King of Perception

Lily Rivere
Sophomore, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design and LSA


Digital drawing


This piece shows the duality of sight (through the perception of light and color) in which we perceive tigers, to the unique way that tigers are perceived by their prey that is invisible to the naked human eye. To us, the orange of a tiger doesn’t seem like camouflage, but to a deer it does. Because deers only have 2 color receptors in their eyes, they see green instead of orange. This allows the tigers to blend with the green grass, and their stripes mimic the spaces between the grass, creating a perfect camouflage.

For this piece I wanted to display the duality of sight (through the perception of light and color) in which we perceive animals, to the unique ways that those animals perceive each other in a way that is invisible to the naked human eye. In order to best highlight and contrast both perceptions, I decided to set up my piece as if it was a playing card, positioning both of my subjects so that they would appear to be mirrored halfway through the card–that way whichever way you flip the card, you would be able to see one of the perceptions facing you, while the other would be upside down. For this specific piece, I chose to portray a tiger. Ever wonder why a tiger is orange with black stripes? To us, it is easy for us to spot the orange tiger hiding almost the green grass–how does the deer or its prey not see it? That would be because the deer or prey that the tiger hunts only has 2 color receptors in its eye, unlike humans who have 3 color receptors. This means that the prey cannot perceive colors like orange and red, and instead see those colors as green. For that reason, a tiger has evolved to be orange to best camouflage itself from its prey. For you see, when a deer looks out at the grass that the tiger is hiding in, instead of seeing orange, it sees green, just like the rest of the grass surrounding the tiger, and the black stripes on a tiger help create the illusion of spaces between the grass. This is a form of evolution that I consider to be quite extraordinary! Like how did the tiger know its prey only has 2 color receptors?! It’s science. And that’s what’s so fascinating. So to that extent I wanted to portray this difference in color and perception in this manner. In order to get the most accurate mirroring of my tiger, I decided to do my piece digitally on procreate. Additionally, I have a repetitive theme in my work to combine the portal of realistic animals with abstract compositions of geometric shapes that correlate to the animals that I draw. I kept the shapes simple, using rectangles to mimic the general shape of the stripes of a tiger, and circles to

mimic the eyes, white dots on the back of a tiger’s ear, and other smaller spotted details on a tiger’s body. I surrounded both tigers with their own geometric arrangement, making sure to only incorporate the colors seen/used in the tiger within its surrounding shapes; alternating between solid and outlined shapes to create more space and movement. To solidify this idea, I believe that having the mirrored tiger’s paws touching is crucial in highlighting the two different perceptions that occur simultaneously in nature but will never and can never be perceived simultaneously by one being, human or animal.