In his painstakingly detailed oil paintings, artist Jon Ching skillfully balances texture and color to create fantastical creatures—owls with plumes of mushrooms and fuzzy molds, seahorses producing leafy stems, and fish with striped tulip fins—that appear natural in their surroundings. Ching’s collection of work, which imagines a mystical ecosystem that visualizes the symbiotic ties between flora and fauna, is permeated with this hazy line between the realistic and the surreal. He told Colossal, “I am influenced by the perspective of many Indigenous tribes that appreciate the natural environment and see god in every facet of our living universe. They must reawaken this perspective in our colonized nations, in my opinion, as it is essential to their viable society.
The Los Angeles-based artist nonetheless bases each piece in the real world even as he imagines the hybrid creatures. Whether it comes from watching David Attenborough films or from having spent his formative years in Kaneohe, Hawaii, he has a good feel for discovering the charming and unexpected in his own experiences. In part, he says, “my more bizarre animals, where the line between flora and fauna are blurred, are my attempt to represent some of this hidden magic.” “I’m picturing them into the actual world by setting them in a realistic environment among creatures we’re familiar with. Maybe if we look long enough or closely enough, we’ll see them, and then my art won’t seem so fantastical.
Starting on August 14, you may view Ching’s paintings at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles, where you can also buy prints, stickers, and postcards. For a look at his creative process and the actual animals and plants that inspire his artwork, check out his Instagram. by way of Iain Claridge