If you have a soft spot in your heart for rainbow robots, then get yourself to Ananda Hair Studio on Broadway Street in downtown Asheville to see the work of Phil Cheney, stat. Even if you’re not always into psychedelic paintings of flowers and snails and puppy dog tails, Cheney’s “arts” (as he is fond of calling them) will change your mind.
Imagine navigating Dragon Con via the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, or joining Dr. Who on a trip to Burning Man — such is the work of Cheney. The paintings are bright, adventurous, comical and — in spite of the references — 100 percent original. It is art that doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is one of the reasons it’s so likable.
In spite of the lighthearted themes, there are a lot of sophisticated things occurring in Cheney’s paintings regarding color and composition. He is a master at stylizing complicated subject matter like three-eyed monsters, hippie chicks, mechanical ostriches and starry-eyed eggs with legs.
Another striking aspect of the work is its scale — much larger than I had expected, and in the company of Ananda’s stylish decor, the paintings radiate. While the salon invites viewings during shop hours, you may still want to avoid gawkily plodding a course while people are getting their hair done. To do this you have two options: book yourself an appointment with one of Ananda’s capable stylists, or join Cheney for an artist’s reception Saturday.
Local performance painter, graphic designer and all-around groovy guy, Phil Cheney, has paintings hanging at Ananda Hair Studio in downtown Asheville. The opening reception is Saturday, Sept. 17, from 7:30 to 11 p.m.