Beverly Salas’ Art is Like an Acid Trip Sans the Acid

Surreal seems too weak a word to describe the work of Beverly Salas. The Anaheim-born, Santa Ana-based painter and illustrator entrances fans and fellow artists with her phantasmagorical imagery, including floating heads, sad-girl faces, melting shapes, droopy flower petals, and giant eyes that would put Margaret Keane to shame. While her work has gone viral many times, Salas is still amazed at its popularity; her Instagram account, @beverlysalas, has more than 32,000 followers. “People have told me that they can relate to a lot of the things I make, and that means a lot to me,” Salas says. “A lot of my family members are a little ‘creeped-out’ by my excessive use of eyes, though.”

Salas’ high-school film teacher described her work as “emotional abstract art,” and that’s about right: It has a distinctively spacey feel, pulsating with vibrant life forms that are beautiful and terrifying at the same time. Its psychedelic nature seems akin to spur of the moment, stream-of-consciousness creativity. “[Music] inspires me a lot,” says Salas, who cites Daniel Johnston, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Frida Kahlo among her artistic inspirations.”It’s amazing to listen to something and want to draw something out because it’s influenced the way you felt in the moment.”

As a member of Santa Ana art collective Konsept, you can usually find Salas hawking her stuff at the monthly Downtown Santa Ana art walk or exhibiting at an OC art show; you can also find her work online at Salas is highly sought after for painting commissions, but also makes fun packs filled with hand-painted buttons, small prints, stickers and sometimes zines. And her visual art has adorned many a show flier. She says she’ll continue to push her vibrant style to other mediums such as enamel pins, sculpture and T-shirt designs. “I find it crazy that people are willing to spend their hard-earned money on something I’ve made,” Salas says. “It feels like they’re taking little pieces of me with [them].”

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