How to use Automatism and Pareidolia To Make Art

Art, the boundless realm of self-expression, offers a canvas for our thoughts, emotions, and visions to take shape. It’s a realm where creativity knows no bounds, and in this blog post, we invite you to embark on a journey into the fascinating world of artistic exploration.

Exploring art in new ways can help you enjoy creativity, and if you are an artist it can help you accidently discover new techniques. You don’t have to be an artist to make art. Art is for everyone. 

Automatism and Pareidolia Introduction

We’ll delve into two extraordinary techniques that have the power to not only ignite your creativity but also infuse your art with spontaneity and profound meaning: automatism and pareidolia.

Art, in all its diverse forms, has the remarkable ability to channel our innermost feelings, thoughts, and desires into tangible expressions.

Whether you’re an experienced artist or a curious beginner, the world of art is a place of endless discovery. With each brushstroke, pencil mark, or splash of color, you have the opportunity to uncover new dimensions of yourself and the world around you.

Together, we will explore how automatism can set your creativity free, enabling you to create art with an unprecedented level of spontaneity and depth.

We will also delve into the captivating world of pareidolia, where you’ll learn how to find familiar shapes and patterns in the most unexpected places, transforming abstract chaos into meaningful and evocative imagery.

Art is more than a mere pastime; it is a gateway to understanding yourself and the world on a deeper level. It is a testament to the human capacity for imagination and expression.

So, whether you’re seeking to refine your artistic skills or simply yearning to explore the uncharted territories of your creativity, join us on this artistic voyage as we unlock the potential of automatism and pareidolia in the world of art.

What is Automatism?

Automatism is a captivating creative process that beckons artists to embark on a journey without the constraints of conscious control. At its essence, automatism is a celebration of spontaneity and a profound exploration of the human subconscious.

This artistic technique encourages individuals to relinquish the reins of their conscious mind and allow the intuitive, less-charted territories of their psyche to steer the creative ship.

This concept has a storied and esteemed history within the art world, with notable practitioners who have elevated it to an art form of its own. One cannot delve into the realms of automatism without paying homage to the

Surrealists, a groundbreaking artistic movement that emerged in the early 20th century. Surrealist artists such as André Masson and Joan Miró were among the pioneers who wholeheartedly embraced automatism as a means of unlocking the boundless potential of their creative minds.

Artists that used Automatism?

André Masson:

André Masson, a French Surrealist painter and writer, is celebrated for pioneering automatism in art. His fluid and abstract works lay bare the raw subconscious, exemplified by his “automatic drawings.” Masson’s innovative approach paved the way for future artists to explore uncharted creative depths.

Joan Miró:

Joan Miró, a renowned Catalan Surrealist painter, solidified the significance of automatism in the art world. His whimsical artworks, often featuring fantastical elements, showcase the subconscious’s power. Miró’s “automatic painting” techniques transcend the conscious mind, inspiring artists to embrace spontaneity.

These art luminaries have shown that automatism is not just a technique but a profound artistic philosophy. It challenges conventional control, embracing the subconscious’s chaotic beauty. Through automatism, artists unlock hidden emotions, ideas, and visions, inviting viewers on a journey through the enigmatic landscapes of the human psyche, where art transcends conscious boundaries.

What is Pareidolia?

Pareidolia is a fascinating cognitive phenomenon deeply ingrained in the human experience. It refers to our natural inclination to perceive familiar shapes, patterns, or meaningful forms in otherwise random or abstract stimuli.

This tendency stems from our brain’s remarkable ability to seek order and meaning in the world around us, often leading us to see recognizable objects or faces where none actually exist.

Examples of Pareidolia:

Seeing Faces in Clouds:

A classic example of pareidolia is the common experience of looking up at the sky and noticing cloud formations that resemble faces, animals, or even objects.

Although clouds are composed of water vapor and have no inherent structure, our brains effortlessly create a narrative by detecting familiar facial features like eyes, noses, and mouths. The result is the perception of cloud “faces” that seem to express emotion or personality.

Finding Animals in Wood Grain:

Another illustrative instance of pareidolia occurs when examining natural textures, such as the grain of wood. A piece of wood may exhibit random, irregular patterns, but our brains often transform these patterns into recognizable shapes, like animals or mythical creatures. 

This tendency has led to the creation of folk art and sculptures that highlight the hidden forms within the wood grain, demonstrating how pareidolia can turn the ordinary into something extraordinary.


Directions for Creating Automatic Art with Pareidolia

In the video above, we’ll explore a creative process that combines the spontaneity of automatic art with the intriguing phenomenon of pareidolia. The goal is to create art without overthinking it and then uncover hidden imagery within your creation.

Materials Needed:

  • A white piece of paper or canvas
  • A variety of art supplies (e.g., pens, pencils, markers, paints)
  • A comfortable and quiet workspace

Create Marks on the Paper:

  • Begin by taking your white piece of paper or canvas.
  • Let go of conscious control and any preconceived notions about what you’re going to create.
  • Start making random marks (This is also called Mark Making), lines, or shapes on the paper with your chosen art supplies.
  • Allow your hand to move freely, guided solely by your intuition and inner impulses.
  • Don’t worry about colors or how it looks; this process is about embracing spontaneity and creativity.
  • Continue to make marks intuitively on the paper until you feel satisfied with your creation.
  • Trust your artistic instincts and let the process flow naturally.

Revealing Imagery with Pareidolia:

Once you feel you’ve finished your artwork, take a moment to step back and observe what you’ve created.

Look for hidden imagery within your abstract creation. This can include faces, animals, creatures, plants, shapes, or any designs that your mind perceives.
Be open to the unexpected and let your imagination roam.

Enhance the Discovered Imagery:

  • Identify the specific parts of your artwork where you see the hidden imagery.
  • Use your art supplies to enhance and refine those parts of the work to make the discovered shapes or forms more apparent.
  • This step is where you bring the hidden elements to the forefront, just like the process you saw in the video above.

Reflect and Appreciate:

Take a moment to reflect on your creative journey and the unique imagery that emerged from your intuitive artmaking. Appreciate the beauty of your creation and the spontaneous process that led you to uncover hidden treasures within your artwork.

By following these steps, you’ll embark on a creative adventure that combines the freedom of automatic art with the intriguing exploration of pareidolia, revealing the extraordinary within the ordinary.