“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ― Edgar Degas
Looking at art is usually a pleasure, but interacting with art? Now that’s an entirely unique experience! While it is great to appreciate a picture, nothing is quite like being part of the picture. It’s like stepping inside a different world and giving the picture a unique and creative twist, re-creating the story behind it however you want it to be told. That is exactly what happened when Mike, our friends, and I visited Art in Island, a two-storey 3-D art museum in Cubao, replete with wall-to-wall displays of optical illusions, lifelike illustrations, and mind-bending 3-D art spaces. Unlike other museums where you are not allowed to take photos and you can only view the artworks, Art in Island actually encourages guests to take as many photos as they like and not just view the artworks, but also engage with them!
With a floor area of 3,800 sqm, this Korean-owned museum is currently the largest 3-D art museum in Asia in terms of number of paintings (The biggest in terms of area can be found at Jeju Island in Korea at 4,100 sqm). The owners flew in some of the best painters from Korea, who worked on these paintings for 120 days. The museum boasts of a multitude of themes, some picturesque, some mind-boggling, some quirky, and more. Keep reading to see some of the themes! Note that I don’t really know what all the themes are called exactly, so I just made up my own. You can call them something else if you like.
Optical Illusions have been described as images that deceive the eye by appearing to be something other than what they are. This is the only kind of trickery that I actually like (aside from pleasant surprises, of course!). Before entering the main part of the museum, we first passed by a hallway with portraits of these visual mindf*cks.
I first encountered this drawing while reading Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The illustration shows that when you shift your perspectives, you will be able to see things differently. While other people will look at this photo and see a lovely and fashionable lady in her 20’s, others will see an old, helpless woman with a huge, pointed nose. So what is she, really? That is up to you. There is no right or wrong answer. (I wish Math was like this!)
How many legs does the elephant have?
How many people do you see? I’ll give you three seconds to answer. 1, 2, 3! Time’s up! There are 3 people in this picture. Neat, huh?
Geoff says this is one of his favorite paintings so of course I had to take a photo of him next to it.
It’s a rabbit! It’s a duck! It’s both! And it’s having an identity crisis!
If you look at the photo, it looks like it’s moving! It’s a kid-friendly way to experience the effects of LSD without actually having to take LSD.
Balls and splashes of trippy blue and yellow madness suck you in and transport you into the Twilight Zone. It’s as if we were Alice (as in Alice in Wonderland), going down the Rabbit Hole.
As Sebastian of The Little Mermaid sang: “Under the sea / Under the sea / Darling it’s better / Down where it’s wetter / Take it from me!” Well, if anyone got “wetter” out of all of us, that would be Mike. As I mentioned in my previous post, he’s an avid fishkeeper, so this Under the Sea section of the museum exhilarated him like a shark smelling a drop of blood in the ocean.
Journey to the Jungle
Into the woods with some of our newfound forest friends.
The Crazy Crocodile
Wrangling a choleric croc, in true Steve Irwin fashion.
We went all the way to the freezing Arctic Circle to shake hands (or should I say “paws”?) with the cute and cuddly polar bears and gush at the sight of penguins in Antarctica. Seriously, if you don’t find these animals adorable, your heart is as ice cold as the North Pole!
What is wrong with this picture? And please don’t say “the girl.” That’s my friend, Punky!
If you notice, the polar bear and the penguins are together in the photo. In reality, polar bears and penguins are literally poles apart. Polar bears live only in the Arctic, which is a region that surrounds the North Pole, while penguins live in the Antarctic peninsula, which surrounds the South Pole. Tsk tsk… Coca Cola didn’t do enough research.
This painting by Edvard Munch is one of the most parodied paintings of all time, next to the Mona Lisa. From Macaulay Culkin to Homer Simpson, to Joker, to President Obama, many have created a meme out of The Scream. (That rhymes! I feel so witty now.) At Art in Island, we were able to play around with the painting by re-enacting our own scenes with The Scream.
Cafe Terrace at Night
Paris is always a good idea, unless you don’t have the funds to travel to the land of the Eiffel Tower. For now, a romantic stroll along The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum is the closest we can get to France. Thanks, Van Gogh!
The Starry Night
Another Vincent Van Gogh painting, this painting is undoubtedly one of his most renowned works of art. Whether or not you’re an art connoisseur, surely, you are familiar with this masterpiece. You might even have heard of that song by Don McLean called Vincent (Starry, Starry Night). No? Really? Who’s Don McLean, you ask? Okay, there’s is an obvious generation gap here.
