John Altoon

In the course of his brief artistic career, John Altoon made an explosive impression on the Los Angeles art community of the 1950s and ’60s, in part because of his volatile personality. Altoon was a member of the Ferus Gallery scene, alongside Robert Irwin, Ed Kienholz, and Ed Ruscha. He produced drawings, paintings, and prints of overt satires, personal nightmares, and improbable sexual situations. In fact, Altoon frequently used his dreams and fantasies as subjects, influenced by his encounter with Surrealism in his travels through Europe. His renderings had a misty or ghostly quality, which Altoon achieved by using an airbrush to apply color.