Optical illusions are drawings and images that “trick” the mind into seeing two (or more) images at once. Optical illusions are pictured in many “game” books and are even used in psychology classes to explain the science behind how the human mind works. Yet optical illusions are good for viewing for more reasons than gameplay or brain study, optical illusions can increase creative thinking and kick start ideas in the minds of people who already have a creative flare inside of them.
Optical illusions are a great muse for people who are creative. Optical illusions are particular sights to behold. The Internet has led to a number of websites that include a wide array of them; illusions.org being one such location with a vast and impressive collection indeed. Anyone who is interested in optical illusions will certainly find a lot to explore within its content.
Some people have made a career out of creating optical illusions. Rob Gonsalves is one such artist who has dedicated his career to paintings and drawings that make viewers look twice. Born in Canada in 1959, Rob Gonsalves’ artwork is generally considered “magical realism.” Influenced by the abstract surrealist work of Salvador Dali, Rob Gonsalves applied the same realist techniques to surreal surroundings that also doubled as optical illusions, such as tricking viewers eyes into seeing both a house and a tree house at the same time.
For those who pen fantasy novels or those who like viewing unusual artwork, pieces like Rob Gonsalves’ “The Mosaic Moat” is a great way to induce creative thoughts that result in useful muse for stories of other worldly landscapes. In fact, most optical illusions (especially those in “high art” formats) have imaginative value for viewers.
Optical illusions can also be used in academic discussions, mostly pertaining to the “deeper meanings” that certain creative works can convey. For example, “Great Expectations” is an optical illusion that can serve as a starting point to a conversation about “layered” messages. The picture depicts two distinctive sides, one showing a boy and a woman layering bricks and planting trees. The other side of the picture shows a flourishing community filled with full grown trees, large houses, and paved roads. The meanings behind this picture can be considered from numerous standpoints. The fact that it is a man and a woman (or a boy and a woman, if one was to note an ode to generational differences) laying bricks and planting trees could be a symbol of humanity and the continuation of the human species. The laying of the bricks is symbolic in that it represents laying the foundation for what will one day become a thriving community. Planting trees represents life itself since all life is sustained via oxygen which plants create. Hence, from this single picture it is easy to understand how a conversation about philosophy can be instigated…and the same can be said for many optical illusions and surrealist art forms.
Art is always a good subject to learn, especially when it is also beneficial to creative thinking and discussion skills that will be needed in higher education settings such as college. Parents who homeschool should introduce their children to optical illusions and encourage them to think deeply and abstractly about the picture(s) they are seeing and how their minds perceive the meanings of the images. For slightly older children (at least 8-10) a lesson such as this might be a doorway into a lifelong love of art, philosophy and abstract thinking.