Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Alchemical Wedding.

I encountered the rich and deeply disturbing work of David Aronson in a strangely convoluted way. After having come on his work through several mutual friends on the Internet several years ago, I spent a long time one evening drinking coffee and going through his website, Alchemical Wedding. I was inspired and somewhat galvanized by what I found there, but this story probably would’ve ended there if it wasn’t for the coincidences that came next. A year or so later, a friend of mine was given his Tarot deck in person at a convention, and showed them to me. I immediately recognized the work, of course, and asked for his contact information. We started talking in email that way, and even had some discussions about collaborating on a graphic novel series (which sadly never came to be due to circumstances beyond our control.) Since then I’ve bumped into him several times in my first Friday jaunts in Philadelphia, and then, yet again another coincidence, I put out an anonymous Alterati casting call on craigslist, and he replied to it.

When things like this happen in our lives, we can call them synchronicity, or coincidence, and attribute meaning to it, or not. But either way, it is strangely appropriate, given the nature of his work: psychological, often spiritual and troubling, with more than a hint of that mystery that we can genuinely call the occult, rather than the mere trappings of it which we now see bleeding into a lot of corporate, faux-counterculture milieus. After bumping into it so many times myself, whether by accident or design, I am happy to be able to introduce you to it.

What first motivated you to get into this kind of work? Is it the same thing now?

I’ve always been drawn to surrealism and the fantastic. I went to a commercial art school and majored in illustration, and after I graduated I started looking at painting and fine art and it dawned on me that I should say something much deeper and more profound about my self and my life with art. I could talk about things which couldn’t be expressed with words–deeply buried, painful and ambiguous feelings, thoughts and experiences. It was a revelation which was very liberating. I started creating images that expressed the deeper parts of myself. Actually, it was and is more like allowing the deeper parts of myself, parts that have been silenced, cut off and disconnected, to have a voice. This kind of work became very cathartic and ultimately healing, along with exploration and the freedom of the imagination, is really the main theme of my art.

I’ve noticed something with your work that I think is a common thread with most of my favorite musicians and artists. On the surface, the work is very dark, and some people get turned off by that because they don’t really understand - or don’t care to understand- the alchemy going on. I mean creating “dark” work for the sake of being dark is pretty adolescent, but really going to those places, exploring them, and clearing them out or transforming them - that’s really as “light” as you can get, no matter how grim the cast off matter might be. It seems very alchemical to me. Are there any particular traditions that you follow or use as inspiration in this vein - alchemical, gnostic, mystical, and so on - or has it really been completely your own?

( article.)

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