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Artist Transforms Herself Into Mind Bending Optical Illusions Without Photoshop

Illusion Make Up

Artist Dain Yoon is quickly becoming a master of illusion. Last year, the then-art student wowed us with her mind-bending body art that's mesmerizing in both its technical skills as well as its ability to make you do a double take. Using a combination of makeup and watercolors, she creates surreal paintings over her hands, face, and surrounding environment. They work together to produce portraits that look so lifelike, you’d assume they were the result of Photoshop. But, as Yoon is quick to point out, her optical illusion makeup is all real.

The “complexity of human beings” influences Yoon’s body art. Within ourselves, we contain multitudes—including conflicting emotions, personality traits, and viewpoints. Though not a glamorous subject, it's amazing how Yoon conceptualizes it into something spectacular. “Anything, even in a very ordinary life, could be great inspirations with different perspectives,” she says, but she doesn’t deny the sources that help foster her unique visual language. “If I were to choose something out of my routine that draws inspiration, I would say that movies often help me twist my perspectives.”

Aside from the underlying concepts of her work, Yoon is also guided by formal aspects of Western art. Particularly, the visual pleasure we get from illusion art itself, which makes 2D drawings come alive and look as though they’re jumping off the page. Or in this case, skin.

Artist Dain Yoon creates mind-bending body art with her optical illusion makeup. Everything is real and handcrafted by Yoon—not the clever work of Photoshop.

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Dain Yoon: Website | Instagram | YouTube
h/t: [Reddit]

All images via Dain Yoon.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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