Hypnotic Illusion of a Drawing Growing Faster Than the Machine Producing It

Mechanical Drawing Machine by James Nolan Gandy

Photo: James Nolan Gandy.
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Artist James Nolan Gandy is known for his mix of artistry and mechanical ingenuity. His mechanical drawing machine not only produces incredible drawings that put your childhood Spirograph to shame, but also results in mesmerizing videos of the drawing process. However, one of his latest videos captured our attention for a different reason.

The time-lapse actually makes it appear as though the drawing is growing faster than the machine is actually moving. The ink seems to ooze like liquid across the paper, much faster than the pen can keep up. It's both fascinating and confusing to watch.

A post shared by James Nolan Gandy (@gandyworks) on

So to what do we owe this optical illusion? It's actually the same stroboscopic effect that we've seen freeze bird wings or make a helicopter appear frozen in mid-air. The illusion occurs because the camera's shutter is almost perfectly in synch with the subject, slowing down the mechanical drawing machine dramatically in comparison with the drawing.

But Gandy doesn't need a special illusion to make his work fascinating. Even his videos without the slowed down effect are hypnotic to watch. And if you like what you see, he sells the finished spiral drawings via his website at quite reasonable prices.

Artist James Nolan Gandy often posts hypnotic videos of his mechanical drawing machine at work.

A post shared by James Nolan Gandy (@gandyworks) on

A post shared by James Nolan Gandy (@gandyworks) on

A post shared by James Nolan Gandy (@gandyworks) on

James Nolan Gandy: Website | Instagram 
h/t: [Sploid]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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