Unfortunately, I do not know the names of the following paintings. But it doesn’t matter because I’m sure the name of the paintings is the least of your concerns when you’re looking at paintings of a naked bum.
We met a ferocious-looking dinosaur and a furious bull along the way. They’re so realistic, they almost look scary.
The Swing (L’Escarpolette)
This painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard looks sweet and dainty, and we just ruined it. Sorry. Anyway, if you want to know more about the painting, read this.
Dogs Playing Poker
Hey, pups need a boys’ night out too once in a while!
The boys got naughty with the blonde bombshell.
I’m not even going to bother introducing this painting. No need for descriptions when you’re talking about the most famous painting in the world!
I guess mismatched shoes were fashionable back in the olden times?
Like the movie 300, only more fun. And these warriors have flabs instead of abs.
The Lion Fountain
Quenching my thirst because all that posing for the photos is tiring!
Adam & Eve
If you know the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible, you might have read these verses:
(1) “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Genesis 3: 6-7)
So all this time, Adam and Eve were walking around the Garden of Eden stark naked, and it was nothing to them. No biggie. But right after they ate the forbidden fruit, they were all of a sudden overcome with the feeling of shame over their nakedness and began to cover themselves. In short, had they both not eaten the fruit from the tree that God specifically told them not to eat from, we could still be walking around without any clothes on and it would be perfectly acceptable, even normal! Girls, not only could we walk around without a bra on… we could walk around without a shirt on!
(2) “To the woman he said, ‘I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.'” (Genesis 3:16)
This was the curse God put on Eve after she partook of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If only Eve resisted temptation, childbearing and giving birth won’t be as excruciating and difficult as it is now! We could just pop out babies effortlessly, like nothing happened!
Dammit, Eve! You could have eaten another fruit! Why did it have to be the bad apple?!
I honestly don’t know what this is or where this is but this is one of the coolest spots for a photo op in the museum. See? Isn’t our photo just so cool?! When you have your photo taken here, make sure your feet are on the wooden planks to make it look more believable! And wobble around while you’re posing.
Stairway to Heaven
So we went up to heaven and as we were about to enter the gates, the guard of heaven’s gate asked us who we are. We replied, “We’re angels. Can’t you tell?” He winced, obviously not believing us. “Fine,” we said. “Sorry we were not more specific. We’re Victoria’s Secret angels.” The guard was obviously annoyed and said, “There is no place in heaven for liars!” Just like that, we got kicked out of heaven!
We walked like Egyptians when we met the Sphinx of Giza and Ramesses II at the Abu Simbel temples. The details on this part of the museum are so superb! It was as if we actually went on a trip to Cairo!
And yet another Coca Cola placement…
If you like art, then you’re going to love Italy! It is, after all, where you can find the most recognized artworks of all time (The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, The Last Supper, Statue of David, The Birth of Venus, The Pieta, Madonna and Child, and more). And don’t forget pizza. Pizza is art!
Baymax and The Bulls
We are still trying to understand what the hell this painting is and what it means. We just don’t get it. I mean, yes, I know it’s about an event in Spain called “Running of the Bulls,” but… what is that red thing / creature in front, running around and looking like a cross between a chorizo and Baymax from Big Hero 6?
The Nativity of Jesus
Here’s the unedited version of the story of the birth of Christ. You’ve heard about the three wise men who visited baby Jesus and gave him gifts. But have you heard about the two clowns that gatecrashed the manger?
Heaven and Hell
You might be wondering why there’s only photos of hell and none of heaven. That’s because none of us bothered taking a photo with the angel wings in heaven. It was nice, but let’s face it, we won’t be very convincing angels.
Christmas is still 9 months from now, but if you are thinking of giving out personalized Christmas cards to friends and family, you might want to go to Art in Island, take photos by the Christmas-themed backdrops, and voila! Instant Christmas card!
I don’t know why there was a random pufferfish on the wall right after the Christmas-themed paintings, but I thought it was cool because I sometimes call Mike my “Pufferfish.” I actually call him Puffy, but sometimes, I call him Puff, Puffball, Puffins, Puffy Pie, Pufferfish, and all sorts of Puff.
This would be so freaky if you have a twin brother or sister.
