You may be tempted to clean your glasses or rub your eyes when looking at Brian Downs’ illustrations, but that’s a completely normal reaction. The Minnesota-based artist has a collection of images which purposefully incorporates additional identical appendages onto his subjects in order to create an optical illusion effect, whereby the viewers’ eyes can’t completely comprehend what they’re looking at. It’s a weird yet totally gratifying series for those who like to admire art for more than its technical execution.
Brian Downs renders each one of these puzzling images monochromatically. The subjects are also people from decades past, when North American society seemed more innocent. These two things lull audiences into a false sense of comfort that’s then turned on its head once the brain tries to process each visual. The concept alone for these illustrations is clever enough to warrant applause.