Surely you’ve once or twice come across with a portrait or two of surreal versions of deformed characters with elements from the nineties subculture and tons of fast food… That is Sean Norvet’s signature style, one of those artists with a very particular kind of imagery that is better enjoyed in a bigger format.

One of Sean Norvet’s major turning points in his career was, without a doubt, the moment in which his surreal portraits with elements of junk food gained almost a viral popularity on the internet. This is how things work in the Instagram era: artists end up becoming well-known not for exhibiting in one of the big museums that are spread around the world but by accumulating a minimum quantity of K’s that create the sensation that they’re a ‘thing’, that they’ve made it, that people are behind this. And there might be some truth to this…

But, fortunately, Norvet didn’t enter the wheel of followers on Instagram (he ‘only’ had 15k) but he did a much interesting thing: he used the notoriety that those portraits had given him to reach absolutely all urban art media that have been and continue to be relevant. Suddenly, there was a consensus: Sean Norvet’s imagery wasn’t the promise of the future but it had a present value that was able to take some of the artistic tendencies of the past and bring them to the 21st-century in works of bigger dimensions. In his paintings, there is a great ratio of that characteristic skater kind of ‘ugliness’ that is sometimes considered to be close to punk. There are rave and acid touches. There are tons of that unpleasant irreverence that some of those nineties cartoons exhibited like Ren and Stimpy or Beavis and Butthead.

But what’s interesting about Norvet is that it doesn’t stay in just recent subcultural references, which is that same nineties subculture from which so many other artistic and cultural disciplines are inspired by. What he does directly refers to those hyperrealistic still lifes driven crazy via cartoons or surrealist visions of portraits like Archimboldo’s, who was another artist who was also into working with edible material. As strange as it may seem, Norvet’s art has a classic quality that seems to transcend time.

Unsurprisingly, his paintings have starred in a total of four solitary exhibitions since 2014. The former, High On Stress, was at Tokyo’s Amala Gallery, two years ago. The latest (so far), Arrangements, was at the well-known Los Angeles’ Richard Heller Gallery. Could it be that Sean Norvet is much bigger on Instagram? Yes, of course it could. But we believe that those are not his intentions. His intention is to create work that lasts. And on that regard, it’s going well. Better than just well.