Looking at one of Juan Travieso’s paintings feels like looking at an image—whether a photo on your computer screen or a glimpse of a rare bird in a tree—right before it disappears. Working methodically in his New Jersey studio, he tapes off angles, paints, peels off the masking tape, then tapes again to create the myriad geometric fractures that comprise a single painting. If you need a singular word to describe the 31-year-old’s work, it’s impermanence. You’ve got to catch the color while you can.

The exotic animals and endangered species depicted in Travieso’s paintings are pixelated into grid-like shapes and forms, reminiscent of 3D models. They look like digital renderings, but are created using strokes of the paint brush.

His work deals with two primary elements: organics and geometrics. The right angle of human construction, an angle that doesn’t exist organically, is in opposition—but also in forced partnership—with nature. The animals in Travieso’s pieces appear to be mid-pixelation, like they’re about to be wiped away. It’s that transience that interests him.

“When you look at my paintings and see these endangered animals, you have almost this digitalization taking over it or erasing it,” he says. “That’s also this idea of human touch, the eradication of a species. That’s all our doing. I guess that’s the way to differentiate the three dimensionality, the 45-degree angle, from the organic thing and how they’re both two separate things.”