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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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  1. Upper left: Hawk, from Buck Rogers season 2.

    Bottom center: blue hip-wader

    Upper right: Cthulhu peeking into the frame

    Bottom left: sea anemones

  2. @sisyphusrocks: And now I can’t unsee it πŸ˜‰

    @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.

  3. 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….

  4. 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.

  5. @breadbox: Since there is nothing actually there, I don’t think that any interpretation is lame πŸ™‚

    @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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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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