Artist Biography

paintedhands

Born in Rehoboth, Delaware on August 14, 1978, I came into the world knowing I was meant to be an artist.  As a child I remember staring up at the masks of the world’s people made by my grandmother.   My father is a sculptor-painter and my mother heals with deep-muscle massage.  When I was two years old, my parents left the comfortable world of the Mid-Atlantic and set off on a journey across the United States from coast to coast, returning to Pinewater Farm, the legacy of my mother’s parents.  One year later my brother was born and our family transplanted to the dry desert vistas of El Paso, Texas.  One of my earliest memories from this time is fingerpainting on canvas with my father and coiling snake-like bowls out of clay. In the desert southwest I first encountered Native American and Mexican people; new languages and food opened my eyes to the larger world awaiting me.


At five my family moved further west to Portland, Oregon. I was fortunate to attend an alternative high school known as Arts and Communications; an experimental magnet program for creative individuals who did not fit into the normal high school paradigm. From 1993-1996 I learned new ways to express myself through visual art, writing, music, Japanese, and Spanish. I learned how to discuss my ideas and appreciate the different views of my teachers and peers. Major semester-long research projects included study of the history and cultures of the American Hopi, the Mexican Aztec, and the Australian Aborigines.

Graduating as valedictorian in my class of forty, I walked away from high school with a plane ticket and a rail-pass bound for a month-long adventure in Europe. Visiting Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden with my 14-year old brother, I met an international cast of characters who planted the seeds for future adventures abroad, launching my imagination onto a global scene.

In the Fall of 1996 I set foot on the campus of Evergreen State College, a liberal arts school hidden in the rainforest of the Puget Sound where credit is awarded based on self-evaluation and student-teacher conference. My undergraduate studies included Art History, Comparative World Mythology, Buddhism, Mystical Physics, Jungian Psychology, Pre-Columbian and Asian Archaeology.


In January of 1999 I traveled to Belize in Central America with a small group of students and advisors. Each student was bound by independent research contracts to study their choice subject. Surrounded by friends gathering information about medicinal plants and ethnic music, I visited the ancient archaeological sites of the Pre-Columbian Maya and taught basic drawing classes to the children of the Modern Maya. After one month, the group returned to the U.S., and I traveled through Guatemala and Mexico. Along the way, I visited the ancient Mayan pyramids of Tikal and Palenque, and lived with the descendants of the same people who carved those stones. Choosing not to fly home but to go by bus overland all the way to Austin, Texas, I attended lectures by prominent Mayanist scholars.

Six months later, I departed American soil on an airplane with a backpack and a sketchbook. I was bound for Auckland, New Zealand; the first country of a seven-month odyssey funded by inheritance and college loans. My faculty-sponsored, independent contract stated that I would travel, experience, document, and share what I learned along the way through the Internet. I would visit famous archaeological sites, volunteer with Willing Workers On Organic Farms (WWOOF), stay in youth hostels, and camp out in the wild. From Auckland I flew to Melbourne, Australia; the island-continent that I would spend three months traversing. I ventured up the east coast to Sydney, Byron Bay, Brisbane, and Cairns. While rolling along on a bus I read Jack Kerouac’s legendary book On the Road which triggered me to begin writing about my own experience out in the world, as if one day someone might read it and find some inspiration. From the northeast coast I flew to Alice Springs in the Red Center to visit Ayer’s Rock and the Olgas.


From Darwin I flew to Bali and encountered for the first time Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim people, who accepted me as a fellow traveler despite my outlandish dress and white skin. On Java I visited the 9th Century Buddhist temple Borobudur and Jogjakarta, the arts-and-crafts center of Indonesia. After a month in Indonesia I flew to Bangkok, Thailand and spent the last two months of my adventure visiting as much of Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos as possible. The highlight of my 7-month trip occurred in Cambodia when I visited Angkor, the 9th century Hindu city-temple complex of the Khmer Empire.

Aaron Trotter by ichad.

In 2000 I graduated with a B.A. in Art and Culture. Since that time I have volunteered with Americorps and the Student Conservation Association at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico and the Klondike Gold-Rush National Historic Park in Alaska. I have guided tours through ancient desert cities and illustrated 100-year old artifacts and structures.
My skills have been put to the test in the challenging role of field-technician on a number of archaeological excavations and surveys in the Pacific Northwest. I am skilled in backcountry survival as well as computer- savvy. I have been an after-school art teacher, a busboy, dishwasher, breakfast cook, coffee shop barista, taxi-driver, landscaper, and a farmer. I consider myself to be a nomadic actionary.


Since March of 2003 I have been actively pursuing the spotlight that is offered by the international, national, and local ‘art worlds’. My paintings have graced diverse venues in Portland, Oregon and Tacoma, Washington; galleries, museums, churches, community centers, restaurants, cafes, bars, and alternative music venues have showcased my paintings, drawings, photography, writing, and multi-media collaborative performances.


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