Aaron Elvis Jupin

Born 1991  |  Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA, USA


If J.G. Ballard wrote of suburbia as “one of the end-states of history,” a reality so totalizing it could only be threatened by plague, flood, or nuclear war, Aaron Elvis Jupin examines the seductions of the uncanny image culture that comprise it. In the flat, graphic contours of airbrushing — that medium that evokes commercial illustration and trompe l’oeil alike — his paintings generate an American iconography for the latchkey generation: Saturday morning cartoons, venetian blinds, and the hollow glow of refrigerator light. His compositions use stenciling, cutting, and masking; they often push dimension and illusion into enigmatic, noir territory, reminding the viewer that images tend to be manipulative.


Jupin was raised in the suburbs of Fullerton, California, sandwiched between Disneyland and Hollywood, beacons for fantasy and the defiance of nature. With technical skills that germinated from spray painting his skate deck and lessons from his uncle, the animator Andrew Brandou, Jupin builds on the grotesque and surreal traditions of Americans Ray Johnson, the Chicago Imagists, and Robert Overby. A recurring motif across his work is spit, which splashes and drips over unrelated images; it brings something human, something abject, to his abstractions. Working from his Los Angeles studio, Jupin has in recent paintings responded to the ambiguity of this end-state moment — from our powerlessness and culpability in the face of climate change to our forced confrontation with ourselves in quarantine.