In an effort to continue to highlight great talent, I also wanted to highlight some local artists. One artist’s work that I am currently loving is Aaron Troyer.
I first came across his work over the winter when I went to the Winter Flea at Strongwater here in Columbus, Ohio. (As a side note, if you’ve never been to the Columbus Flea – you NEED to check it out – it happens 4x a year – each season – in a different location in Columbus).
What struck me about Aaron’s work was how they first appeared as basic landscapes or as Native American art pieces. I loved the color and the shapes (both positive and negative). However, upon having a closer look, it’s easy to get lost in them. There is such incredible detail and movement within the pieces. It is very easy for the eye to move about his pieces and spend time looking at them. It takes real talent to make art that can be enjoyed at a glance as well as over time.
Usually for my artist interviews, we talk in person or over the phone, but in this case, I conducted the interview over email. I was planning to write it up, but I enjoyed reading it in Aaron’s voice, so I’m just going to just share my questions and his written responses.
(Briefly) Describe your artistic journey up until this point. (For example: Did you love art as a child? When did you start drawing, etc)
I’ve always been really into drawing. I was first inspired by dinosaurs, which I would obsessively draw as a child. In my adolescence, I discovered action movies and women, which took my artistic journey into some pretty violent and perverted places. I also got into punk music around this time, so lot’s of skulls, vomit, and other “edgy” imagery began to make appearances in my work. My mother was very worried.
Luckily, my high school art teacher, Mindy Duncan, was able to steer me into a more appropriate direction. I’ve always been really into music, too. It was a last minute decision to pursue art at a college level, and I still wonder if it was the right decision. Throughout college, I primarily stuck to observational paintings, with a focus on figures and situations. I began to dabble in abstraction in college, but didn’t really run with it until after graduating. I guess I felt more inclined to experiment after college because I was not paying tuition or painting for a grade. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have majored in fine art and just pursued it in my free time. There’s much less pressure to create accessible work for the sake of establishing a career when you consider your craft as a hobby, rather than a profession. I’m really starting to ramble here….
Who are your artistic influences?
What’s your advice for young artists wanting to pursue art as a career?
Well, personally I haven’t been able to financially support myself on art alone, so I don’t think anyone should take my advice. That being said, my advice would be to not quit your day job, unless you have wealthy parents. If you do happen to have wealthy parents, you can probably focus solely on art and live a true bohemian lifestyle. I’m speaking solely from personal experience and the fact that I don’t really treat art as a profession.
Would you mind commenting on the art scene in Columbus?
There are lots of great artists in Columbus, but I don’t make it to enough shows and events to have anything meaningful to say. There seems to be a good variety in Columbus, though. I have some friends in town that are really great artists, but I am going to shy away from naming names, just in case I forget someone.
What has been your educational journey as an artist?
I have a degree in fine art with a focus on painting from OSU, and I also attended the Cleveland Institute of Art for a year.
What’s the inspiration for your work?
It’s difficult for me to pinpoint any specific inspiration. I am often inspired by my own art, but kind of in a negative way. I ‘m driven to avoid repeating myself or becoming to formulaic, while also trying to establish a specific style. It can be a difficult balance. I’ve thrown out a lot of pieces that I felt were too similar to earlier work. I try to make each piece into an unusual and original space that works on it’s own, rather than as one part of a greater body of work. I like the idea of an impossible landscape, with a mixture of familiar imagery and perspectives that are contrasted by an unconventional approach to making landscapes. Oh, and I am inspired by my lovely wife, as well (Hi Bonny!).
How do you promote your work? I came across your work at Columbus Flea… What drew you to that event?
Nikki got a hold of me a while back about selling art at the first flea, and I’ve been doing them ever since. They’ve been a really nice way to promote art and make a little money on the side. Also, I get to share a booth with the talented Meagan Alwood-Karcic.
I have a website, but haven’t been very active in promoting myself online or otherwise. I’ll make that my New Year’s resolution for 2015.
I’ll do some promoting now, though. I have a joint show with Laurie Ihlenfield that will be up for the month of August 2014 at ROYGBIV Gallery in Columbus, OH.