Monday, October 17

bad art as a psychology experiment

Here are a couple of pieces that would fit right in at MOBA, the Museum of Bad Art. But my point is not just to rip on someone's poor drawing skills, but to look at what the art shows us about how our brains work.

This first one is a mural at a reggae club I used to go to in Cambridge, U.K., called Devonshire Arms. (Aside: Why are most of the bars in Cambridge—and probably in lots of other places in England—called This Arms or That Arms? My guess: It's a holdover from the days when pubs were associated with professional societies, so all the blacksmiths had their club, with a coat of arms, and they drank at a certain pub. But that's a wild guess.)

OK, so the big question about this one is not, "What does a pegasus and a rainbow have to do with reggae?" although that's one that's kept me pondering. What's really weird and funny about this one is that my friends and I joked about and ripped on this mural for like a half hour before suddenly I realized that the pegasus has EIGHT LEGS. How did we miss that? It almost made me shoot beer out my nose. But it's an example of how we often see what we expect rather than what's in front of us.

Then there's this one of ants crawling off into the sunset.

It might not be obvious what's wrong with this one. If you haven't picked out the problem, count how many ants wide the trail is in the foreground and then off toward the horizon. Why are there less ants farther away? The artist instinctively knew the trail should appear thinner as it gets farther away, but instead of shrinking the size of the ants (as would happen in real life) he just drew less ants.


Post a Comment

<< Home