Joseph Somers is an American artist and painter most famous for his canvases, three-dimensional in both their structure and illusion.
Somers lost both his parents at a young age and was raised with other homeless children on a farm in New York state. He joined the Army at the age of 16, and after returning to civilian life he spent the next 15 years with a religious vocation, and then worked in the medical field.
Somers was interested in illusionist art and had been influenced by Escher and Dali. He opened his first studio in 1989. He drew on his extensive travels and varied career in his representational work. His canvases use a special technique to create the illusion of three dimensions. His furniture is often whimsical with painted surfaces, anthropomorphic legs, and plant-like growths.
His canvases are made of a series of vertical wedges, usually three per work, painted in a realistic style on each side of the wedge. The images are arranged so that, when seen from one point, the images on the various wedges form a realistic whole with slight breaks in the visual field. As the viewer moves in front of the canvas, the images on the various wedges seem to move and swim.