June 25th, 2013 by Adam Doucette
As we near the date of ‘From Paper to Pixels’, we will be profiling some of the artists involved. This week we are featuring Aaron North.
Aaron North’s creatures exist in a realm completely of his own. Recognizable animals bend and shift into humans and back into animals. North places these figures in surrealist environments in which the figures appear to suggest symbiotic relationships. Often the creatures are interacting with objects such as chairs and dressers that suggest a relationship to domesticity, leading the viewer to question just what the nature of these creatures could be and to think twice about what could be dwelling in the shadows of our own homes.
What did you think when Rebecca asked you to be a part of this project?
I initially didn’t know if she was for real, but figured I should respond anyway. Then after talking to her more I was extremely flattered that she would think of me for this project, and totally excited. From what I have seen, she seems to be coming from a great place and has a genuine interest in art. I’m still kind of surprised this is all happening.
How do you feel about Infrared5 bringing your characters to life?
I’m very excited and anxious because this is all completely new to me. It also feels very weird (in a good way) to send something away and have it return differently and possibly more powerful.
Have you worked with new media before in conjunction with your art?
No, nothing of this magnitude with a second party before. I have done a lot of printmaking and cast molding with my work, but I’ve never worked with someone else, or anything digital.
Are you hoping that this project will make your work more accessible to people?
Yes, I know that a project like this interacts with people that might not normally come into contact with this work. While I am not so tech-savvy, I love the idea of connecting to people in new ways.
Were you formally trained as an artist?
No, but like most kids I grew up drawing and was something that really mattered a lot to me. My grandma painted pretty cool landscapes in the 70’s and gave me her set of oil paints when I was a teenager. I painted all of these crazy canvasses in my room in the basement like I was some renaissance master. I always wanted to take a bunch of art classes in school, but they were usually full. Eventually I left school early and was doing a lot of street art and screen printing in Colorado. All of that just sort of progressed at some point to where I am right now.
When did you start creating these characters? How do they evolve in your imagination?
When I started dating my now fiancé, I was always drawing her pictures and writing her notes. She really loves animals, so that became my focus for those drawings. I had always done a lot of figure work with human subjects early on, which along with my interest in surrealism and the Flemish Renaissance, and our shared interest in animals, unified into something new and different. At some point there was clarity, almost like I was sitting on top of it watching, and it became much more comfortable to convey what’s inside me.
The subject matter of my work is a heavy mix of memories, daily thoughts, and conscious dreams. I usually have one object or movement that I am trying to express with a figure and everything connected to it relates to that central idea. Everything I paint comes from the way something looks to me and the way it looks next to something else. The compositions are definitely very aesthetic based for me.
Do you have names for your creatures?
No. I’m attached to groups of things as a whole, but not really individually. I have trouble even giving titles to completed works.
Have you ever dreamt of dancing with your creatures?
No. It’s a reasonable question, but no.