Monday, July 19, 2010

Artist Interview: Aaron Schraeter

What is your name: Aaron Schraeter

Do you have a formal art education or are you a self taught artist: I have a BA in Fine Art from Temple University, and I went to an Arts High School in NY called The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. I'd like to also go for my MFA.

What is the style of your pieces: I guess you could align it with expressionist? I'm not really sure (and no one else seems to be either), but my strongest influences I would say are Philip Guston, Francis Bacon, and Martin Kippenberger.

What is the medium in which you work: Typically Acrylic on canvas, but I generally also go over top of it with something else too (ie, charcoal, oil pastel, oil paint, conte' crayon, etc.)

What started you on your path as an artist: My grandmother is a self-taught landscape artist, and she had me start drawing really young. I guess you could say it just kind of stuck.

What is one of the most important things that art has brought to your life: It's how I make sense of everything. I have all these thoughts and emotions that run through my head, and expressing them in words can be very difficult at times since I think pictorially. It's a great way for me to get the demons out.

What is your favorite genre of art besides the one you work in: I've always liked street art, and even had a little stint doing graffiti while I was in High School. I've even got to work with some great graffiti legends like Lady Pink, Cycle, Smith, and Muck. Part of me wishes I had the balls to do the things that they do, like how Ron English just high jacks billboards the way he does, or David Choe will do a drive-by bomb.

Do you have art showings, and if so what are they typically like: I've had some showings here and there, and for me they're typically nerve racking, but fun.

Do you have a certain set of clothes you make art in: Nope. I paint pretty spontaneously, so a lot of my clothes have been ruined over the years. But I do always where the same pair of slippers when I paint.

What has been the most frustrating part of being an artist? A lot of people just don't seem to get it. The most frustrating thing people ask me is "Oh, you're an artist. So what do you want to do for a career?". They just don't get that money jobs, in this lifestyle, have to take a back seat sometimes. 

What is your favorite sandwich of all time: The Sloppy Guy from Cherry Valley in Whitestone, Queens. If you're reading this and you know a better sandwich place, either you're a liar, or you need to tell me immediately.

Has this year brought about any changes in your work, and if so what are they: Ya- major. At some point during college I decided I was getting too complicated. So I spent time "cutting the fat", trying to simply the highly rendered images. I decided this year, though, that rather than use fewer words in a sentence, more people understand what I'm saying if I just use simpler ones. So I took a more rustic, caution to the wind approach which I feel has made my work a bit more lively and powerful. Adding more drawing elements has been a key factor.

Who is your favorite artist alive or dead: Philip Guston. Hands down.

What is the most moving piece of artwork that you have seen in person: Probably "Drawing from Stereoscope" by William Kentridge. All his stuff is nuts.
Do you have any animals, and what do they think of your work: I spend a lot of time with my girlfriend's dog, Miro. He likes my work as long as he can sit in my lap when he's looking at it.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions you would like to share with us: Not as of yet, but I have some things in the works for hopefully soon.                    


  1. Need to make a correction. The sandwich I was thinking of is called the Fat Boy. Many apologies for those looking for my recommendation.