Masters of Deception


Okay, it’s time for an art book. This is one of my faves.
Masters of Deception: Escher, Dali & the Artists of Optical Illusion by All Seckel and with a foreword by Godel, Escher, Bach author Douglas Hoftstadter (Sterling Publishing, 2004) beautifully surveys the work of 20 extraordinary artists. Chock-full of perplexing (and sometimes deceptive) illustrations, the book covers both the famous like Escher and Dali and the less-well-known: I was particularly taken by the work of Rob Gonsalves, Octavio Ocampo, and Oscar Reutersvard.
Since these art works are works of fantasy, illusion, and impossibility, I find I can spend an inordinate amount of time studying each work, imagining what might be going on, or have gone on. Or just letting my senses drift. 
Works like these – and those of surrealists like Magritte and Remedios Varo – give me a potent break from day-to-day reality and stimulate my imagination, which can always use a workout, like any other muscle. A perfect way to end a day working on spreadsheets and blogs and other logical, practical things.
This beautiful book is now available in paperback, and it’s a real bargain.