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In the Spotlight with Emerging Artist Aaron Smith

August 15, 2018

Artist Reception Sept 8th 11-4pm

Additional Guest Artists will be set up in our Art Alley.

Plus FREE kids craft.
EVENT PAGE HERE

 

We sat down and asked our Spotlight Artist AARON SMITH a few questions so that you could get to know him a bit better.  We hope you enjoy!

 

How would you describe your artwork?

If I was to give an established name I would have to say that it is idealism only because I am not quite to the point of realism. And in some cases realism isn’t that appealing to me. One might ask why not just take a picture if you want realism? And I agree with this point. For example; I may see a scene in front of me that I can see real potential in painting if only the dumpster or litter, or certain eyesores were omitted. Who need realism anyway? Painting is supposed to be better than reality I think.

 

What is your background?

I have always done pencil drawings and charcoal or pastel. Personally I find these to be limited mediums to work with. I took a pretty serious hiatus from doing any art for almost twenty years because when I was a young man digital art programs seemed to be making artists obsolete. This was my perception, and I wasn’t making enough progress to best the computer art programs I was comparing my work to anyway, I was discouraged. But actually I was progressing and I didn’t realize the talent I had. I spent twenty years studying Kung Fu and Taiji from age 20 to 36 or so. I don’t have any formal education with art but I have been studying it diligently for the last few years. Between the daily reading and the classes I have been taking here and there I probably have the equivalent of a formal education.
Maybe even a little more. Painting is the new Kung Fu for me. I give it

very diligent daily practice and study.

 

How has art changed your life?

It has given me an identity. All the time I spent doing martial arts I thought this was my identity but now there is very little I have left from that. I practiced, I demonstrated to the teacher my ability to learn and I don’t mean to be discouraging about it to anyone but in the end I have nothing tangible to show for it and it didn’t come from me. My paintings they come from me. They are like a snowflake in that anything I create can never be reproduced exactly. Just as the way we are all unique individuals. It is for this reason that I will never be jealous or have sour grapes toward another artist.

 

What work do you most enjoy doing?

There are many artist who have influenced my artwork and also just some things I have heard, read or observed. I read that the average amount of time people spend looking at a work of art is four
seconds.
Can you believe four seconds! I’ve thought about this statement a ton. People often mention that my work is detailed, yes. This is because the images that I have personally spent the most time staring at are those little cartoon drawings like the ones by Sergio Aragorn in Mad or those ones where you have to find all the hidden animals in the jungle by Eric Dowdle, or what most people are familiar with is Where’s Waldo. These are fun and they typically get looked at more than four seconds. I also think there is something to be said about the prodigiously huge pieces by Wyland. But I also like the beautiful colors and images of Guido Borelli. I like the old masters, because of the historical accuracy they preserve about their time and place. I’m trying to do all of this. Get as large as I can while throwing in as much interest as possible and having something both historical and beautiful but made for adults. I have only just recently developed my style and maybe produced three images like this. They take a long time!

 

What themes do you pursue?

For now I am painting local scenes because I live here and from what I can tell most of the great landscape artists of the past would choose local scenes from where they lived. A lot of those guys had the advantage of living in some really cool places. I have a print from an Italian painter called Canaletto who was born in 1697, he did the Venetian Canal and all the surrounding buildings as they were in his time. I admire this painting because no history book will ever describe more accurately how this place looked than his painting does. I hear Venice is falling apart now due to rising sea levels and pollution.

 

Do you have a favorite piece of artwork that you’ve created?

My image of the city from the top of the Monroe St. Bridge. I saw the steam rising from all of the buildings while heading south one cold February morning and I thought it was really pretty spectacular. I wondered if people who live here even know about this because you normally don’t see it. I’d never noticed it before. I decided then and there that I was going to paint this in just the way I saw it although it was way beyond my skill level at that time. I had no photograph of it and it took me two years before I could develop the skills necessary to complete the project. Two years, 87 photographs, and I had a friend walk across the bridge on a freezing cold day so I could get the scale and posture of a man on the bridge in the cold. I thought I would die before I finished it but I did it. This is the image that has started my path.

 

Professionally what is your goal, and is there a dream project that you would like to create?

I would like to reach I wide audience. I would be so thrilled if I was to one day walk into an office somewhere, maybe a doctor or god forbid I ever find myself in an attorney’s office, but I want to see one of my images up on some wall somewhere where I didn’t even know it was at. As far as a dream project, I have to admit that what some of these guys are doing around town with their murals really appeals to me. I have no idea how to do one, but it would be cool to know that I did something that everyone sees all the time.

 

What memorable responses have you had to your work?

I had one guy tell me how he had a car stop in front of him on that bridge, stopping him, then the driver got out and hurled himself off the bridge. He pointed out in my painting where that occurred. That was pretty indelible. When it was hanging in Barrister Winery I watched people standing in front of it leaning in for a closer look and pointing things out to each other. In much the same way one might search for Waldo. This was good because it is the effect I’m going for. And it took them more than four seconds!

 

 

What role does the artist have in society?

I think art for me is something to lose yourself in. It is a distraction from the stresses of everyday life. Even if a person doesn’t realize it at the time. They may be thinking about their bills or relationships
or what’s going on in politics but for a moment, even if it is a small moment we can lose ourselves in a work of art. Then go right back to the stress. A good painting is like a mini vacation. Of course this only
applies to the paintings I personally like. If it is politically themed or a painting designed to capture something like anguish than this would be something else. In which case I just don’t have an opinion.

 

Join us Sept 8th 11-4pm for an Artist Reception featuring Aaron's paintings, plus we will have guest artists in our Art Alley and a FREE Kids Craft throughout the day.
EVENT PAGE HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

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