OPTICAL ART cubes
Op art was an art movement that began in the mid-1960’s.
The artists’ objectives are to create paintings that produce
optical illusions. They combine color with abstract shapes
and patterns to create movement. Op artists paint
compositions that fool our eyes and sometimes make us feel
Victor Vasarely was a Hungarian born artist that lived and
painted in France. Vasarely is considered by many to be the father, or inventor, of optical art. He created paintings that combined his knowledge of color theory with his interest in computer science. Vasarely’s goal was to create art that could be understood by everyone, not just the culturally elite.
All of the paintings in this handout are by Vasarely. They
are quite large in scale and all but the first one are bright in
color. The painting at the top left of this
handout is painted in black and white.
COLOR is often very important in
helping create the illusions in optical art.
Artists play with color to manipulate the
viewer’s eyes. Two aspects of color theory op artists use are warm/cool colors and complimentary colors.
; Warm colors (____________,_____________,_____________) are colors
that pop forward in a painting.
; Cool colors (______________,______________,_______________) are
colors that recede in a painting.
; Complimentary colors are colors that are opposite one another on the
color wheel. When placed next to each other these colors intensify each
other and make them appear more vibrant. Fill in the pairs of
complimentary colors here.
1. _______________________ & ______________________
2. _______________________ & ______________________
3. _______________________ & ______________________
PROJECT: For this assignment you will be creating a 3-D op art cube. Follow
these directions for a successful project. (Each step will be
1. Trace the flat cube template onto your paper. Use a ruler to
draw the folding lines.
2. Use a compass to draw concentric circles on the crossed
part of your flat cube.
3. Use a ruler and compass to add pattern and design to your cube.
Remember you want to create optical illusion. Keep your lines neat and
4. Color one side of your cube in black and white.
5. Use colored markers to color the rest of your cube.
Use what you know about color theory to choose
color schemes for each “face,” or side, of your cube.
Use complimentary colors next to one another and
use warm and cool colors together.
6. Write your name somewhere on your cube with marker.
7. Cut out your cube. Using a ruler as a straight edge, fold up the “faces”
and glue tabs. Use glue to neatly assemble your cube.