aaron santos boyd-rochman

ARtwork

Embrace

2023 
Toothpicks, acrylic mounted on canvas board
46 x 38 x 9 cm

Queer communities around the world are experiencing unprecedented levels of hate and bigotry. Trans and gender non-conforming people are at a particularly high risk for experiencing violence. Until the systems of oppression are dismantled I believe we must call out bigotry, protect vulnerable people, and uplift marginalized communities.

I am inspired by my previous work with trans and gender non-conforming clients and colleagues. I am continuously inspired by the resilience and perseverance of my queer friends and the community at large. I used the colors of the transgender pride flag as the basis for this piece. The blue, pink, and white all swirl around a central heart. I call her Embrace because I believe it’s important to encourage queer people to have pride in and embrace our authentic selves.

Shine

2023
Toothpicks, acrylic mounted on canvas board
46 x 38 x 9 cm

3rd Prize @ Gallery 4%, 1st Floral & Botanical Art Contest
Finalist @ Mrs. Toolip Gallery, 2nd Toolip Art Contest 2023

As an artist I find gradients fascinating. For this work I wanted to paint a piece in a gradient from browns to yellows. I love how my artwork feels as alive while I’m creating as it is when it’s completed. While in my process I fortuitously recreated a sunflower, which I knew to be a symbol of Ukraine.

The sunflower is Ukraine’s national flower of and has become the symbol of solidarity, resilience, resistance, peace, and hope. Sunflowers turn to face the sun as it moves across the sky. I dedicate this piece to the people of Ukraine: may they also be able to turn and feel the sun shine on their faces again soon.

Splash

2023
Toothpicks, acrylic mounted on canvas board
50 cm x 5 cm x 9 cm

Winner – Exhibition Participant @ Influence Gallery, November 2023 Exhibition at Hotel Beau-Rivage

For this piece I began playing with the base, attempting different shapes and centers. The enlarged opening in the middle brought to mind a camera lens. The effect of the shape, the negative space in the center, and the paint reminded me of the ripples formed when a drop of liquid hits a surface. It feels as if the blonde wood is undulating outwards and whitening. The contrast of the white paint against the blonde wood and the lens-like aperture brought to mind the months-long drought we are experiencing in Barcelona. I called her Splash for these reasons.

North of Barcelona lies the Sau reservoir. It was created in 1966 when the Catalonian government dammed the Ter river and submerged the town of Sant Roma de Sau. The village’s Romanic church bell tower peeking above the waters was an indication of the reservoir’s water levels. Today the church is again completely exposed. Thousands of people have been traveling from all over Spain to see the Sau reservoir and to take selfies with the uncovered church. The town council calls this ‘Drought tourism’.

This year people have posted pictures of themselves standing next to the thermometer in Nevada’s Death Valley when the temperatures reached 55 degrees Celsius, something now called ‘Heat Tourism’. I have also seen a video posted on social media where an ‘influencer’ is caught pretending to pick up trash on a beach in Bali, only to leave the trash bag behind. ‘Disaster Tourism’ soon won’t just be a novel tourist sector if we don’t change our minds and our habits. How have we come to a point in our humanity where we’re taking selfies in front of our own disasters? I hope that Splash reminds us of the ripple effects we have on each other and our place in this world.

Smolder

2023
Toothpicks, acrylic mounted on canvas board
46 cm x 38 cm x 9 cm

Finalist @ Mediterranean Art Prize, Mediterranean Art Prize 3rd Edition

I used the colors of fire, smoke, and wood to paint her. She has more muted, ashy tones in the center and embers alight on the edges. I wanted to create a feeling that she had been burnt but remained whole.

Bloom

2022 
Toothpicks, acrylic mounted on canvas board
46 cm x 38 cm x 9 cm

Distinction @ Gallery 4%, 1st Floral & Botanical Art Contest
Finalist @ Ten Moir Gallery, Vibrant Colors
Special Mention @ Bruxelles Art Vue Prize, Spring Prize
Merit Award @ Influence Gallery
Merit Award @ HelvetArt, March 2023 Open Art Competition

Using my piece, Whirl as the inspiration, this is my first fully realized painted piece. I was hesitant to paint my pieces because I was so enamored with the natural color of the wood. I also resisted painting my work after receiving so many strong opinions on the direction I should take my work. I can’t imagine I’m the only artist that finds it difficult taking unsolicited suggestions about one’s artistic vision. 

I love gradients and natural color palettes and used the blues, greens, and purples seen in cornflowers to paint this piece. I felt as if I watched this work ‘Bloom’ before my eyes. 

