Feb. 23 2015 07:03 PM

Surrealist painter makes the natural environment and its inhabitants more interesting


Artist Aaron Glasson often reimagines the natural world as a neon-colored magical land where almost anything can happen. His surrealistic paintings twist together organic-inspired imagery with psychedelic embellishment, creating a colorful landscape in which the strange and imaginative inhabitants he conjures up can play.

In "Que Tu Vida Siga Manifestando la Luz," the piece featured on CityBeat's cover this week, the New Zealand-born artist was commissioned to paint something for the opening of his friend's record store in Mexico City. Glasson says the painting is inspired by the world music his friend enjoys and that the central figure is a mashup of visual references to musicians like Fela Kuti, Moondog, Sun Ra, Francis Bebey, Alice Coltrane and Jon Hassell. The landscape behind the figure is inspired by Maori Bay in New Zealand, where Glasson was staying while painting the piece.

"Often, I'll paint something from my direct surroundings," Glasson says. "I guess a lot of my work is autobiographical in that sense. As much as it all has this grander conceptual idea, I think my paintings are also reflective of my personal life."

A few of Glasson's pieces are on view in Castles in the Sky, a group exhibition that will close at the new Low Gallery location (1878 Main St. in Barrio Logan) during the Barrio Art Crawl from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28.

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