With its intersection of mountain, water and vineyard, unique natural beauty and impeccable climate, Osoyoos is a favoured destination for artists looking for an inspiring location in which to practice their craft.
At first glance, his Sunrise in Osoyoos appears to be nothing more than a cacophony of shape and colour bearing little connection to the South Okanagan community. But as you allow your mind to wander — to release itself into the image — you begin to grasp the artist’s intent.
“What my style does is it tries to dance around that moment when you’re not sure if you’re looking at a cloud or if that cloud looks like something else,” he explains. “I really like it when people can’t tell whether they’re sort of projecting an idea into the image or if they’re viewing an idea that’s already there.”
Byer’s artwork has been exhibited in Los Angeles, Toronto, and Vancouver alongside Picasso, Dali, Matisse, and the Group of Seven. Nearly 12 million viewers have visited his online galleries since 2015.
His works are also licensed by international manufacturers and now are merchandised via dozens of retailers, including Walmart, Amazon, and Art.com.
That includes Sunrise in Osoyoos, which is now a featured purchase on Wayfair, Walmart and GroupOn. It’s presentation on websites worldwide delivers with each viewing a unique promotional opportunity for the community as would-be purchasers stop to ponder just where in the world Osoyoos might be.
Josh’s work is considered “so different, so mind-blowing,” says Creative Boom, an online magazine that celebrates innovative art forms, “he’s invented a completely new style of painting.”
Josh calls his energetic style of painting — some might even call it frenetic — “faux fauvism,” an imitation of Fauvism. That early-20th Century art form was marked by the use of bold, often-distorted forms and vivid colours to deliver individual expression and emotional response.
For Fauvists such as Henri Matisse, André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck, each individual element put to canvas played a specific role in the overall presentation. Combined, they delivered a message that was strong and unified.
That certainly defines what Byer creates with his works of art.
“I wish to find the edge of rational representation, to render the moment right before a composition disintegrates into pure abstraction,” Josh told Creative Boom in 2016. “This is the idea that drives Faux Fauvism.”
As to how a sunrise in Osoyoos ended up on his canvas, Josh speaks to his love of the South Okanagan and, particularly, Canada’s only pocket desert.
“I was invited to do some camping out there in 2014,” he says of his introduction to the community. “I was just very struck — I had a very special summer.
“It’s a pretty magical place in Canada. There’s a kind of heat there that I haven’t really experienced anywhere else.”
To see more of Josh’s art, visit byercreative.com.