Featured Artist Aron Johnston

Aron Johnston presents his intriguing portfolio filled with symbolism and environmental commentary. See more from this talented artist by visiting his website.

 

Scavenger

“Scavenger” oil on canvas, 40″ x 30″

 

Drawing has been a part of my life since I was a young boy. I spent innumerable hours sitting with pencil in hand trying to capture the images that ran through my overactive imagination. I kept myself amused with my drawing but became convinced that it was a poor career choice given that I was in no position to further my academic studies after high school.

 

Burden

“Burden” lithograph, 18″ x 15″

 

 

After working a few odd jobs, I was accepted into the electrical apprenticeship in Eugene, Oregon and over the next fifteen years worked my way up to a managerial position with a profitable electrical construction company. The job provided my family with a good living, but I was deeply unhappy with what I was doing. I had given up my art ten years earlier, which had left me feeling hollow, and I knew I had left a vital part of myself behind.

 

Hybrid Device

“Hybrid device #1″ oil on board, 16″ x 20”

 

 

So, with the encouragement of my beautiful wife, I left the construction industry and enrolled at Drake University in Iowa where I earned a BFA in Studio art (2013). I was introduced to painting, which I immediately fell in love with, and lithography. The processes involved in both media are extremely labor intensive and require a level of craftsmanship and attention to detail that I can easily get lost in.

 

Hybrid Device

“Hybrid Device #2″ lithograph, 15″ x 22”

 

My mother was a devout Catholic who had a great interest in mythology. She was also an avid reader and purchased books whose pictures of classic art became the subject of early studies. As a result, the religious and mythological paintings of the Italian Renaissance, along with the Baroque and Symbolist eras had a huge influence on me.

 

Tethered

“Tethered” oil on canvas, 40″ x 30″

 

Hours spent running through the woods behind the rural Oregon home of my childhood instilled in me a deep appreciation for nature. Following deer trails though the forest took me to magical places that were part imagination, part reality. When that stand of forest was clear-cut it invoked a deep feeling of loss and sadness.

 

Survival

“Survival” oil on canvas, 30″ x 40″

 

My playground had been reduced to a wasteland of stumps and ravaged earth and I wondered how we could justify the complete destruction of such beauty. I wondered what would become of this plot of land and the organisms that I shared the space with. Would they adapt? Would they be lost in a world that is being shaped for human convenience? What will happen to us when we completely lose sight of our connection to all the beauty that nature holds?

 

Suspension

“Suspension” oil on panel, 18″ x 23″

 

These experiences have shaped my practice and led to my current exploration of environment. I see environment as the ever-changing arena in which all things struggle to exist, as the scales where balance is found and lost.

 

Scavenger

“Scavenger” lithograph, 15″ x 15″

 

 

Relationships between the various inhabitants of a given environment fascinate me and give birth to the images I create. Symbols of human thought and innovation are juxtaposed with those of natural origin, creating a curious narrative that the individual must sort out and answer based on their own life experience.

 

Comments

  1. Beautiful and inspiring! Such heart-felt, touching pieces. It’s interesting how the artist’s earlier career as an electrician shows up in the work too.

    • Aron Johnston says:

      Hi Patricia,
      Thanks you for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed my work and I appreciate the comment. Our experiences shape who we are and the time I spent as an electrician had a profound effect on my perception of the world. As my life experiences expand I’m sure the visual language I use will evolve with me. Take care and thank you for taking the time to look!
      Aron

  2. Mary Beth Eannarino, LMT says:

    I am really impressed with the technical quality of Aron’s body of work, as well as the unique vision and interpretation he portrays in each painting. Fascinating! It’s apparent that there were no mistakes on his path through life. Each step, each experience was/is important and formative. Thanks, Aron, for stepping out of the box, for sharing your vision of life with us.

    • Aron Johnston says:

      Wow! Thank you for the review. Believe me, there have been more mistakes than I care to count but the path I’ve found now is undoubtedly the right one! Thanks for your support and encouragement!
      Aron

  3. Beautiful paintings with a beautiful message, Thank you Aron!!

  4. Dee Mitchell says:

    I really appreciate Aron’s vision and that he puts so much of his heart into each project. He has given us an in depth look at what we are doing to our planet. So excited to see each and every new piece of his work.

    • Aron Johnston says:

      Thank you Dee. I’m so glad that you connect with my work. I think it is fairly common as an artist to wonder if the work you make is relevant or makes sense to potential viewers. To hear that my work speaks to people is immeasurably affirming. Thank you!
      Aron

  5. Dwight James says:

    Absolutely beautifully expressed in words and art

    • Aron Johnston says:

      Hi Dwight. Thanks for the compliment! Hope all is well in Des Moines my friend. Miss you and the rest of the figure drawing group!
      Take care,
      Aron

  6. Love the crow especially. On your website you speak of Western civilization’s lack of empathy with the environment and our need, justified by our belief, to conquer/overcome nature. While this is true, I would contend that all majoe “civilizations” on the planet pursue the supremacy of humans. look at China’s rivers and air. Look at India’s legendary cities, steeped in garbage and poverty. The West doesn’t have a lock on it, But I am hoping more and more of us humans wake up and find the truer path. Art is what brings it home. Thanks for following your nature.

    • Aron Johnston says:

      Thank you, Michelle, for the compliment and thoughtful comments. You are correct about Western civilization not having a “lock” on environmental degradation. I address the effects of Western philosophy because that’s what I have studied and experienced. I would be speaking in ignorance if I critiqued another culture without having studied their philosophies and their relationship with the environment. Yes, all of humanity is responsible but my personal experience doesn’t allow me to speak with authority on the circumstances you mentioned in China and India. I would love to have the opportunity to live in both of those places for awhile, though. Talk about getting some perspective! It took me awhile to wake up to the truth and I hope that I can help a few more people to find that path, too. Or at least consider the very real consequences of mass consumerism.
      Best wishes to you Michelle,
      Aron Johnston

  7. I love you Aron

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