Artist Statement

Walking in the hills and natural spaces of Santa Cruz is my starting point. I begin with observation, and the images I create are portraits of individual trees or groups of trees. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of visitors at Open Studios who share this love of nature and how often they recognize these trees and recall the exact places where they are growing.

When looking at trees my eye is drawn to their gestures and to their underlying structure and geometry of forms. As the images develop in my studio, light and color define the shapes and spaces as multiple layers appear. My paintings use the traditional materials of oil on linen canvas and the woodcuts are printed with multiple colors on a 1947 Vandercook hand press. The process takes patience, but encourages a slower, more contemplative way of looking at life’s interconnections.

My first try at oil painting was at age five while living in Sequoia National Park. My early introduction to art and nature probably led to my decision years later to study art at UC Santa Cruz, where I focused on painting, printmaking and drawing. After receiving my BA, I returned for the Fifth-Year Program. During that time I also served as the studio technician and teaching assistant for the intaglio printmaking program. After college, I gained experience in letterpress printing and design while working for over fifteen years at The Yolla Bolly Press in Covelo, California. I was the pressman for about thirty limited-edition books, and the big press that we used for proofing metal type is the same one I now use for woodcuts in my studio.

In 2002 I moved my studio to Watsonville, and in 2011 to its current home in Live Oak, Santa Cruz. Most of my exhibits are local, but my art has also been exhibited at Stanford University, Triton Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art, and Monterey Museum of Art.

2022 News:

I'm skipping Open Studios this October. Instead, a large solo exhibit of my work is currently on view at the Scotts Valley Public Library through November 28th.

Website:  aaronjohnsonstudio.com

Location

1305 Chanticleer Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Phone
831-477-9282
Email
aaronjohnsonstudio@gmail.com
Website
https://aaronjohnsonstudio.com/