Australian Tessellation Artist Bruce Bilney
See Bruce Bilney on YouTube!

realistic kangaroo flip (mirror) tessellation

Bruce Bilney is best known for tessellations with Australian themes, and of realistic animal shapes in natural, comfortable poses. That's not as common as you'd expect. It's a sad fact that most tessellation artists are satisfied with blocky, almost unfinished-looking or overly stylized unnatural awkward shapes.

Also, beginners at tessellation, as evidenced in the guest artist galleries on my site, too frequently stop as soon as they have a shape that tessellates and looks...well... only a little bit like something from the animal kingdom. Beginners too often overlook the next step: tweaking the tiles' shapes 'til they most closely resemble the theme animal (or toaster or person or dragon).

Bruce Bilney makes that extra effort, and so his animal tessellations are particularly satisfying.

About art, Bruce writes "I've always thought the primary attribute of anything to be called Art is that it must at least grab one's attention, and for a moment, however long or short, to hold it. When people are gazing stereo images, and equally when they are looking at tessellations, they are arrested as in few other moments." (quote drawn from email in December of 2013)

About the too-small spectrum of colors we humans can see, Bruce writes "I know what you mean about the limitations of our colour sense. Damn, colour is so-o-o-o delicious to our eyes, I wish we could have, say, just 3 more! ...Because when you want to display them side-by-side, e.g. for contrast [in the tiles of a tessellation], you run out so soon ... But we're pretty damn lucky just the same, almost no other mammals see the spectrum we do. But I do look hard at the radiant area just above the outermost shell of a rainbow, bees and butterflies can see that as we see neon signs in darkness!" (quote drawn from email in December of 2013)

Click on any Polaroid™ to see a large version of it, with a description that's almost true, occasionally & unintentionally.

In the new millenium, Bruce Bilney is also famous... or infamous... for what he calls "wiggle room" in his tessellations. Most tessellation artists would rather gargle broken glass than draw an uneven or thick outline around their "tiles". Lately, though, Bruce likes leaving small gaps in his designs where the patterns would otherwise require a break in the realism of the animal's shape. For example, look at the gaps in the corners of his turtles and squids. See how, in his words, you'd need a vacuum cleaner to pull the parts together at the corners, and it would look unnatural and uncomfortable. Is he breaking the rules of tessellation? Some artists say "yes", some say "no". What do you think?

Bruce Bilney is also known for his paper sculptures of "Platonic Solids": Pyramids, Tetrahedrons, Octohedrons, Icosahedrons, and so on. Sometimes their surfaces are decorated with tessellations that wrap around the whole object; sometimes they are made of sparkly paper; and sometimes they're covered with a map of the Earth.

Mr. Bilney's tessellations also find their way into woodwork and other "real materials". Check out these which Bruce made himself, and one made by Kevin Lee using Bruce Bilney's tessellation patterns:

In addition to the gallery of Bruce's art presented on this page, Seth Bareiss (the webmaster of and Bruce Bilney are working on a co-authored book of tessellation designs and build-them-yourself 3D paper sculptures. Also, soon, through this website you can buy some of Bruce Bilney's assemble-it-yourself "Plato's Jewels". Those are dandy 3D paper sculptures based on the 3D shapes which geometry teachers call "Platonic Solids". They're assembled in a special way that Bruce calls "Ozzigami".