Photo of an anamorphic type installation created by Mark Simmons and Ben Johnston, using unusual objects like an oven mitt, Popsicle sticks, and tape.


WTFIT: Mark Simmons and Ben Johnston

By Terri Stone

Mark Simmons and Ben Johnston don’t always work as a team, but when they do, the results are always worth a look. This installment of Inspire Magazine’s WTFIT column is no exception.

We sent Mark and Ben the 15 random objects you see above and asked the men to use the objects to make something that represented the word void. They imposed a clean, two-color palette by spray-painting most of the objects white. They then used the red tape to construct an optical illusion known as anamorphosis: art that appears as a cohesive image only when the viewer stands in a particular spot.

“When we received the WTFIT box,” says Mark, “we knew that the tape, string, and Popsicle sticks would be easy to work with, but we had no idea what to do with the rest of it. We wanted to create an installation that interacted with and leveraged an existing environment. We'd never done anything like anamorphic type, so it was a good opportunity to work on something new.”

While some planning was done in Adobe Illustrator CC, much of the piece took shape on-site. Ben notes, “We weren’t sure it was going to work. It was a very visual thing. You had to look at the angles in the space.” In only eight hours, they installed the art, photographed it, tore it down, and cleaned it up.

“If this project hadn’t come about,” Ben says, “we would have never tried this kind of thinking and working. Mark has the knowledge of actually making things, but I've been behind a computer. Bringing things from the computer and making them real-life and massive causes you to think in a different way. You have to do something different. Otherwise everything on the Internet looks the same.”

November 6, 2014

WTFIT creation, photos Mark Simmons, Ben Johnston