Berlin-based artist Lee Wagstaff creates abstract paintings with a secret. While at first glance you may be immersed in the myriad of complex patterns that blanket the canvas, take another step back and you'll discover a human face staring back at you. Each of his paintings features a portrait of an AI-generated face concealed within the repeating forms of the design.
There is no magic to his process, however. It is simply a matter of subtly altering the pattern in places to convey the facial features of an individual. Typically, this requires Wagstaff to invert the colors or broaden the lines, which in turn creates the illusion of shadow and depth. The darker areas of the design help create the contours of eyes, eyebrows, a nose, lips, and the shape of the face, emerging from the print.
The reason that the painting appears to look different depending on how close you stand to it is the level of contrast. All of the discrete changes Wagstaff made to the pattern become more apparent at a further distance and you are able to see the face more clearly. Furthermore, the paintings that use more intricate designs reveal more detailed faces, and vice versa for the minimalistic patterns.