When one looks at a painting, we often expect to see only one image. What if there are actually two paintings in one?

For Spanish artist Sergi Cadenas, he has been able to bring to life two distinctive portraits to life in a single painting. For most, this transformative art or kinetic paintings harkens back to an era of 3D hidden art or stereograms. Serving as an optical illusion of stereoscopic depth, creators were able to ‘insert’ or ‘hide’ a 3D image within a flat, two-dimensional image.

Cadenas’ portraits magically do the same but most interestingly, he creates his signature kinetic paintings strictly by hand. Art lovers in Singapore can experience the artist’s unique artform at Ode to Art gallery. In this video below, you can experience what its like looking at a piece of Cadenas’ transformative art.

 

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Rising to fame after a series of Instagram videos of his illusory, dual-image portraits went viral, the self-taught artist uses a piping bag to create large-scale canvases with vertical strips, and age-old optical illusions.

Through this methodology, the artist is able to paint separate portraits on either side of the narrow ridges to create mesmerising effects. Transformative and utterly surprising, viewers are greeted with a young face that ages, a face that morphs into something else, and many variations that are both delightful and unexpected. All magically coming to life through different vantage points.

His artwork can be found in the Porrentruy Optical Art Museum (POPA) in Switzerland and in private collections around the world. The public can now also view Cadenas’s artwork in Singapore exclusively at Ode to Art.

In this interview with Augustman, the artist reveals the thought process behind his kinetic artform and the intricacies involved in producing transformative art.

What was the inspiration behind these form of artwork/ kinetic oil paintings?

My inspiration came from a type of children’s toy – lenticular jigsaw puzzle that I find fascinating and mesmerising.

How did you learn and perfect your technique over the years?

I am a self-taught artist. I am meticulous and work hard, and I learn continuously by keeping myself up to date with the art scene and trends.

Do you use technology in any way or is everything done strictly by hand and through your creativity?

I do not use technology at all. Everything is done strictly by my hand, even the preparation of each canvas is done by me.

Sergi Cadenas (Image: Courtesy of the artist)

Typically how long does it take for you to create one of these paintings?

It usually takes about two months to finish one painting. I use quality resins, and those normally take a longer time to dry. Most of the time, I am always working on two to three paintings as I always have new ideas and like to keep productivity high.

What’s your thought process like in approaching each painting, specifically the subjects that will be appearing on the canvas?

My paintings reflect the candid, natural moments of people — memorialising their portraits in time. My portraits of famous people however, allow us to see the beauty, gifts, and transitory nature of time.

Thus far what has been the hardest kinetic oil painting you had to do?

The most difficult kinetic oil painting I have done is the faces of animals. Unlike humans, who generally have similar features, animals of different species look different, and capturing two animals in one canvas can sometimes be challenging.

Which one are you the proudest of?

The paintings that I am most proud of are those featuring portraits of those growing old; they show a mark of time and an inevitable process for us who are living. It teaches me to cherish and respect this life that I have.

Are you happy with the reception your paintings have gotten?

I am very happy to see my paintings all over the world, and I am looking forward to travelling to Singapore at the end of this year for my very first solo exhibition with Ode to Art gallery as well. I am extremely excited to finally meet art collectors and share more about my art in person.

What is your dream dual portrait to paint?

Rather than the portrait of my dreams, it is always having new ideas that motivate me and spur me on. I am now designing a painting which will comprise three images — a woman, a skull, and a man.

You can view artwork by Sergi Cadenas in person at Ode to Art, #01-36E/F Raffles City Shopping Centre; Opens daily, 11am-9pm. Visit the gallery’s website for further details.

(Images: Ode to Art)

written by.
Richard Augustin
Former chef turned writer; Richard has tip-toed around the publishing industry for two decades. When not busy chasing deadlines, you can still find him experimenting with recipes in the kitchen.

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