Tom French’s Optical Illusion Paintings

two optical illusion portraits

Tom French began making his own “Vanitas” art series in charcoal, and in recent years has moved on to using oil paint instead. Clearly basing his work from past artists like Charles Allan Gilbert and Salvador Dali, French creates a modern version of the illusional portrait and keeps it in black-and-white like the 1892 “All is Vanity.” Paint drips and heavy brushstrokes give a dramatic and expressive feel to each face. Now these faces have skin but before the artist focused solely on skulls; since he has grasped the key elements to making effective illusions, it has become easier for him to do other variations.

black and white painting optical illusion painting, black and white
closeup of painting double portraits partial face 2 vanitas, skull illusion painting by Tom French vanitas skull illusion
Images © Tom French.
Adriana de Barros

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Adriana is the Webby Award–winning designer and editor of Scene360 and Tat'oo magazine. Acquring 20 years of writing experience in fine arts, Adriana has dedicated her current energy to documenting the lives and work of tattooists. Published on Inked, Skin Deep, Tattoo Life, and other magazines. Follow the author @ Instagram Facebook and view more articles.