Author: Charlotte Bearn

What is a Lenticular?

Lenticular images give the illusion of depth (3D), movement or merge two different images.

They do this by taking images and splicing them into strips. These are then interlaced with other images. Over the top of the image is a magnifying lens this is broken up into lenticules which show the viewer a different image as the image is viewed from different angles.

It is a highly specialised process and requires the highest quality precision printing to create a perfect image. Artists such as Peter Blake and Damien Hirst have bought their works to life using the Lenticular printing method. Other artists like Martin Richardson and Julian Opie specialise in producing art that moves or appears 3D.

 

David Bowie - Experimental Portrait By Martin Richardson
David Bowie - Experimental Portrait By Martin Richardson

This type of printing has a fascinating history, from seventeenth century Royal portraits, to early corporate advertising, and kitsch memorabilia. In 1692, French painter Bois-Clair discovered he could achieve a multi-dimensional effect on canvas by interposing a grid of vertical lathes between the viewer and the painting. He has been held to be the inventor of two-way paintings but there is evidence that he had been following even older traditions. ‘Turning Pictures’ were known of in the seventeenth century and are referred to by Shakespeare. You can make one of these simple lenticulars using folded paper.

 

Love Lenticular 1 by Ben Eine

Love Lenticular 1 by Ben Eine

The first images to be described as ‘lenticular’ were produced in the 1930s by Victor Anderson. By the late 1940s, Mr Anderson’s company, ‘Vari-Vue’, was producing millions of simple lenticular images a year for everything from postcards of women winking to Cracker Jack prizes, political campaign buttons, and magazine inserts. The technology for lenticular printing gained popularity in the 1960’s and 1970’s featuring on postcards, book covers, rulers and all sorts of printed products.

Notable lenticular prints from this time include the limited-edition cover of the Rolling Stone’s album and Roy Lichtenstein’s art work ‘Fish and Sky. In 2004 Chris Levine to created a lenticular portrait of Her Majesty The Queen. Chris’s 21st century work, 'Lightness of Being', was the first ever 3D portrait of The Queen. To create his lenticular print Chris Levine and a technical team took over 10,000 images and 3D data-sets during two sittings at Buckingham Palace, but the portrait is made up of just nine them.

 

Heaven Lent You A Soul Earth Will Lend A Grave by Magnus Gjoen

Heaven Lent You A Soul Earth Will Lend A Grave by Magnus Gjoen

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