January 17th, 2014

Trompe l’oeil

A cardboard box of money isn’t always what it seems:


People are amazing, aren’t they?

17 Responses to “Trompe l’oeil”

  1. Ymarsakar Says:

    Now that is true Art. An action of creation, pulling from the imagination and rendering into reality what once existed only in the realm of illusion.

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    A Japanese TV station interviewed Randall because of this incredible work.

    I see the Japanese are always on the lookout for odds and ends, resulting from true artistic creation.

  3. Gringo Says:


  4. T Says:

    I love works like this that play with levels of reality. This is a very skilled craftsman

    I say craftsman rather than artist because this is not a new vision. Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns were doing this in the 1960s and people were complaining that there was nothing ‘artsy” about a Brillo box, a coffee can filled with artists brushes or two Ballentine beer cans. The Brillo Box is painted wood (like the box of money) and the brushes and Ballantine cans are painted cast bronze.

    Andy Warhol link

    Jasper Johns link

    Works like this call into question levels of (and the nature of) reality much like The Matrix or Inception do on film.

  5. mizpants Says:

    Looking at the succession of photos showing the development of the work, I instantly thought of the bodies developing inside pods in the Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The process has some of the same creepy fascination.

  6. expat Says:


  7. rickl Says:

    Ymarsakar Says:
    January 17th, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Now that is true Art. An action of creation, pulling from the imagination and rendering into reality what once existed only in the realm of illusion.

    I agree. It also demonstrates tremendous technical skill. While you can have art without technical skill and technical skill without art, the two of them together can’t be beat.

    This is why I like Norman Rockwell so much. He is my favorite American artist and my favorite 20th Century artist, period.

    Not to change the subject, but Baron Bodissey wrote an excellent post about Rockwell, the changing American culture, and some other things:

    Bearing True Faith and Allegiance

  8. Ymarsakar Says:

    A vision is very specific. Art works can be copied, but it gets real obvious when the object is unique.

    For example, even in martial arts there are only six ways to break or dislocate a human joint, six vectors. But original technique construction and deconstruction can use hybrid combinations of 2 or more to produce the number of “locks” you see in things like MMA.

    They aren’t doing anything fundamentally different, and the end result utilizes much of the same technique crafting, but the overall result is still different if even one link in the chain was changed.

    The only art I practice in martial arts is controlling the flow of energy such as torque, leverage, momentum, gravity acceleration, and various skeletal-musculature pulley systems. It’s difficult to create energy and it’s difficult to negate energy without divine powers. But changing the impact of gravity and momentum can often look like magick to others.

    I have a vision of what I want the target to become, then I grab the necessary tools out of the box and make it happen. The actual techniques may or may not be the same as what other people use. The result is what matters in the end. And even if the result is the exact same as the result someone else created, that is still an act of creation, because the space-time coordinates are different.

    The modern dojo methods of training tend to produce drones or soldier ants, so watch out for that kind of unthinking reflexive response. On a technical level it may be proficient, but on an artistic command level, it is deficient. One cannot create if one is merely copying or waiting on orders.

    Rockwell’s paintings had a good draw and glow to them.

  9. Charles Says:

    I’ve often heard artists, specifically sculptors, say that they see the sculpted object inside the block of stone, wood, etc. just waiting to get out.

    I don’t know if this artist thinks the same way; but, I can sure say that I would have never seen that “money in a box” waiting to get out of that block of wood. What a fantastic piece of work!

  10. jms Says:

    > I say craftsman rather than artist because this is not a new vision.

    I heard this a long time ago and it strikes me as very true:

    The laborer creates with his hands
    The craftsman creates with his mind
    The artist creates with his heart.

    What is here is clearly superb craftsmanship. But it’s beyond that. The details show such imagination — all the little folds and irregularities and shading — that I can’t imagine that anyone could or would do this sort of work without pouring their heart into it. I read it as art.

  11. neo-neocon Says:

    For those of you who like Norman Rockwell, here are two posts I wrote on the subject: this and this. You might also be interested in this.

  12. Ymarsakar Says:

    I am also reminded of the Japanese aesthetic wabi-sabi. Finding beauty in age, experience, pain, or sadness.

    This is certainly an old box and has many individual quirks to it.

  13. T Says:

    “I read it as art.”

    Ant thus the true beauty of multiple points of view.

    Another contribution to trompe l’oeil.


  14. Yancey Ward Says:

    That was utterly amazing!!

  15. Ymarsakar Says:

    Shimata, bakana.

    Might be one Japanese rhetorical reaction.

  16. rickl Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    January 18th, 2014 at 12:47 am

    For those of you who like Norman Rockwell, here are two posts I wrote on the subject: this and this. You might also be interested in this.

    Thanks, neo. That was a trip down Memory Lane. It’s too bad that the comments on those old posts are seemingly in random order.

    I see that I left a comment likening Rockwell to Vermeer, and the Baron compared him to Rembrandt in the post I linked on this thread. Both comparisons are entirely apt. Rockwell is truly one of the all-time greats.

  17. neo-neocon Says:


    Actually—for future reference—the way the comments on the old posts work, the ones that were imported here from my old blog on Blogger, is that they are in backwards order. They’re not random, but it’s certainly confusing. If you want to read the comments in order, just scroll down to the bottom, read that one first, and then read in ascending order. The time stamps have nothing to do with when they were written, though. I think the time stamps represent when they were imported here, or something like that.

    That was the only way the comments could get imported to this blog, and I don’t think there’s any way to fix it. But at least they’re here.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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