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Artist-to-artist: Wren Crosley chats with Aaron Cone

Monday, May 10th, 2010

This is the second entry of SPArts’ new monthly artist-to-artist series, where South Park artists reveal a little about themselves and their work in this little corner of Seattle. In this edition, South Park mixed-media artist Wren Crosley chats with her betrothed, Aaron Cone. In addition to planning a wedding, they recently collaborated on the crowd-pleasing River Horse, a 2010 entry in the Georgetown Super 8 Film Festival. Here they discuss Aaron’s art, growing up with artist parents, and a little bit about his philosophy on life.

Aaron answers Wren's probing questions

Wren: Sooo, Aaron. We all know you are this really great, fun guy. I’d like to hear more about you as an artist. What are your earliest artistic memories? What do you think has helped shaped you as an artist?

Aaron: For some reason that makes me think of the refrigerator my dad kept his art supplies in, out in our yard. I suppose it was my mother and father who encouraged me to be artistic as a child.

Wren: What kind of refrigerator was it? And how did they encourage you?

Aaron: It was an old one. Didn’t keep much cool but at least dry.

Wren: Probably a hazard by today’s standards but I am sure it worked.

Aaron: My older brother and I would fight a lot waiting in the car with my dad while my mom did the grocery shopping. My father let us do pretty much whatever we wished as long as we didn’t disturb him reading one of his art magazines. After kicking each other’s butts for a while we would get bored and usually draw or make up songs. My mother would always ask us to draw our gardens.

Wren: And your brother is an artist too and you are now an avid gardener. Did you plant the gardens your mother had you draw?

Aaron: My brother, Adam, is an artist living on Vashon Island and a great baker. He will be making our wedding cake, mmmmm.

Wren: I like cake. I like cake a lot. But back to art — and the gardening.

Aaron: Yes, we planted the gardens. I usually planted peas. I enjoyed sculpting the dirt with a shovel.

Wren: Garden art? How old were you, when you sculpted the dirt with the shovel — or is this something you still enjoy?

Aaron: I was around ten, I suppose. I liked to make towers out of the dirt and then add water to see what would happen. I still enjoy playing in the dirt.

Wren: Sounds like the berms in our yard? I thought they were my idea. I guess we think alike.

Aaron: They were your idea. I like the way you think.

Wren: We probably came up with the idea together. I also know you as a sculptor of found metal and a writer. Is art something that has always been an integral part of your life and therefore you create or it is something you are compelled to do?

Aaron: Compelled, that’s a good word to describe how I feel when I’m working on an art project. It actually feels easier to breath sometimes too, if that makes any kind of sense?

Wren: Yes, that makes sense. So your parents are artists and you’re an artist. What did you learn from being raised by artists and how has it influenced the way you live your day-to-day life?

Aaron: I learned that time is more important than money. Which is a good lesson because most artists don’t make a whole lot off what they produce. I think in terms of how I want to live and not what I want to buy. My parents always tried to provide for us kids but it was often difficult. I can remember many birthdays where I received colorful coupons cut in the shape of ice cream cones and pizza slices that I would be able to cash in over time.

Wren: What is your earliest memory of you as an artist?

Aaron: I entered a coloring contest at McDonalds and won a brand new ten-speed bicycle, presented to me my Ronald McDonald himself. I also remember entering an art show put on at Seattle Center by Unical Oil Company, not sure how they became a sponsor of a children’s art contest. If I remember correctly, my older brother entered that one as well and won an honorable mention for a ceramic work.

2009-white-sculpture

Aaron's found metal sculpture

Wren: You made sculptures for the December 2009 Art Under $100 sale. Do you have plans for additional sculptures? Have you considered maybe a cake topper?? That’d be cool!

Aaron: Yes, I still have some remaining metal that I had found on the side of the road near Boeing field. Don’t think you would want that on top of a cake though. I like making the desk size sculptures, decorated in bright colored house paint. I plan to make more as soon as the weather warms up, making it easier for the paint to dry.

Wren: I was thinking about something more like the copper one that you had dipped in sterling. Or a new project made from a new material…

Aaron: Oh, I like that idea! I’m better with abstract designs, not sure if I could make something that resembles a bride and groom. I will certainly think about it though, maybe my mind will come up with something?

Wren: We seem to keep getting distracted from our conversation about your art, I like talking about your art. I always learn something new.

Aaron: A friend of mine once told me that if you want to be good at something do it full time. The artists I see that are successful — again not talking monetary success but producing work that they can be proud of and brings happiness to peoples’ lives — lean in that direction. Over the past few years I have been changing my life to allow more and more time for artistic endeavors.

Wren: I like ending on a positive note. Thank you Aaron, this was fun and isn’t that what life’s about?

Aaron: Yes, I had a great time talking with you. Thanks.

Wren Crosley is a mixed media artist living in South Park. She accidentally moved to South Park when looking for an affordable house, with a yard, in the Seattle area. She is now a firm believer that, “sometimes you just have to take a chance and let good things happen”. Most recently she (along with her fiancé Aaron), have been making bath salts and salt scrubs using pure ingredients. Making a good quality product that is beneficial for people has been one of her most satisfying projects to date. It is a whole new artistic obsession for her.

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