These Oil Paintings of Patterns are Actually Portraits

When presented with works of English artist Lee Wagstaff, most people would describe them as oil paintings of mesmerizing patterns. But that is just partially correct. It just takes a closer look to realize that those patterns actually hide intriguing portraits.

An impressive thing about Wagstaff’s paintings is that he manages to project the portraits inside his paintings without ever breaking the pattern. Instead, he achieves the effect by using a slightly different shade or adding outlines.

In order to notice the portrait inside the pattern, the viewers need to put in some effort. This includes either observing the artwork from a distance or squinting.

“A recurring theme in my work is pattern, I am drawn to patterns that predict and perhaps defy cosmic order. When I make art I think about whether it is still possible to make images and objects that embody ideas of faith, beauty and truth,” Wagstaff explains in his artist statement.

Wagstaff received his formal education from the Royal College of Art in London, UK, and Kyoto City University of Arts in Kyoto, Japan. His pieces have been displayed in venues around the world, with some being part of a permanent collection at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. They are also extremely collectible and can be found in private collections, including the one belonging to late music legend David Bowie.

Continue scrolling to check out more of Wagstaff’s artworks below.