Sandoval Signpost
An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988
 
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PREVIOUSLY
FEATURED ARTISTS:

TOM ASHE

TOM BAKER

ERIC BEARDSLEY

BARB BELKNAP

BARB & TY BELKNAP

BUNNY BOWEN

GERALDINE BRUSSEL

JB BRYAN

JOE CAJERO

MARY CARTER

ARTURO CHAVEZ

LISA CHERNOFF

RALPH CHURCHILL

CATE CLARK

MICHAEL COLEMAN

DAVID W. CRAMER

CREATIVE SPIRITS OF PLACITAS

SARA LEE D'ALESSANDRO

FERNANDO DELGADO

MARILYN AND HERB DILLARD

SAMANTHA McCUE ECKERT

ALVARO ENCISO

ROGER EVANS

MARCIA FINKELSTEIN

JIM FISH

JIM FISH

BEN FORGEY

C.E. FRAPPIER

BILL FREEMAN

LENORE & LARRY GOODELL

ED GOODMAN

EDWARD GONZALES

SCOTT GREENE

JANA GROVER

SUSAN GUTT

PATRICIA HALLORAN

BIANCA HÄRLE

DALE HARRIS

LYNN HARTENBERGER

LINDA HEATH

KATHERINE HOWARD

BARTLEY JOHNSON

EVEY JONES

SUSAN JORDAN

DAISY KATES

JULIANNA KIRWIN

RUDI KLIMPERT

LYNNE KOTTEL

KATRINA LASKO

KATRINA LASKO

JADE LAYVA

MEG LEONARD

JON WILLIAM LOPEZ

GENE McCLAIN

GENE McCLAIN

BARRY McCORMICK

SARAH MADIGAN

SARENA MANN

JOHNNY MULLENS

TONY PARANÁ-RODRIGUES

ANN POLLARD

GARY W. PRIESTER
GARY W. PRIESTER 2

MICHAEL PROKOS

GREG REICHE

LAURA ROBBINS

LAURA ROBBINS 2

MAGGIE ROBINSON

JUDITH RODERICK

GARY ROLLER

ANGEL ROSE

RIHA ROTHBERG AND WAYNE MIKOSZ

MARIANA ROUMELL-GASTEYER

MARIA SAMORA

GARY SANCHEZ

ADRIANA SCASSELLATI

SHARON SCHWARTZMANN

RAY & BETTY SHAW

DIANNA SHOMAKER

BILL SKEES

KATHERINE SLUSHER

LORNA SMITH

CIRRELDA SNIDER-BRYAN

KEVIN TOLMAN

MAX & JENNIFER VASHER

CATHY VEBLEN

DAWN WILSON-ENOCH

MARY ALICE WINCHELL

For more great local art, visit
Placitas Artists.com

  Featured Artist

  

Gary Priester

Gary Priester, stereogram artist, designs apps for the iPad in his Placitas studio

iPad apps

Priester creates three-D magic

—Barb Belknap

Sometimes the better things in life are those that you come upon unexpectedly—a tiny minnow in a still pond, a spotted deer in a sunlit forest, an alien spaceship in a poster . . . Huh? You remember, those 3-D spaceships and fields of leaping dolphins that would magically appear in posters back in the nineties? I couldn’t see them back then, when I was one of the twenty-million taken in by the craze. I stared at them deeply in the shopping mall light, yearning for the moment of: “Waaait. I think I see something. Oh, ohhhh, thaaat’s incredible.” It didn’t happen for me back then, but Gary Priester could see them.

As a writer and graphic designer doing odd jobs in Sausalito, Priester happened upon those posters and also upon a stereogram creation software review in Publish magazine written by an art writer. Being fascinated, no, obsessed with them, Priester contacted the author and offered to pay him for just two hours of his time to learn about what made these images pop. "It was one of the best investments I ever made," he said.

After discovering the recipe for making stereograms (Take one proper grayscale “depth” image, embed it into a repeating wallpaper-type pattern, and sprinkle with subtle differences), Priester soon had a web site posted with a page of stereogram images on it. It wasn’t long before Gene Levine came surfing by and saw them.

Levine, a prolific stereogram artist himself who had worked out a deal selling his images to the then-eager Japanese market, contacted Priester from his Los Angeles home and they became “virtual” pals.

