Creativity Series - Aron Wiesenfeld

16th August 2018

As part of our Creativity Series, we interviewed artist Aron Wiesenfeld.
Can you tell us a bit about your practice and give us your background? What did you want to do as a child?
I started my professional life as a comic book artist.  It was a childhood dream of mine.  It was fun but I felt comics weren’t going to sustain my ambitions over my lifetime.  I am glad I was able to work in comics because it gave me a distinctive approach to the work I do now.  Now I work in oil paint.  I paint mostly invented scenes, using techniques based on the old master’s methods.

Where do you draw inspiration from? More broadly and day to day, is this different?
Inspiration comes from anywhere, it’s really hard to generalize about that. I try to look at a lot of art, movies, and books, and generally try to keep my eyes open.  I can say that most of the inspiring ideas I get are half-baked, for example maybe I liked the way a person looked in a dark room lit by a window.  I'll sketch it, and think about it, testing the idea by bringing other information to it, so it can hopefully become the basis of a good painting.  

How do you tell if you have arrived at a good idea or a good painting?  
I want to feel that I’ve tapped into something that I don’t fully understand.  I want to feel that the image is a surprise, and there is a mystery there to be solved, or at least wider story.
Do you feel you have a clear creative process? Or is this something more fluid?
Once I'm happy with the rough sketch, the technique is pretty clear.  I build up the painting in layers, allowing it to dry after each layer.  In that way the form, light, value, and color are built upon.  I like the slow build up because a lot of important decisions occur as I’m working, and it also allows me time to give my full attention to each element in the image.

How do you avoid falling into automatic mode? What routines do you find helpful in keeping your creative side stimulated?
Actually I think automatic mode is the best mode to be in.  I want to stop my brain from over-thinking, and get out of the way of what I do, which is mostly unconscious.  As an example, look at figure skaters.  I imagine 95% of what they do is unconscious.  Nobody could will themselves into doing a triple axel. They practice for thousands of hours so that knowledge will be there.  The main job of the skater in a competition is to not let his or her thinking interfere with what they already know how to do.  I think it's the same with any creative work, just get out of your own way.  Later on you have to be the judge of what you made, and that’s a different kind of thinking, but it's important not to judge what you are doing in the moment of creation.

Why is creativity important in your role, what environment does it best thrive in? Do you need a quiet space or loud music? Do you need to be alone to be productive? 
I do need to be alone. I can listen to music or a book on tape when a painting is nearly finished. Going in to the studio is a signal to my brain that it’s time to work, and not think about anything else. Creativity doesn’t always happen when I’m there, but I think it comes out of just being there every day.
Can you tell us about something you have coming up? 
This coming month (August 2018) I have a few new paintings in a group show at Arcadia Gallery in Pasadena, California.  In May 2019 I will have a solo show of new work at the same gallery.
Thanks Aron! 
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