Finding Inspiration In the Graphic Art of M.C. Escher

One of the famous graphic artists I like is M.C. Escher. He is famous for his interesting lithographs and his use of tessellations in his art work. When I was first introduced to his art it reminded me of a puzzle. At first glance when you look at one of Escher’s pieces it looks almost “normal” but with closer observation, you realize what he drew is actually impossible, such as his work “Waterfall” or “Relativity.”  

I like the humorous interactive elements in his drawings such as in “Reptiles” and “Drawing Hands.” These two have influenced my work. When I first began thinking about how I was going to seamlessly combine watercolor paint and paper sculpture, those two lithographs of Escher’s were something I thought about. His work is a flat lithograph but they look three-dimensional. In “Reptiles,” the creatures appear to actually walk right out of the paper. In “Drawing Hands,” the hands appear to come alive but are actually just a flat two-dimensional piece.

I like creating that play between a two-dimensional surface and how it will gradually grow into a three-dimensional surface. An example of this in my work is the paper sculpture illustration titled, “Peacock.”

This beautiful peacock is a flat painting in some areas, and then is gradually transformed into a 3D piece. My hope is that when viewing this paper sculpture illustration at a distance, it appears to be a flat painting. But then as you move in closer, those colorful peacock feathers are really 3D and coming right out of the paper!

M.C. Escher is just one of many artists that have influenced my work. Whether you’re an artist or not, we’re all touched by beautiful design — it could be hanging in a gallery, the printing on your favorite T-shirt or something you see online.

What artists have influenced your work? Let us know in the comments below!