Stranger in a Strange Land: The Art of Yann Aubertin

By Dusty Ray

In the murky light of Cranknstein (215 N. College Ave.), the old brick walls are populated with brightly colored paintings of several different styles. At first glance, one might think that they are the creations of several artists, but they are all the brainchildren of the multi-talented Yann Aubertin.

A French expat, Aubertin has been residing in the U.S. (specifically Fort Collins) for just over a year. Aubertin began painting at the age of 21, and then stopped for a few years, busy with travel and his job as an aircraft maintenance technician. At 28, Aubertin decided to return to painting, enrolling in an evening art class in Toulouse, where his professor, Mr. Ducrot, remarked on his talent.

Aubertin’s pieces range from the abstract to  quirky realism, from the surreal to the familiar. In certain pieces you can see how his years of staring at schematics have bled into his work, creating diagram-like paintings.

Certain paintings are completely abstract, while others blend pop culture and politics in statements of social unrest. This can be seen in his work “Fukushima,” a perspective-heavy piece that contrasts the Japanese nuclear plant of its namesake with multiple mutated “Pikachu” characters from the Nintendo video game Pokémon. The dark comedy of “Fukushima” cannot be denied, and it hits hard with its commentary.

Aubertin is reluctant to read too far into his work. He takes influence from Caravaggio and other early painters of the Middle Ages and turns their religious content on its head. Is he making a statement? Or is it for purposes of, as Aubertin puts it, “pure provocation?” This ambiguity seems to pervade the artist and his work, both of which are nearly impossible to classify.

As to the Fort Collins community, Aubertin feels welcome, and finds friendly artists around every turn. He hopes to bring his influences into the community and find a symbiosis between the art scene and himself as a painter.

From working in the aeronautics industry to becoming a full-time painter, Aubertin has had his share of diverse experiences.

“I came to America with some false pre-conceptions, but I realize now that Colorado is not the same as Mississippi or California. I have found a very progressive scene here, and have found the people to be far beyond what I expected.”

Find out more about Yann Aubertin by visiting

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