Feb. 16 2010 07:02 PM

The woman behind the acid trip on the front page of this week's CityBeat


One might say that Celeste Byers' art is a labor of obsession. Capturing an amazing level of painstaking, pen-wrought detail, Byers celebrates her camping trip to Joshua Tree in the piece on this week's cover of CityBeat.

'Well, actually, in Joshua Tree, I did acid, and that's where I got the shapes from and the colors,' Byers said.

'And the big goat is from—the whole time I was on the acid trip, I kept imagining a big goat. ... They don't even have mountain goats there or anything, but sometimes it's like you feel a presence or something.'

Giant goats notwithstanding, Byers' piece captures the free spirit and sparse landscape of Joshua Tree National Park, from its perfectly imperfect rock formations to its Seussian namesake tree. In total, 20-year-old Byers spent three nights drawing and coloring the 30-inch-by-'20-something' picture. It's a little surprising considering she had no final image in mind.

'I didn't even know what it would look like at all. I just went for it,' she said. 'It was just very stream of consciousness.'

Byers freely admitted that her favorite parts of the piece are the polygons flowing across the top.

'I really like the pattern coming out of the guy's head,' she said. 'I had a lot of fun doing that, just mixing the colors. I feel like those colors are what I saw.'

Geometry is a reoccurring theme in Byers' art, which is currently on view at Bluefoot Bar and Lounge in North Park and can be seen at celestebyers.blogspot.com. From sculpture to sketches, Byers revels in her practically single-minded determination and an extensive (and nearly excessive) level of detail.

'It's very, very meticulous. I just really love to draw,' she said. 'I just get so into it; I can't stop drawing. I get so obsessed with the little, tiny details, like leaves or things on trees, like lichen or bark.'

While Byers isn't conscious of her style when drawing, she knows that others see it in her art.

'I never thought I had a style until someone told me, 'You have such a distinctive style.''

For now, Byers is content making her art, especially since this is the second time her work has graced the cover of CityBeat.

'It's really exciting. All these little things I keep doing to get myself out there add up.'


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