Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Art Space Talk: Aaron Kraten

I recently interviewed artist Aaron Kraten about his paintings. This self-taught artist has been making waves with his expressive images. He has acquired a large online fan base and has sold many paintings in his relatively short career. Mr. Kraten continues to expand the direction of his art.

In my opinion, his art asks questions about our materialistic nature and the urge that some people have for the vices of the street. There is a great deal of social commentary within each painting.

I can 'see' people I've known through the years when I observe Mr. Kraten's art. His work captures the essence of their youthful abandonment. I pondered several issues upon viewing several paintings.

When I first observed his work I noticed his 'eye' for the details of our society. In a sense, his work reveals the underbelly of our economically charged lifestyles. I feel that his art reflects the anxieties of a youthful generation that is faced with an overabundance of options as to how to live... Pleasure is all around us and mistakes, as well as choices, will be made.

You can be observe Mr. Kraten's myartspace gallery by doing a search for Aaronkraten on the main site.

Q. Tell me a little about your background. Are your past experiences reflected in the work you do today?

A. "i would say growing up in apartments and moving around alot effects my art"

Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A. "when I was a kid"

Q. What was the toughest point in your career as an artist?

A. "doing shows in what seems like a gallery and it turnes out to be a rave or a club."

Q. Have you ever hit rock-bottom?

A. "when i lived at home in my teens it was rock bottom."

Q. How has creating art shaped you professionally and personally?

A. "making art and selling art has given me opertunity to publish works and be involved with other creative people , via art shows."

Q. What is your artistic process?

A. "mixed media on wood"

Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?

A. "I like using all sorts of things not just stuff found in art supply stores."
Q. Do you have an academic background in art?

A. "I'm self-taught. I grew up in Huntington Beach , CA and always enjoyed drawing. I carried around these small 100 page sketchbooks which I drew in often. I have drawn over 58 - 100 page sketchbooks and over 150 paintings."

Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art?

A. "defently i am influenced by graffiti and skateboarding."

Q. What are your artistic influences?

A. "machanics , how people treat eachother socially plays a big part"

Q. Has anyone inspired you?

A. "Mark Gonzales is a big one, also berry Mcgee and early skataboard art."

Q. Could you tell us more about your influences?

A. "I guess things i think influence me are Graffiti Skateboarding Technology Love Fashond Urban environments video games punk music *early 80's late 70's*"

Q. How did you start your career as an artist?

A. "In 1999 I was working at a thrift store called Stateside. There I started experimenting with painting on Found objects.I started Displaying my work in the Thrift Store and Sold Quite a bit of Art off those walls. Soon after I Began Submitting my work to Gallerys and Museums locally. I show about 4 times a year and Post new work on my website often.

Q. How exactly has street art influenced your work?

A. "it is all around us , the expressions of street artists maybe it is a small sticker , a zeen , a piece, it is the words of the people."

Q. When were you first introduced to such work?

A. "I cant remember a time when i didnt notice this subculture."

Q. Some of your images deal with drug addiction. Do you see these pieces as a warning to addicts?

A. "these paintings repersents the attiction to different things such as , people, drugs, products, love, sadness"

Q. The majority of your art seems to deal with materialism... or our materialistic culture. Can you go into detail about this aspect of your art?

A. "I think my work more or less goes into the items that fill our lives and the attachments we have to material object as far as how it effects our daily lives. sort of the one mans junk is another mans treasure sort of thing."

Q. I also notice a theme of technology in some of your images. What view are you trying to express about technology?

A. "I am very interested in technology and feel that it plays a important roll in daily life."

Q.Where can we see more of your art?

A. " http://www.aaronkratenart.com "

Q. Do you have any upcoming exhibits?

"i have a show at thinkspace in Los Angeles in December"

September 8th - October 8th
4210 Santa Monica Blvd , Los Angeles, CA 90029

Q. In one sentence... why do you create art?

A. "to see the windows to my mind."

Q. Is there anything else you would like to say about your art or the 'art world'?

A. "I love what I do. what could be better then that."

I hope you have enjoyed this interview with Aaron Kraten. Feel free to critique his work and be sure to visit his site.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

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