# An Artist with an Eye Problem

Imagine there is an artist with an eye condition that causes him to view objects as elongated.
If he sees an apple, it appears stretched to the point of being oval, whereas to you and me it appears as a normal apple.
You walk into his studio and see that all of the paintings mounted on easels feature everyday objects. The strange thing is, you notice, that all the objects featured on the canvasses look stretched and elongated.

Could his eye condition be the reason for this?

No.

Nope. No.

No, because then they would be flat.

Yes, I have horrible eyesight, and a fairly severe stimatism in my right eye. Trust me, the dimensions are distorted and appear different to me than you. This will be true of a color blind person as well. A hallway that is forty feet long, will often appear a small as twenty-five feet. No Joke!

aspacia

As his art is elongated then he is unaware or intends.
His eyesight seems to be independant of his art hence the abnormality cannot be directly attribbuted to his condition.

As thezeus18 said, the eye condition cannot be the reason for his painting as he does. To see why, let’s think mathematically.

Vertical stretching is an operation that takes us from a normal viewer’s perception to the artist’s perception. Vertical stretching is an invertible operation; by flattening we can get back to where we started. Thus flattening takes us from the artist’s perception back to the normal’s.

Now suppose the artist draws an apple as he sees it. Now if he is drawing realistically, then when he looks at the apple and his painting, they look the same to him. To get from his perception back to the normal, apply the flattening operation. It flattens both the apple and the painting to normal dimensions. Therefore a normal person will perceive the apple to be rounded and not elongated.

Contrast this situation with color-blindness. I have an artist friend who is colorblind, and sometimes makes wildly colored portraits because of her condition. The difference between color-blindness and elongation is that color-blindness is not invertible. Once the colors are confused they cannot be unscrambled, so there is no way to go from the artist’s perception back to the normal.

Thus in general, we cannot tell if our internal representations of things are different from other people’s, unless their internal representation is somehow ‘finer’ or ‘coarser’ than ours – that is, unless they have more or less categories to put things into.

The important thing is the layout and size of the boxes we put reality into, not the labels on the boxes. One might even question if the labels really exist in their own right. Is there such a ‘thing’ as seeing an object ‘normally’ versus seeing it as ‘elongated’?

To investigate this question, let’s consider variations on the theme. Suppose, instead of everyday objects, the artist now attempts to draw circles or equilateral triangles. Do they come out elongated, normal, or flat to the ‘normal’ observer? How would an artist with double vision draw a circle?

It seems that this question could lead into deeper philosophical waters…