Reverse Perspective Illusion
This is a three-dimensional painting that looks flat when viewed from the front. However, when you move your head even slightly (up and down, left and right, or any direction), you will notice the illusion of depth. It’s hard to understand by just looking at this photo, so you might want to watch this so you can visualize it better. Tip: It’s best to view these paintings with one eye covered.
The Cat Café
Paula and I visited Nekorobi cat café when we went to Japan so here’s a re-enactment of that experience. The cats at Nekorobi weren’t as big as the one here in this photo, but they were pretty damn huge and extremely fluffy!
The Witching Hour
There was some paranormal activity going on at the museum.
The Three-Dimensional Toilet
OH MY GOD. This has got to be the most astounding artwork in the entire museum! The urinals, the sink, the water, the sign that says “Do Not Push The Drainage Knob”… everything is just so visually vivid! And when you take a piss, you will actually smell your own piss!
I’m kidding. This is obviously a real bathroom. Got you there!
We’re definitely defying gravity on this one!
These convicts were put behind bars for being cuckoos.
The Street Siege
There’s chaos in the streets when you see military tanks, capsized vehicles, policemen firing gunshots, and people screaming and running for their lives. And then when you see a gigantic head with a maniacal look or a monster of a foot erupting from the ground, it’s Doomsday!
Message in a Bottle
These castaways are sending an SOS to the world.
Big and Small
Those guys from Art in Island are geniuses! I don’t know how they were able to come up with these out-of-this-world illusory concepts. I don’t know what they were on when they created these artworks, but whatever that is, I want some of that good stuff!
We were inside the museum for a good three hours, and all that posing for photos was pretty tiring! If you get hungry after all that camwhoring, there is a café downstairs just right after you exit the museum proper.
Things you should know before visiting Art in Island:
- No shoes allowed! In order to maintain the cleanliness of the floors, guests can only walk around the museum either barefoot or in socks. I suggest you wear socks if your feet get cold easily… or if you haven’t cleaned your toenails.
- Wear comfortable clothes. You’re going to jump, bend, roll around on the floor, do splits, and basically MOVE, so wear appropriate clothes. Your skimpy mini skirt the size of a handkerchief and your hot pink sequined bra top? That’s not appropriate — not in the museum, and not even outside the museum!
- You can leave your bags in the storage area by the entrance but you can’t leave your valuables there, unless you’re willing to risk it, but that’s just dumb. So wear outfits that have pockets where you can store your phone, cash, and ATM/credit cards, or bring a little belt bag or body bag with you.
- Bring a camera!!! I cannot stress this enough. Taking photos is the whole point of visiting this museum! Just like how a soldier goes into battle with weapons, go to the museum armed with your most important tool: a camera. (“Sense of humor” is the second most important tool)
- Look for the best photo-taking spots. They’re barely noticeable but if you look at the floor, there are small, circular signs that say something like “Take Photo From Here” (I forgot the exact words). Those are the best angles to shoot photos from.
- There’s free wi-fi! I bet that’s the best piece of information you’ve read in this entire blog post. You can upload and share your photos instantly. Don’t forget to tag @ArtInIsland and use the hashtag #ArtInIsland!
- Stay for 2-3 hours. We arrived at 5:00 and ended at 8:00. We were having that much fun taking photos that we didn’t realize how late it was already!
- Bring a jacket (optional). It’s not that cold, but wearing a jacket looks good in some of the themes (e.g., the Christmas theme).
- Birthday celebrants get in for free! If you’re planning to go there, schedule it on your birthday, or one of your companions’ birthday.
- Use your imagination. There are paintings in the museum that require a certain degree of acting skills and some creative poses. Don’t just stand there and smile sweetly when you’re inside the mouth of an enormous and savage crocodile! You can do better than that!
- Watch your step. After your last stop at the museum, you have to exit through a descending staircase. Those are real stairs! It sounds funny, but my friend Punky almost fell off. I think she thought the stairs were still 3-D optical illusions!
- Have fun. Just enjoy the experience! Don’t be afraid to look silly. In fact, in Art in Island, the sillier, the better!
Art in Island
Address: 175, 15th Ave., Brgy. Socorro, Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines (Right behind Bellini’s restaurant in Cubao Expo)
Phone Number: (02) 421 1356
Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30 AM – 9:00 PM
Entrance Fee: PHP 500 for adults / PHP 400 for students / Free for children below 3 ft.