them to where they are now. Those comments that disparage the technique as pointless, or akin to projecting an image are completely missing the point. You might as well say that Seurat should've just used brush strokes and made it easier on himself.

Wow, just wow. Thanks, hydrophonic.
posted by artifarce at 4:22 PM on October 26, 2008


The post so good, I had to comment twice.
posted by artifarce at 4:22 PM on October 26, 2008


This is nothing short of fantastic. Who thinks of these things, and then actually implements them? I guess I'm just a lazy bum...
posted by photomusic86 at 7:09 PM on October 26, 2008


Hand With Reflecting Sphere, lithograph (with Mark I Eyeball), M.C. Escher, January 1935.
posted by cenoxo at 7:55 PM on October 26, 2008


Neat!

Certainly not art, but I like it anyway

Who? Me? Troll? Never.
posted by rusty at 12:51 PM on October 27, 2008


This was pretty interesting. I have been reading a bit about the "consciousness art" movement, that's seeking to sort of replace the reflexive "postmodernism" that's dominated contemporary art, and this fits in well. Cool stuff!
posted by klangklangston at 7:34 PM on October 28, 2008


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