COSTA MESA — An artist like Karlin Meehan knows that good art should pop out and transform the way people see the world around them.
Which is why she hangs a pair of 3-D glasses alongside her vibrant, multi-dimensional paintings.
"It's a great trick to get people to really engage with the art who aren't necessarily art-oriented," said the Newport Beach resident, who is a patent paralegal by day and an aspiring artist by night.
Meehan, 25, began experimenting about a year ago with different paint types and layering techniques to achieve a three-dimensional effect. Her muse was a cheap pair of 3-D glasses procured by a friend.
Finding that, when viewed with 3-D glasses, some colors and hues appeared to move toward the eye while others receded, Meehan created her current collection of 12 pieces, dubbed "Bliss of Growth."
The bright, geometric designs done in acrylic paint on canvas will be on display at the Solo Projects Gallery in Costa Mesa with an artist's reception March 18. Meehan's work will remain on display for about a month, said gallery curator Justin Clark.
"I love her work," said Clark, who owns Clark Studios, a professional graphic design boutique in the Solo building on Baker Street. "It's absolutely amazing."
Clark began organizing gallery showings in the building about six months ago to fill what he saw as a void of fine art galleries in the area.
Meehan's exhibit will be the third show; it's expected to draw about 200 people opening night, he said.
It will also be Meehan's first solo show.
"I had a really rough 2010," Meehan said. "I got a lot of rejection, a lot of people who said that I'm too young, not good enough, or need more experience — just like anyone trying to do what they wanted to creatively, really."
But rather than let the rejections from gallery owners turn into self-doubt, she said it was like "gasoline on a fire."
In following the advice of a former USC art professor, Meehan would retreat back to her studio after a rejection, set to work painting yet more art work and target a new list of galleries.
Now, four years after graduating from USC, Meehan said her diverse portfolio of art is like looking back on the stages of her life and development as an artist.
"Art is kind of like acting where you're always waiting for a big break," Meehan said. "All I can do is continue being really persistent in submitting my work, painting nonstop and not give up."
If You Go
What: Artist reception for "Bliss of Growth," 3-D art exhibit by Karlin Meehan
When: 6:30 p.m. March 18
Where: The Solo Projects Gallery, 765 Baker St., Costa Mesa