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The Dizzyingly Cool Op Artists That Inspire Molly Fitzpatrick

BY ashlee neuman 04/01/2016

One look at DittoHouse, Molly Fitzpatrick’s line of modern, graphic throws and pillows, and you know she loves creating optical experiences. “I’m always looking to create patterns that have visual movement, that allow you to see some shapes recede and others pull forward, that make your eyes dance,” she says. What better place to find inspiration for jump-out-at-you designs than Op art, the midcentury movement based on optical illusions? Here, a few of the people whose work really get her creativity whirring.



Minos in the Labyrinth (1962)

Sounding of the Bell (1964)

“For me, with abstract art, and particularly Op art, my eye can just wander, and I love that—because when my eye is wandering around the painting, my mind is resting. I’m not thinking about what something is or what things I associate with it. It’s just an experience. I look all around the painting and I just feel so calm. I especially love the color in his work Minos in the Labyrinth. I think the orange-y red is so pretty. It can be a place where the eye rests, or it can push your eye outwards to look at the lines.



Lineal Formation Blue (1989)

Shimmering Pass, Black (1990)

“I love Julian Stanczak’s work. It’s so cool, so exciting. There’s so much movement going on. Your eye moves on a diagonal up and down, left and right. ‘Lineal Formation Blue’ actually reminds me of a textile. The diagonal lines are reminiscent of a twill, a type of weave. I love that you can look at certain parts of the painting and wonder whether a vertical line overlaps or breaks a diagonal line. It’s like a puzzle.”


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Blue and White Ford (1966)

“I think Ed Mieczkowski’s paintings are really beautiful. I love that this piece in particular is both organized and loose, depending on how you look at it. There are lines that are rigid, but because of the way they tilt and interact with one another, there’s a looseness. As a designer, I love using lines in interesting ways, using line as texture. I always think about how something can be translated into a textile design, and line work is really important. Threads are lines. Threads can also be interpreted as brush strokes. So I like to be inspired that way.”



C (1968)

Fall (1963) 

“A few years ago, I was in the library looking for different Optical artists and came across Bridget Riley. I read that in the 1960s her paintings became really popular, leading some fashion designers to use her work in their clothing. As a textile designer, I’m so inspired by her designs. She actually didn’t think it was appropriate for Optical art to be incorporated into what she called ‘the rags of the day.’ But I like Optical art and textile design because I think they’re meant for everyone. They’re accessible arts. So I respectfully disagree with her on that.”



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