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The New Neon: An Exhibition of Faux Fauvist Artwork

Josh Byer is a Canadian born professional artist, who’s been drawing, and selling his work since he was two years old. Although back in those days he was drawing treasure maps on the walls of his parents’ house, and selling his drawings for a penny, while going door to door with a wagon full of art. Now, Byer collaborates with many big name companies, as well as selling his work through online retailers.

Written by
Alyssa Mattei

While it may seem that Byer was destined to become an artist, there was a brief period of time when he thought he wanted to be a lawyer, like his father. However, this ended when one day his father returned from work and exclaimed “It’s a NOOSE,” whilst throwing his tie upon the ground. He was frequently in and out of art schools as a kid, many of which he was kicked out of, until he finally graduated with a BFA in film.

Byer has an interesting perspective to creativity, and his purpose behind his art. Describing his “theory about creativity” as follows:

Perhaps we don’t imagine anything at all. Instead, we tune our minds to the dimension where our desired scenario is actually taking place and observe it remotely. The imagination may be a quantum transceiver – capable of transmitting and receiving information from an infinite assortment of coexisting dimensions. Art is my attempt to prove this.

The Liberation of Ortona

“Art can use beauty to take pain out of the world.”

He explores this alternatively-dimensional imagination with a style known as “Faux Fauvism”, a term Byer invented to describe his unique form of painting, which explores pattern recognition using linear strokes and bright neon colors. Upon first glance, the precision of the lines, and vibrancy of colors, seems too perfect to be created by any means other than digital. However, Byer mainly uses inks, watercolor, and acrylic paints, and lots of patience, to create his masterpieces, which can take from hundreds to up to a thousand hours to create. He hopes his style of painting can bring to viewers a feeling of “waking hallucination as they observe the artwork,” in a phenomenon he describes as “cloudgazing”.

Aside from his painting, this multi-talented artist, also has experience as an author, actor, and in movie and television production. All this keeps his schedule busy, and a typical day involves reading scripts, painting, carving, eating, (more) painting, and engaging in social medias. He only takes one day off per week, to get together with his family, and eat barbecue. His motivation to keep up with all these art forms is his belief that “Art can use beauty to take pain out of the world.”

Josh Byer is currently preparing for his first large-scale exhibition, Le Neon, which will open on September 14th, 2018. It can be seen at the Amelia Douglas Gallery in New Westminster, Canada.

His advice for new artists? Be kind.

5 O’clock Somewhere


Cherry City


The Critics

Someone Forgot Their Phone

Visit Josh Byer’s website at to find a gallery of paintings & illustrations, along with much more work from his expansive career. Keep up to date with him on instagram @vancityjoshb.