art, reverse perspective

An unexpected funhouse

“It’s about an artist who paints in reverse perspective,” I say and invariably the response is, “What’s reverse perspective?”

The background: It’s an art term with a specific, distorted meaning. Put simply, objects in the background are portrayed larger than objects in the front of the image. Here’s a video that explains it:

In Distortion, I use reverse perspective first as an art form and then as a way of looking at the world of a mystery. My sleuths are looking in the background of a murder for clues. They’re searching the background of each suspect for things that don’t add up. But quietly, I’m also using reverse perspective on the reader.

The background isn’t only distorted, it’s interacting with the storyline in ways that throw the reader off-balance.

You’re not certain what will happen next, or whether it will take place in front or behind the main storyline. The best demonstration I can find of that interplay is in the art of Patrick Hughes, a reverse perspective 3D master. This guy paints reverse perspective images on protruding panels within a regular painting. As you move from side to side, the image changes, the relationship between front and back spaces gets distorted. Watch the way people bop around his paintings through this video.


It’s an unexpected funhouse.


6 thoughts on “An unexpected funhouse”

  1. I would love to see this exhibit! Watching the attendees bobbing up and down is hilarious. I’d be doing the same. I suppose it’s intentional interactive art? Very cool.

  2. Hughes is amazing. I saw his work in London. 20 years later, it was still in my mind enough that when I wrote this book, I searched for him so I could refer to him in the narrative. Great vision.

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