Faux Fauvism with Josh Byer

The radical style of Fauvism appeared in art history briefly, yet significantly steered art practice towards more abstract art expressions like cubism. Previous leaders of the movement such as Matisse and Rouault ensured that fauvism was radically emotional – and never boring. While the historic style may not be everyone’s taste, modern artist Josh Byer is bringing the values of fauvism to his work… and people really like it.

Josh Byer, a Canadian artist rooted in Vancouver, can be described as a pioneer of a new modern art style called “Faux Fauvism”. Google the term and Byer’s artwork effectively consumes the results feed. The fauvism style is defined as wild, violently colourful, juxtaposed forms – and Byer’s work clearly falls under those descriptive lyrics. But where he diverges in style, his art reinterprets typical fauvism through a distinct kaleidoscopic line work and electric colours. Psychedelic lines weave through one another to form realistic and imaginative scenes – the movement and energy almost addictive. Some of Byer’s work features more simple shapes and colour schemes, relaxing yet uplifting to the viewer. Most of his work though energizes with intricately complex and interpretive narratives, moving the viewer’s eye to discover the characters and the scene. Some of the imagery is nearly unrecognizable abstraction, pushing the boundaries of his work to the edge of recognition.

Byer’s paintings are conceived with the memory of his mother and started as an outlet for his grief. This raw emotion is evident throughout his work, attracting nearly 10 million viewers to his online galleries since 2015.

You can view some of his featured paintings below for your own interpretation.

 | Acrylic and ink on paper | 8” x 10”

Urban Deer | Acrylic and ink on paper | 4″ x 4″

Poppycock | Acrylic and ink on paper | 6” x 9”

Shoe on the Dance Floor | Acrylic and ink on paper | 6″ x 8″

Right Before the Rain Came | Acrylic and ink on paper | 9″ x 12″

The Stones and Sleet on Sherbrooke St | Acrylic and ink on wood panel | 12” x 12”

Containers of Water | Acrylic and ink on wood panel | 7″ x 10″

We Can Live Here | Acrylic and ink on paper | 6” x 8”

Cake | Acrylic & ink on wood panel | 12″ x 16″

Afternoon in the Park | Acrylic and ink on wood panel | 6″ x 8″

To learn more about Josh Byer, visit

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