It’s so Surreal

Inspired by psychedelia, Overstreet’s art is bold and colorful


Junior Evan Overstreet hunches over her desk sketching the elegant curves of a woman’s body. Her room is dimly lit and thick with incense. Tapestries filled with geometric designs and dark landscapes are draped over the walls and ceiling. The empty sections of walls are filled with old Beatles vinyl covers and psychedelic drawings. Her desk is neatly organized with a plethora of acrylic paint. The canvas she has had propped against her wall for a month has been removed in preparation for her art competition over the weekend.

The painting she is submitting for her art show is of a nude woman in a magical landscape full of vines, flowers, and plants that you would see in a fairytale. Her painting is saturated with rich vibrant colors of purple and magenta. Its earth-like features are harmonious and both shroud the woman’s body while also highlighting it. Her lines range from thick and bold to flowing and delicate like the thin vines of ivy. In her artwork, Evan focuses on portraying beauty, normally through feminine figures.

“I just think the body of females is a beautiful piece of art and it can represent lots of different things,” Evan said.

She likes the curves and fluidity of the bodies and uses them to represent current issues in the world.

“My latest piece I submitted in the competition represented society’s judgment and pressure that is put on to young girls and their bodies,” Evan said. “I feel like this is a very present issue that I and other girls my age face.”

Evan focuses on keeping her art natural by using organic instead of geometric shapes.

“Everything has more of a natural form to it. I take extra detail in certain environmental components, like the way that ferns spiral when they bloom,” Evan said.

Her art is bold and colorful inspired by 60s 70s and 80s psychedelia present in old music and album covers.

“I think it stands out to audiences and grabs their attention when you use a lot of colors. I am a very colorful person and my art represents who I am and how I feel,” Evan said.

Evan refers to her unique combination of nature, psychedelia, and human forms as surrealism. Surrealism is the rejection of a rational vision of the world, instead, leaning toward unconscious thoughts and dreams.

“I incorporate natural things from the world that don’t always make complete sense,” Evan said. “You will be able to identify what I’m painting but it’s not always lined up with what you normally see in the world.”

The process begins with her coming up with an image in her head. She skips brainstorming and sketches, preferring a more natural and unplanned feeling to her art.

“Most of the time my ideas are really random and come in the middle of the night while I’m lying in bed, but I am also inspired by other artists when we study a new medium in art class,” Evan said.

Her new style of surrealism has been met with interest by her family as she changes and grows as an artist.

“They are from the country so they did not grow up around the hippie culture that I have experienced in Austin,” Evan said. “I don’t know if my art makes all that much sense to them, or if they understand it completely, but they are definitely supportive of it.”

When it comes to understanding her art, she believes that the different experiences people have can make them feel different ways while viewing it.

“I don’t want them to feel anything specific. Everyone has a unique connotation of the subjects, colors, and situations I paint,” Evan said.

Evan doesn’t want the message to be upfront or easy, instead, she wants you to have to search for it within yourself. This causes her art to take on a different meaning for everyone.

“I want it to have poetry,” Evan said. “Where you have to read it a couple of times to get the meaning and understand the purpose. I want the audience to sit there and figure out the deeper message, whether it’s the message I wanted to convey or something they find on their own.”