Aaron North – Providence, Rhode Island

Curtain with Pine Cone, Oil on Canvas Panel, 20" x 16”, 2013

Curtain with Pine Cone, Oil on Canvas Panel, 20″ x 16”, 2013

Briefly describe the work that you do.

I predominately paint animals, humans, and objects, and I work in oils. My paintings are typically very busy and colorful.

At what point in your life did you decide to become an artist?

Art was always present for me at a young age with the mindset that I would get back to it at some point. I liked drawing as a kid and also painting as a teenager but never really found my own way until later. Art became more important to me after living on my own. I was working at a record store by day and screen printing and putting out street art in my own time. That was when I really began to take my own work seriously.

Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.

I grew up in San Antonio, Texas and later Colorado in my formative years. My mother is a very accomplished seamstress and pushed my sisters and I creatively. She had these encyclopedia style volumes of craft projects, and I would sit in her sewing room, without having most of the required materials, and make what I could with what we had. At the time, I was kid and wouldn’t have noticed, but my mom definitely nurtured my creativity.

In Colorado, during and after the time I was in high school, there was a huge music/DIY scene that I grew up a part of. I think that the group I was in artistically really gave me the notion that ‘if you want it take it’ and made any goals I had much more reachable.

I traveled on my own for a while through the southern United States and also later on the Appalachian Trail and was constantly drawing throughout those times. My interests and ideas began to gel at a certain point into compositions more like my present work. After going back to Colorado and later moving to Rhode Island, I began making more finished works and spending time daily in any studio space I could come up with.

Two Skies with Ear, Oil on Canvas, 36" x 48”, 2013

Two Skies with Ear, Oil on Canvas, 36″ x 48”, 2013

What types of conceptual concerns are present in your work? How do those relate to the specific process(es) or media you use?

My paintings are a heavy mental collage of all of my thoughts with no narrative. I use an automatic process in my painting where I typically only know what I am adding the day of. I am happy for people to take away anything they enjoy or relate to on a personal level, but I do not want them to have a preconceived perception or be looking for a story line or explanation. 

We once heard Chuck Close say he did not believe in being inspired, rather in working hard everyday. What motivates you in your studio practice?

I agree with that statement. I am inspired by many things daily, but my studio practice is more work, and my personal experiences that have inspired me come through in my work. I was raised in a hard-working family, and I apply those same principals when I paint.

Trout, Oil on Canvas Panel, 20" x 16”, 2013

Trout, Oil on Canvas Panel, 20″ x 16”, 2013

What artists living or non-living influence your work?

As for artists, I like the work of Brueghel, Bosch, Gauguin, Kokoschka, Dali, and Tanguy.

I also enjoy the works of Philip Glass and Haruki Murakami a lot. When I was finding my place in art, I was definitely influenced by the massive street art scene locally and globally.

When you are not making art what types of activities and interests do you engage in? 

I work full-time as a screen printer, but I am mostly a home body with my fiancé, who is a writer. I like building things, animals, tv and movies, hiking, fishing, reading, gardening, and bicycles (to name a few).


AaronNorth2014portraitMy work represents a heavy mix of memories, daily thoughts, and conscious dreams and focuses on abstract, yet relatable subject matter.

Surrealism has always made logical sense to me because of the unexpected circumstances. I don’t want to fully understand someone else’s work, rather I want to walk away with all my questions unanswered. The images in my work are typically uncommon, but recognizable, and they interact together to create a well of imagery for people to identify themselves in.

With a background in street art, I became accustomed to the urgency and immediate satisfaction of completing a piece of work. Transitioning to canvas and paper allows me to quickly join ideas together, but also enables me to continue to ponder and distort them without time constraints. When working, I rely on an automatic thinking process to execute new ideas with a similar sense of immediacy.

I express an action with a figure or object, and each additional element connected to it contributes to a central idea. My process involves depicting a famil- iar form and reconstructing that form into something new and foreign to me. Rather than predetermining the subject matter for a particular piece, I utilize a more organic process based on aesthetic value. The objects in my work are very positive or very harsh and sometimes appear for no particular reason. I empathize with the images that I create, and I see myself alongside them. 



All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission. 

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