It seems that just a few years ago only a few people knew about lenticular imaging, even though the techniques have been practiced for well over a decade.
Thomas Mark, a 40 year veteran in the industry and evangelist for the trade organization FlipSigns!, points out that the origins of this industry were shady to say the least. Snake oil salesmen and shysters used the optical illusions generated through interlacing images together to trick innocent customers into believing in a products magic abilities. Thankfully, times have changed.
In recent years, it’s the entertainment industry that’s pushing the lenticular movement, with movie advertising and magazine and CD covers being prime examples. The Rolling Stones 1000th issue was produced with a lenticular cover, and the movie poster for Ghost Rider was created as a flip lenticular image. I’ve seen large lenticular advertising in airports in Asia, and even a soda vending machine sporting a flip lenticular that changes from one soda flavor to another. The eye-catching appeal of lenticular images is a obvious avenue for advertisers.
It seems that Adobe is jumping into the mix as well. Digital imaging evangelist Russell Brown has begun teaching seminars about using Photoshop along with the interlacing software from Power Illusion. Adobe must see some potential for increased use of lenticular imaging, otherwise it wouldn’t be investing so heavily in spreading the word. Perhaps the entertainment industry is poised to saturate us with lenticular advertising.
But as more and more advertising appears in this format, what can be said about lenticular fine art? Is the art world even aware of this medium, and do they consider it “kitsch”, or do they find merit in the work being produced? Can lenticular images be considered “real” art or will it remain in the domain of advertising?
With advances in digital imaging technology, new inkjet printers, and better interlacing software, artists have been investigating this medium for several years now, and have gained some limited attention. In 2001, I participated in an exhibit of lenticular prints as part of the Boston CyberArt Festival at the Atttleboro Museum, along with Karin Schminke, Bonny Lhotka, Dorothy Simpson Krause, Vivian Pratt, and others. In 2003, I showed lenticular work at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art. I’m sure there are other examples of lenticular fine art being exhibited in other venues, but the information available is few and far between.
I’ve begun a new series of lenticular prints that I’m excited about, as well as begun a collaboration with artist Nance Paternoster, where we intend to explore relevant issues in today’s society through the lenticular format. I’ll keep my blog readers posted on the progress.
In today’s world of immediate access to information, I’ve been surprised at how little information is available on lenticular processes, but just last week I found a fresh new Yahoo Group that seems to hold promise for stimulating discussion. If you’re interested, please join us at firstname.lastname@example.org. What do you think about lenticular art? Share your comments here.