How to change the meaning and intension of art in a second: See it in 2D then 3D

This past weekend, I flew out to Seattle to attend a friend’s wedding.  The day before the wedding, we went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum.  This garden and museum houses the glasswork of artist Dale Chihuly.

photo of Dale Chihuly, Macchia Forest
Dale Chihuly, Macchia Forest

As I walked through the museum, I was amazed at the shapes and colors Chihuly created out of glass.  About halfway through the exhibit, I caught up with the bride’s mother.  She was sitting on a bench and peering up at the ceiling.  I joined her and looked up.  “This is just amazing!  Are you seeing it in 3D?” she asked.

Earlier that day, over lunch, I told her about how I was gradually getting 3D vision, but for right now, I was mostly seeing 2D.  I said, “No, but I can force it!”

The great thing about going to vision therapy is that I have, over time, learned to control my eyes better and I can pull both of my eyes in and see 3D.  You may wonder, so why don’t you do that all the time?  Well, it is really taxing on my eye muscles and brain, so I cannot do it all of the time without getting a migraine or having to shut my eyes.  Also, the 3D image that I am seeing right now is a bit blurry. Although the image is not crystal clear, I can see depth.

Below is an image of the ceiling I was looking at.  In 2D, I thought, “Oh this is cool.  There are a lot of different gradated color fields going on.”  In 3D, it was a different story.  The work had another level of complexity.  The color fields morphed into stacked little domes that looked kind of heavy. All of a sudden, fear that the domes would come raining down on me rushed in, but then I remembered that I was seeing 3D and that they are behind glass.

Dale Chihuly, Persian Ceiling

It was in that moment that I was excited at the prospect of finally seeing my own artwork in 3D.  I wondered, what does it really look like to the average viewer?

I did a little more research on Dale Chihuly after I left the museum.  I was inspired to find that Chihuly originally had depth perception, but then was in a car accident and only sees monocularly.  He actually no longer produces his own work because he feels it is unsafe, but he advises his team.  I think that it is cool that Chihuly was able to reach this level of greatness and skill while he had his depth perception and now he can advise his team, even though he no longer has the ability to see 3D.

Dale Chihuly gives me a lot of hope and excitement. I feel that once I get my eyes more stabilized, I will be able to finally pursue my dreams of doing high-quality illustration and 3D animation.  I will no longer experience the eye fatigue and migraines when looking at a sketchbook or computer screen.  Also, I will actually be able to focus on the line that I am drawing and instantly tell if my lines are forming 3D shapes and creating volume.

If you pursue vision therapy, I hope that you find many benefits from vision therapy in your career as well.  For me, it’s one of the best investments I have made in my professional development.

As usual, if there is something you would like for me to write about, or if you have a question about my vision therapy experience, please fill out my contact form.

Until next time,

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