Work of Oleg Shuplyak

Oleg Shuplyak is one of the few artists in Ukraine painting optical illusions. The artist himself says that his are "pictures with double meaning." His style is very distinctive. He paints imagery of villages, houses and portraits of many famous people. Shuplyak says he never thought his pictures would be treated as anything special. "These double-meaning works are kind of a hobby for me," he says. His main specialty is post-modern art, and he's a frequent participant of exhibitions featuring this style of works. Yet Shuplyak's optical illusions have become an Internet hit as hundreds of his works have made it into many websites and into social networks. Huffington Post and Daily Mail ran stories and online galleries of his pictures.

His Ukrainian colleagues don't know much about his works, however. His pictures rarely sell for more than $500 and are critizied by local art critics. "There were many outstanding artists who worked in this genre: Italy's [Giuseppe] Arcimboldo, Spain's [Salvador] Dali," he says. "I have always been fascinated by such works, and dreamed to try it myself." Shuplyak claims to have found his own formula, which is "very simple." Unlike other famous artists who have worked in this genre, he composes his images in his head, without arranging and rearranging still objects to take inspiration from.

His first picture was inspired by Ukraine's independence. "Everyone was so inspired by it, including me," he recalls. He based his first work on two classical Ukrainian images – a musician playing his kobza, the traditional instrument, in the village of Taras Shevchenko, and the portrait of the latter. Since then he has created several variations on the Shevchenko theme, but never to a customer's order. He says working on someone's commission is pretty typical for artists. He still thinks of his pictures with optical illusions as "a fun hobby in surrealist style", even though he understands that it is something new for Ukraine.

"When I wake up I have no idea what I can create today. I live free and creative and this gives me major happiness," he says.


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