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Sketch Pad

Darren Aevermann
Elements Incorporated
by Kathy Anderson

Darren Aevermann, born and raised in the Chicago area, moved to Portland in July 1999 – shortly after graduating from the University of Iowa. Though the 25-year-old artist's family history is set in Germany, it's Spain that really gets his creative juices flowing.

Divine inspiration
Darren Aevermann believes in giving credit where he feels credit is due.


"I'm not a particularly religious person, but I do believe some of my inspiration comes from God," he said, "and that my value comes not from wealth or appearances, but that God makes me valuable. It's that richness I try to express through my art and creativity.

"And in a way, I use art as a tool to cope with life and the wacky roller coaster ride it's taking me on."

El foto grande
Darren's art has also been greatly influenced by Spanish and Latin artists, including Tapies, Goya and Miro.

"The idea for my latest paintings came from a trip I took to Barcelona last year, where I viewed Antoni Gaudi's architecture," he said. "The series is my interpretation of his work using color theory.

"I find inspiration in other artists, too. I've learned a lot by studying Matisse and his techniques and explorations in the use of paint as texture and vibrancy," he said. "I go to art history museums and exhibitions for support and encouragement."


Diverse portfolio
Darren studied art in high school and college. He graduated from the University of Iowa in May 1999 with a degree in art and design. His plans include grad school, with the desire to teach art at the college level.

"I attended Columbia College Chicago for one year as a design/drawing major," he said. "Then, through the University of Iowa foreign exchange program, I spent a year in Merida, Venezuela, as a classical figure painting/drawing major at la Universidad de Los Andes and CUDA (Cultural Universidad de Los Artes).

"On the plane enroute to South America I found out I had failed my first course in Spanish. But once there I found it fairly easy to pick up and was off and running within weeks," he said. "Now I speak fluent Spanish and have worked odd jobs as a translator."

"Fire Hazard"

Not wanting to limit himself to one medium, Darren studied printmaking, metal smithing, sculpture, photography and inter-media art.

He considers his strengths to be painting and sculpture, where he tries to incorporate elements of all the disciplines.

Darren describes two of his works as found-object sculptures.

"Fire Hazard is made from a smashed television reconstructed into a red-light lamp that I actually use in my darkroom," he said. "The other sculpture is outdated computer components tack-welded together with items I picked up at Wacky Willy's."

Finding people to be the most interesting and psychologically challenging of subjects, Darren has also done some figure-related paintings.

"Gaudi #2"

Coming soon
Darren is planning his first Portland show at the Lowbrow Lounge in the Pearl District.

"I haven't set a date yet, but they've assured me I could show there," he said. "I'm constantly looking for interesting places to show and opportunities to gain professional work experience as an artist."

His previous shows were at the University of Iowa – one in metal smithing, another in printmaking and two in sculpture.

Making ends meet
Though he finds being an artist who is striving to reach a professional level and build an audience frustrating and challenging, Darren considers it well worth the effort.

"Glacier Park"

"I believe I'm definitely on my way and tenaciously pursue my future in the arts. I'm designing my own Web site and always looking for ways to get involved with Northwest groups like the RACC (Regional Arts and Culture Center). I'm a strong supporter of music, dance and all aspects of creativity.

"But since I'm also looking for work – spending time on résumés, interviews, etc. – it's hard to stay focused on the progress of my art. I don't like interrupting my artwork to search for my next paycheck. But that's life right now."

Reach Kathy at kanderson138@attbi.com, and draw on other Sketch Pads.

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