Burn

2022 

Toothpicks, acrylic mounted on canvas board

38 cm x 46 cm x 9 cm

 

Using my work Divide as the inspiration, Burn is my first painted/natural wood combination. I like juxtaposing painted toothpicks with natural wood and using the paint to make the bottom of this piece look burnt.

Whirl

2021 
Toothpicks mounted on canvas board
46 cm x 38 x 9 cm

Finalist @ Visual Art Open, 7th VAO art competition
Finalist @ Mediterranean Art Prize 3rd Edition

For this piece I use machine-made objects derived from natural materials. With them I recreated an organic form that perhaps was once alive but has since desiccated and now appears fossilized. The impetus for this piece pulls from the One Health philosophy I studied during my masters coursework.

One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach that recognizes the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes for all. As habitat destruction brings humans and wildlife into closer contact, millions of people face a future where fresh drinking water is in irregular supply; where food is more vulnerable to pests and disease; where people are at a dramatically increased risk of exposure to pathogens that jump from animals to humans. This piece may represent a petrified sea urchin or could represent an enlarged bacteria. In whatever way you view this piece, let it serve as a reminder of the fragility of our lives, of nature, and the symbiotic relationship we have.

Sway

2021
Toothpicks mounted on canvas board
41 cm x 33 x 9 cm

Director’s Choice @ Art Fluent, Unity Gallery

Winner @ Artrepreneur, 
It’s Hip To be Square: Geometric Abstraction 

 I love playing and experimenting with my work. This piece started out being a bit more planned, more geometric than the ones prior. I began paying more attention to how I was layering pieces and being quite deliberate about each placement. 

As I built each section up I began to feel movement and rhythm emerge from the work. The sections seemed to be undulating with each other. I felt as if I was engaged in a dance with this piece. I want the viewer to see and feel the movement I felt while I was ‘dancing’ with her.

Divide

2021 Toothpicks, acrylic mounted on canvas board

38 cm x 46 x 9 cm  

 

I started to play with combining shapes to see what would emerge. As I started creating this it reminded me of single cell organisms that were reproducing and thus the title Divide. In keeping with a theme for these works, the titles are both noun and verb representing the duality of my work: living cells reproducing represented by hard dried toothpicks.

 

Crash

2021

Toothpicks housed in a recycled box

15,5 x 24 x 9 cm

 

This was the first in this series of toothpick creations. When I created this work, I planned the positioning of the pieces on one side and was a bit more care free with the other. The result was that the planned side became more chaotic and the care free one became more ordered.

Hurry

2021
Toothpicks mounted on canvas board
46 x 38 x 9 cm

Finalist @ Mediterranean Art Prize, Mediterranean Art Prize 3rd Edition
Winner @ Mrs. Toolip Gallery, 
Toolip International Art Contest May 2023 

Hurry appears as a hurricane inside a bird’s nest. The dichotomy of these images succinctly depicts my struggles with anxiety. Uncertainty was so pervasive in my everyday life it made me restless, irritable, and discontent.

Free-floating anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, panic disorder: my anxiety felt as if I was the living embodiment of cognitive dissonance. I appeared calm and in control (mostly) on the outside, while screaming on the inside from confusion and terror. Therapy over the years, periods of medication, when needed, mindfulness and meditation have helped me mitigate the majority of the symptoms.

Looking at this work the viewer can feel the themes of solace and uncertainty that is so deeply present in this piece specifically, and resonates throughout my work. It has become my goal as an artist and as a person moving through this world learning to live comfortably with uncertainty.

The Scorched Sea

2021 Matchsticks housed in a wooden frame

21 x 30,5 x 7 cm

 

A lot of my work uses discarded objects. This piece is made with used matches (except one), covered in nonflammable silicone. When I assembled this piece it started to take on the appearance of a bed of sea anemones. I like the juxtaposition of using trash to recall something living, something burnt to recall a sea creature. I hope this piece is a reminder that the struggle to save our environment and to care for our limited precious resources must continue.

Blink

2013 Paper Catalogs

I am inspired by different traditional techniques such as basketry and weaving. Filipinos, in particular, have been making beautifully handcrafted items for hundreds of years. While I was living in New York, I was inundated with catalogs mailed to my home. I hated throwing them out, even recycling them felt wasteful. Instead, I used this present-day material and with inspiration from centuries of Filipino craft, I created a sculpture that bridges the ancient with the contemporary to make Blink.

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