Levine told his exuberant contacts at Takarajimasha, Inc. Tokyo , who were launching a stereogram magazine series called TJ MOOK, about Priester, whose work complemented Levine’s, and they emailed Priester immediately and asked him to submit his work.

Since that time, the duo has been exclusively featured in three books of stereograms—Incredible Eye Tricks, and Incredible 3D Stereograms—Eye Tricks, both published by Arcturus Publishing Limited, London, and Hidden Treasures, published by Sterling Publishing, New York/London, as well as in eighteen TJ MOOK magazines that have sold over four million copies. Their third book—expected to be released by early winter 2011—is called Startling Stereograms, and is being published by Imagine Publishing www.imaginebks.com in New Jersey. 

“I love being published and working with Gene; his artwork is really fantastic,” said Priester. “But the greatest pleasure I get is watching people see stereograms for the first time. When they say, ‘I see it! I see it!’ it’s worth all the effort. It’s one of the few things in life where there’s magic left.”

Perhaps all artists strive to achieve what Priester has accomplished. That is, to share an experience that connects one to another as human beings. “In gallery settings, some people barely spend more than a second interacting with the artwork on the wall,” said Priester. “But one thing that’s nice about the stereograms as artwork is that they really make a connection with the viewer, if only for the time it takes to interact with the image.”

Some people don’t think of the stereograms as art because they’re done with a computer, Priester explained to me. But he just smiles and tells them that they are ten percent art and ninety percent magic.

Priester reminds those who cannot see stereograms that it is not a contest. It can take some time to train your brain to look at something in a different way. In his books, he includes simple eye exercises one can do to make the perception easier.

What the stereogram image does is fool the brain based on the hiding of a picture within a picture. As explained in Eye Tricks:

“It is helpful to remember that visual perception happens in the brain, not the eyes. . . . And if you introduce some subtle offsets and distortions into two otherwise similar images, the mind will perceive depth even though it is not truly there.”

Actually, the computer software reads the information in the black-and-white depth image, and then makes the subtle changes to each of the repeating patterns. The brain combines these differences to create the hidden 3D image. The stereogram artist’s job is to create the depth image and then to create a good, random pattern for the computer to use to camouflage the changes.

That perception of depth that is not really there is a psychedelic experience presented by the artist to the viewer. Wikipedia describes psychedelic experience as characterized “by the perception of aspects of one's mind previously unknown or by the creative exuberance of the mind liberated from its ostensibly ordinary fetters.” That said, the stereogram experience is thrilling—and this brings us to the iPad.

Yes, since there’s an App for this and an App for that, Priester and Levine agreed that there should be an iPad App (application) for their stereograms.

As a devout PC user, it was a big step for Priester to break down and create for an Apple product. He even had to, egad, buy one! But Levine and Priester found the iPad to be the perfect machine to showcase their stereograms with its screen resolution twice that of a regular computer and the easy vertical-to-horizontal format capability. The appeal here was that they could present the stereogram in the horizontal position and if the viewer rotated the iPad to the vertical position, the image would change to show the hidden-depth image.

“What better environment to see stereograms, other than the back page of the Signpost?” Priester chuckled, though as a Placitas resident, he really does enjoy sharing his stereograms with the community in this way.

“It wasn’t easy making an iPad App to sell on iTunes,” he confessed. At least, not until they found “Bob.” Laying out the App itself wasn’t a problem, since both Gary and Gene are masters in graphic design and page layout. But they needed a middleman who knew how to convert their InDesign file to an App—a complex process—and submit it to Apple for acceptance. So, Bob was hired and, after a few months of hard work and anticipation, on December 17, 2010, ninety-six stereograms in brilliant color were placed on iTunes by Apple.

The result is two dazzling iPad Apps (for only $1.99 each) sure to amaze even the most sophisticated stereogram viewer—the 3D stereograms are arguably the best in the field. Titled Eyeball 3D and Eyeball2 3D—search for those titles or “3-D stereograms priester” on the Internet and they will come right up. And there is also a free app, “How to eyeball 3-D stereograms” that explains how to view stereograms and has some free images for people to practice on.

For the whole story of the trials and tribulations of making an “eBook,” read Priester’s article at: http://tinyurl.com/2985v7t. To see his stereograms online, visit Priester’s Stereogram Gallery at www.Custom-Stereograms.com or go to www.eyeball-3d.com.

     

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