WIRED MAGAZINE: The Cosmic, Psychedelic, Glow-in-the-Dark Art of Alex Aliume

The 25-year-old painter says his works are a message from the cosmos that we need to get our act together.


ALEX ALIUME IS about to show me his latest painting, made with a new technique. I’m on my knees on the floor of his 8- by 12-foot basement studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and 3D neon fluorescent artwork covers almost every square inch of wall, floor, and ceiling.

The new painting is called Cosmic Consciousness. When I say painting, though, I actually mean four paintings: I see one thing under normal light, another with 3D glasses, another under black light, and something else in total darkness.

Under normal light, I see a Rorschached scarab, or at least the ghost of one.


When we put on the 3D glasses, the image acquires six inches of depth, and I feel the urge to peek under the edges of the thing. The 2D-to-3D transition is like falling into the Westeros maquette at the beginning of Game of Thrones. When Aliume turns on the black light, it starts to glow, and I realize that there is a painting beneath the painting. It almost looks organic.


Aliume, who is 25, has only been painting full-time for two years. He hasn’t actually exhibited very much, partially because he fields an endless stream of requests to visit his studio. He’s got 82,000 followers on Instagram, and he has sold work to buyers from the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Holland, India, Thailand and the Philippines. Blue Man Group cofounder Chris Wink is an avid collector, and it won’t be long until one of Aliume’s works ends up on an album cover. (I’m talking to you, Circles Around the Sun.)


And he is about to show me something astonishing. “I am going to turn off the light,” says Aliume. “You will see what this is able to do. This is not human.” The room goes dark. At that point, clarity and confusion collide. There is a painting beneath the painting beneath the painting. I don’t quite understand what I’m looking at, but I do know that it’s beautiful. Is it the night sky? Or is it the Chakra system? (As above, so below.) Or is it both? It might be ... the everything.


“I am still trying to understand what I found,” Aliume says. “It was an accident. This is a map of something cosmic.”

I want one. I want it on my wall, so I can stare at it every night and go riding on all those waves of light.

YOU DON’T NEED to use psychedelics to appreciate Alex Aliume’s art, but it sure helps. And even if the various ingredients of a typical Aliume painting are familiar—vanishing points, 3D, black light, and neon—the territory he occupies at their intersection is his alone. If we are living in a moment of psychedelic-aided spiritual renewal—and microdosing techies and serious mental health researchers alike would argue that we are—Aliume is painting the posters for it.


FULL ARTICLE READ ON WIRED: https://www.wired.com/story/the-cosmic-psychedelic-glow-in-the-dark-art-of-alex-aliume/