Adjoining art, photography & writing to share his unique perspective of a wondrous world.
Photography, writing and art are the passions of promise for Aaron James. He is a native of the mountains and uses his talent to bring an offbeat perspective to those who view his work. Lines play an important role in his work, growing from a childhood avocation that spurred a lifelong journey to realize the impact they have on creation.
Breaking down the world into its foundational constructs, Aaron James uses art to show the structures of real places in their simplest forms. Like all artists, he sees ordinary viewpoints through an imaginative worldview, and brings those sights to reality in his work. We see this most clearly in his Contourtion series, where maps of his favorite places are transformed into abstract designs.
Aaron describes the process of transforming maps into art as complex; requiring more meticulous detailing than one may assume when observing the end results. He begins by choosing an area of mapping to base his piece on, and removes content from it, leaving only the contour lines. These lines are what the initial design is based upon, as reflected in the name of his series "Contourtion."
With careful consideration for the desired end result, Aaron sometimes removes contour lines from busier areas of mapping in order to maintain a smoother flow throughout the entirety of the piece. Water lines then have to be drawn in to show where lakes and rivers lie in relation to the contour lines, the only tangible evidence to show locational references in the eyes of the observer. The rest falls into an abstract image meant to feed the imagination.
This piece, built in hues of blue and grey shows Twain Harte, California, harboring Twain Harte lake in yellow. After refining the elements, Aaron colors in the areas between contour lines, and repeatedly digitizes the image to define lining and fix the blurring effect that occurs due to distortion of the original map.
This abstract art-form sprouted from Aaron's genuine love for maps. He has found them to be absolutely magnetizing for as long as he can remember. Before using computer programs to create Contourtions, he would color in the spaces of paper maps with Sharpies and highlighters. Now, he sells this series in galleries and online, in print and on tee-shirts. Contourtion is a colorful series that brings a bit of fun in searching for recognizable landmarks in the depths and stretches of lines as they move about mountains and rivers.
While his breadth of photography specialties range from landscape to portraiture, there are parallels between his art and the photos Aaron takes. Many of his images clearly show the power of lines in his viewpoints, such as this depiction of the distinct change in landscape on the lines of untouched wilderness and fire-ruined earth remaining from the 2013-2014 Rim Fire. Carrying on with the essence of lines in his photography, many photos like this one capture the curvature of roads as they cross the astonishing landscape within the Motherlode and beyond.
Travel plays a large role in seizing perfect shots of wild gusto. Aaron says that he aims to get out into the world as much as possible. At least once a year he packs up for a trip on one of America's interstates for an adventure "off the beaten path." Along the way, he gathers moments in time to show still points of life in forests, abandoned buildings and lines as they occur naturally in a variety of settings.
Having a background in business and an MBA degree, this quiet man came to learn that the life for him was not one rooted in the corporate world. With a grand appreciation for finding meaning and joy within arts and the beauty of nature, it has led him to this point. He invests his time in discovering unseen perspectives, and delving into new skills based on that which brings him wonder, hoping those around him will find wonder in it too.
In his portraiture photography, Aaron seeks to bring two mediums of art together. Describing the prospect of setting up a shot, he envisions the image through the eyes of the artist on the other end of the camera. "Whoever I am photographing, they do their own thing. They pose, and I try my best to take the shot how they want to be seen." It's melding together the minds of two very different thought processes, that come together and create something new. He renders images from the attitude captured in a scene, coaxing and enhancing those feelings for a striking end result.
In addition to landscape and portraiture photography, Aaron has an eye for looking at the art of graffiti and presenting it in a new way complementary to his own artistic take. He does close-up images of small sections that reveal texture and the intersections of shapes for new abstract images.
Aaron is publishing a book based on passive income for others to learn how to live in a world that bleeds time from workers through the traditional nine-to-five life. He wants others to understand how to live in their passions and to be smart about navigating the dynamics of being financially stable in the world of money-making through social media.
To keep up with his current series and read blog posts from the artist himself, check out his website. Aaron has two Instagram pages for art and photography, as well as a Facebook page to keep friends and fans updated.
Support Aaron by purchasing his work from the Twain Arte Gallery in Twain Harte, California, as well as on Amazon where tee-shirts of his Contourtion designs are sold.