I have always been amazed at how easy it is to see a face in what is real­ly a ran­dom “pat­tern”. Clouds, tree bark, weird tex­tile prints are just a few exam­ples of where a “face” can be found.

Back in the mid-sev­en­ties, when I was attend­ing Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty, an artist vis­it­ed cam­pus. (Well, prob­a­bly a few artists over the years I was there, but I was only aware of one). I do not remem­ber his name, but I do remem­ber watch­ing him do his thing in the hall­way of the stu­dent union.

He had a table set up dis­play­ing a col­lec­tion of recent draw­ings. They were very small, maybe three inch­es square and there was prob­a­bly fifty of them. All but three or four were faces.

His schtick at the time was tak­ing a small piece of paper, lay­ing a cou­ple of con­te pen­cils on the paper, plac­ing anoth­er sheet of paper on top, press­ing his hand on the stack and rotat­ing his hand. This result­ed in some ran­dom marks on the paper. Then he would look at the ran­dom marks, see a pic­ture and add a line, some def­i­n­i­tion, etc. to bring the pic­ture out.

One can see why so much of his work turned out to be faces.

He did a demon­stra­tion while a group of stu­dents watched. He stacked up his paper and con­te, rubbed it with his hand, and pre­sent­ed us with the raw “draw­ing”. I clear­ly saw a small stone cot­tage with a gar­den in front and a stone wall in front of the gar­den with a gate on the right and a path to the cot­tage door. He asked the opin­ion of the attrac­tive girl stand­ing next to me who saw, sur­prise, sur­prise, a face!

Today Alt­house linked to Acci­den­tal Mys­ter­ies which has a post about a French artist who makes faces out of toi­let paper tubes. I find them more impres­sive than the artist I saw at IU thir­ty some years ago, even if too many of them look like a George Bush.

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