What a treat it is to be profiling Aaron Christensen for this post of ‘Favorite Things’. Aaron is an artist who can pretty much do anything (I’m not kidding about that either). He draws, he paints, he builds, he designs …. he is a creative pioneer and I’m sure if you didn’t already realize it you’ve seen his work many times before in his creative children’s rooms profiled in magazines and on television, OR you’ve seen his handywork on the numerous products his art has graced. Aaron seems to be tireless as he manages his very busy career running his Art Licensing business (check out Aaron Christensen Art Licensing), and his Embellishments Studio and Embellishments for Kids in Portland Oregon. Recently he paired with artist Sherri Blum in a collaboration of creative spirit in “The Princess and the Propmaker” – a blog where these two talented folks combine their love of interior design and creative kid’s spaces and put their magical twist to keep readers up to speed on all that is hip & happening in Children’s Decor.
Aaron is a busy man, to say the least, but recently he found the time to organize a Studio Tour Blog Hop – a day when a group of Artists, including Aaron, gave sneak peeks inside their personal studios. It was fun to see all that Aaron has in and around his work place that inspires and comforts him while he creates, that I asked him if he’d let me showcase his faves on my ‘Favorite Things’ Series. Happily he agreed and he even added a few more images especially for us! Thank you Aaron!
SAMPLING OF AARON’S WORK & TOOLS OF THE TRADE: (Aaron) Here’s a glimpse of some of my art that you’ll see out there. All of it is created in-studio by hand painting. I do use a computer for color corrections and to create derivatives. I held off showing you my desk and computer space, simply from the fact that it’s loaded with projects and paperwork. You’ve seen one messy desk you’ve seen them all! If a prisma color pencil sells for $1.75, I have my retirement fund invested in a rainbow of colors. Please no comments on my brush hygiene. Come on, a guy has to have at least one vice. Mine is wrecking brushes.
STUDIO “ABC’S”: I know my ABC’s, but as a reminder I have them as a 3-D collage. Anyone want to buy a vowel? The previous homeowner used this building to work on cars, which is not my thing. So, with some elbow grease and finish carpentry I remodeled the space to my liking. I drilled and plumbed an old stainless steel bucket turning it into a wash basin for my brushes. It’s mounted on a storage cabinet I made out of repurposed cabinet doors. A distressed paint job and galvanized tops finish it off. The oversized chalkboard is actually a “secret” door (don’t tell anyone), it leads to a really organized storage room for most of my art supplies and huge collection of books. Did I mention it’s really organized? Gosh, for some reason I forgot to take a picture for you. I guess you will have to take my word on it… really organized!
COLLECTIONS & ODDITIES: My collections of the unusual line the walls. The guy up in the left hand corner features a favorite quip – “Man can not live by words alone, despite sometimes he has to eat them”. The “faux” sliding metal door leads to the wood shop. Because I build props, furniture and fun stuff I needed a way to contain sawdust and hide the less than decorator wood shop. So, I faux painted joined hollow core doors into my rusty metal pride and joy rolling door that weighs almost nothing. I know, how weird to have anything rusty be pride and joy….do you get me now?
NESTING HEAD DOE: Inspired by Dr. Seuss, I created my original Nesting Head Doe. You can follow her story over on my Embellishments Kids blog post about being respectful of copyrights and how to be inspired without copying.
DR. SEUSS: My favorite author and kooky creative is Dr. Seuss. As a child I loved to read. Seuss’ primers like Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham were so helpful in my ambition to tackle reading at a very young age. His influences have grown roots within my art, love of whimsy and even a few business practices. To honor him and keep his characters close, I’ve been collecting his vintage licensed pieces for years. The real treats are the items created before his death. He was super selective to whom he licensed his characters making them rare and hard to find.
BOZO & HEAT MISER: Two of my childhood favorites loom over my drawing table reminding me to stay young at heart.
PASTRIES: Mmmmm pastries. A guy has to have his weaknesses! I’m spoiled with several great bakeries close to home. One is a bizarre donut haven called Voodoo, which sells off the wall concoctions like Tang sprinkled, maple and bacon and a namesake donut shaped like a voodoo doll. The other is Delphina’s which taunts me with their roasted garlic clove and baked olive breads, simply delicious!
GARDENING: We live in Portland which is a great climate for gardeners. My wife and I are lucky to have a 1/2 acre plot 10 minutes from downtown Portland, which is a huge rarity. When we moved in I rented a tractor and tilled the entire property up, it was two symmetrical for my taste. Since then I spend every chance I get nurturing my plants and have been aiming towards a tropical/mediterranean look. While I enjoy some of the classic tried and true plants and flowers, I am always on the search for something unusual. I love to shock my neighborhood walkers with something different. This year I’m experimenting with several hardy bananas and other giant leaved plants.
HOLIDAY CARDS (MADE WITH LOVE): My favorite part of the holidays is working with my wife, Angela, on our Christmas cards. We’ve chronicled our children’s growing up through these special pictures. The process of designing the look, working with props and stylizing them brings just as much joy as having them capture moments in time.
To see more of Aaron’s Studio and other artists’ creative spaces from the Studio Hop – click HERE.
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