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AI: If You Gaze Long into the Paint, the Paint Gazes Back (But Not Really)

I painted a picture, just for you. Enjoy it! Oh wait, I have a task for you as well. I want to try to induce pareidolia in your brains. Pareidolia involves the brain interpreting a vague or random stimulus as significant.

Please take a few moments to stare at this more or less random arrangement of color and form on a two dimensional surface.

Can you find all 16 Jesus-faces on toast?

Do you perceive anything ‘hidden’ in the painting? Do you see any faces, limbs, land masses, monsters? Maybe a delicious plate of spaghetti? Is it just a random arrangement of color, tone and form on a flat surface? What do you see?


The ART Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Mad Art Lab community. Look for it to appear Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 3pm ET.

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Brian George

Brian George

Brian George is an illustrator who lives and works in the Van Beardswick neighborhood of Brooklyn. His fierce love of cheesecake is often (but not always) thwarted by his intolerance for lactose. He will draw and paint for your amusement (‘amusement’ is archaic Etruscan slang for ‘money’). Visit his portfolio, follow his tweets @brianggeorge or on G+


  1. April 13, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I see [ahem] a well-hung man on the right. Damn I hate it when I do that.

  2. April 13, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Upper left: Hawk, from Buck Rogers season 2.

    Bottom center: blue hip-wader

    Upper right: Cthulhu peeking into the frame

    Bottom left: sea anemones

  3. April 13, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    @sisyphusrocks: And now I can’t unsee it 😉

    @Steve D: I saw that face in the upper left when I was posting this and NOW IT’S BECOME HAWK! Totally forgot about that show. We used to drink from Buck Rogers mugs at my grandma’s as kids. I bet she still has them.
    Also, the blue hip wader is supposed to be a reverse Italy that has asphyxiated.

  4. April 14, 2011 at 12:03 am

    I see half of a butterfly. Lamest pareidolia ever.

  5. April 14, 2011 at 12:06 am

    Female torso, with some colorful VD. Sorry, I’m being honest. I wish my first impression had been ‘Planck at the moment of realization’ or something, but it wasn’t….

  6. April 14, 2011 at 12:58 am

    I see a pretty faces, forms, or monsters…

  7. April 14, 2011 at 7:41 am

    What geologic said…

  8. April 14, 2011 at 8:50 am

    If you turn it counter clockwise 90 degrees, it makes a nice landscape with a building or castle (mid left) near the ocean (blue waders) with some rocks and trees in the foreground and a storm moving in from the right on the horizon and a red sun breaking through the haze.

  9. April 14, 2011 at 9:52 am

    @breadbox: Since there is nothing actually there, I don’t think that any interpretation is lame 🙂

    @Scopes Monkey Matt: Now you’ve hit on the actual intent of this article; I’m a secret psychologist providing my own Rorschach test. Please lay down and describe how this ‘colorful VD’ makes you feel.

    @geologic & Bjornar: Thanks!

    @Ryan M: Whoa! No kidding, that’s spot on. It’s like Bob Ross painted a watercolor of Mordor.

  10. April 14, 2011 at 10:52 am

    It’s like Bob Ross painted a watercolor of Mordor.

    -Lets put in a happy little Sauron with the fan brush.

  11. April 14, 2011 at 9:51 pm


  12. April 15, 2011 at 12:56 am

    I see a crazy awesome hook-nosed smiling face in the upper left.

    If you turn it upside down, the pseudo-penis looks like Beavis in silhouette. Coincidence? I think not.

    In fact the whole thing looks like a surreal Beavis and Butthead Noir scene.

  13. April 15, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Maki, that DOES look like Beavis upside down! Heh heh heh.

  14. April 15, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Ya know, I’m not even a little surprised that Beavis is showing up in my artwork. My wife and I will often sit down and watch clips of B&B on Youtube and laugh and laugh and pretend we’re still living in the 90’s.

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