Art and Design

Op Art

Op Art is a kind of abstract art based on geometric patterns. It often features repeated shapes or fractals that create optical illusions of movement.

Jeffrey Steele is an Op Artist who was born in Cardiff in 1931. He painted his picture Harlequinade with incredible care in oil on canvas in 1963. The fractals are black circles on a white background. He repeated them in rows and imagined more rows on top of them. The circles get smaller towards the centre, as though you’re looking into a tunnel. The rows twist to give a sense of movement.

© Baroque experiment: Fred Madox, 1963.

Other people since have used computers to automate the repetition of shapes with amazing effects that they call Fractal Art.


You will need a computer drawing programme or paper, glue and scissors for collage.

  1. Make lots of repeat copies of a shape you like.
  2. Place the shapes to make a design, moving them just a little bit at a time, along a line or in a bigger shape.
  3. To vary the pattern, you can rotate the shapes or make them bigger or smaller, or change the colours.