for along time now, I’ve been just in love with the art of Aaron Kraten. he’s a mixed-media artist, originally from California. his style is unmistakeable and easy to spot. he’s got a very colorful palate and though his subject matter usually revolves around the human form (in his minimalist own style), largely female, he has covered a variety of subjects. you can check out more of his work at his official website (www.aaronkratenart.com), where he showcases his current art for sale and past art (sold or not for sale).
even though I’ve been following Aaron’s work for years (since I was in high school!), I wasn’t able to make my first actual purchase until after I’d been in college for a few years. though his art is relatively affordable (for fine art originals, anyway), I’m poor! haha! of course, I had been supporting his art and spreading his images already by purchasing his patterns for my electronics from Gelaskins.
a note about Gelaskins: they’re a great online company that sells thin, lightweight skins for your electronics (from iPhones and iPads, to Kindle tablets, to PS3 controllers, and more). I got a skin for my first iPod (the iPod video, the fifth version of the iPod…. haha, old, I know!) to protect it, even though I didn’t know what kinds of things could hurt my iPod back then. well, good thing I went with Gelaskins, because a few years later, I accidentally lost my iPod. eventually, I found it, but it had spent a few months outside in the winter. it must have fallen out of my car when I parked in the back lot of a friend’s apartment. once the snow started to melt in the spring, we saw it, stuck in the ice of the back alley, and chipped it out with my car key. after letting it dry a few days, IT WAS TOTALLY FINE! it still works today, even! and best of all, it didn’t even ruin the skin. best $15 I ever spent anyway. since then, I’ve covered all my handheld electronics, including my laptops, with Gelaskins. naturally, they’ve gone up in price a little since I got my first one in 2005, but they are still completely worth it! they now even carry hard cases for the iPhone. and if you’re still not convinced that you need a Gelaskin in your life, did I mention that they offer a huge variety of artists’ work? and if you can’t find something you love already there, you can make your own custom design! check them out now at www.gelaskins.com.
back to the art! I bought Play for Today, a fun, little piece, for my bedroom (originally). the details really embody the style of the work that I fell in love with in the first place. Aaron shipped it to me from Santa Ana, CA.
for my 23rd birthday, I sought out to buy 4 Art-o-mat Aaron Kraten blocks. these are small wooden blocks with a tiny bit of art on them, sold out of retired cigarette vending machines. since there was one in Detroit, MI, I called the shop it was located in to verify there was some Aaron Kraten art inside. unfortunately, there was not any left. distraught, I contacted Aaron and asked to buy some directly (they were only $5 a piece!). although he normally didn’t sell them directly, I think he was persuaded because it was my birthday. he even sent me one extra! the little blocks can now be found tucked in all over my apartment.
in 2010, I took a trip to Los Angeles, CA. and while I was in California, I made a special little trip down to Santa Ana, where I bought Tap, Tap. This was a special purchase because I got to meet Aaron in person! I was so super nervous when I pulled up in front of the cute little apartment complex in my rental car and waited for Aaron to come back from a meeting (I was early). he went inside and got the art for me and I paid him for it. I had my new iPhone 4 out (just got it about a week before) and didn’t have a skin on it yet. Aaron inquired about the phone and I told him it was so new that I didn’t have a Gelaskin for it yet. well, this got me an invite into his apartment and he gifted me the skin that I have on it now! apparently the company always ships him some samples when they produce new art of his. I was super stoked! it’s a print of Going Home (you can get one here). His place was full of arcade games and art that I had prints of – really rad. I got to meet his cute wife, Erin Kraten, and hung out for a bit taking pictures.
my latest purchase was a house-warming gift to myself. gotta treat yourself sometimes! it’s called Wire Chairs and as you may have guessed already, it features Aaron’s rendition of Ray & Charles Eames‘ Wire Chairs. in case you didn’t know, I am also completely in love with Eames furniture (line owned by Herman Miller) and the Wire Chair line is my ultimate favorite! someday, I’ll have one. anyway, I saw the painting when Aaron posted it on his instagr.am, I jumped! all it took was one look and I had to have it! I went online and bought it right away. since my last purchase, Aaron moved to Cookeville, TN, so that’s where my box arrived from. he even drew a picture on the box!
in the words of Paula Deen (unfortunately), it can be disappointing when you finally meet someone you’ve always looked up to and they’re not everything you always imagined. but I can tell you that Aaron Kraten was all you could ask for in someone that inspires you! he was very friendly and inviting. he talked about video games and programming/art direction for awhile when we met. Aaron was funny and generous and above all, just so nice! makes it even easier to love his work :]