Aaron Smith at the Crossroads


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About Aaron

Aaron Smith Smiling

Aaron Smith is an accomplished contemporary artist and returning Kansas City native. His kinetic photographs (frequently classified as 'light art'), and still photographs have been exhibited in museums and select exhibition spaces throughout the United States, and have been featured in multiple publications. Aaron earned his MFA from Maine College of Art and is currently a professor of photography at Johnson County Community College.


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Video Intro: Synergy Projects

Selected Exhibitions

Aaron Smith has exhibited several bodies of work in museums, academic and commercial galleries across the United States. His abstract kinetic photography has been described as transportive, phenomenal and meditative. Aaron's static photography manipulates perception through deviating from a single two-dimensional plane.

  • Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
  • Gallery of Contemporary Art (GOCA 121)
  • Institute for Contemporary Art
  • Mercer Gallery
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Artist Statement


As an artist, I create machines, devices and apparatuses that manipulate light in order to change the way space and objects are experienced.   I am interested the relationship between visual perception and the existentialist notion of presence, and how they work together to form a part of the human experience.   I create work that removes the banality from mundane observations or ideas in order to present an opportunity to reconnect with the conscious act of viewing and inner-personalizing those observations. The resulting work reflects the beauty and importance of living in the present, celebrating what exists right now.

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Bodies of Work



Kinetic Photography

Synergy Projects

This body of work consists of various inventions and devices that work together to generate mural sized kinetic photographs. These works are experiential and are often categorized as installation art and light art.

Photography

Solarography

Time lapse photographs that capture the sun streaking across the sky from dawn till dusk, but also North to South between the solstices. Printed on aluminum and sometimes shaped to create a three-dimensional experience.

Fractology

Medium format photographs originating from a Holga equipped with a custom handmade lens. These photographs are manipulated with focus on abstractions. Many of these are made into wall sculpture. All titles are based on the object photographed.

Synergy Projects

by Aaron Smith

Synergy Project 1

Iris

Synergy Project 1

Iris

Synergy Project 3

Pearl

Synergy Project 4

Spirity Yeti

Synergy Project 4

Spirit Yeti

Synergy Project 5

Splash

Synergy Project 8

Eclilpse

Synergy Project 9

Play

Solarography

by Aaron Smith

North Dam Bank

Grandpa's Pond

Beach

Sunsets over Kansas City, View from the Arts Asylum 03

Sunsets over Kansas City, View from the Arts Asylum 01

My Favorite Mistake

Gas Tank

(Printed on Aluminum 24" x 36" and bent to create a 3D experience)

Sunsets over Kansas City, View from the Arts Asylum 02

Fractology

by Aaron Smith

Cymbal

Motel Light

Green Bay

Stained Glass

Charlie Parker's Grave

Work in Progress

The Sun

ABS Bridge

Sports Car

Other Works

by Aaron Smith

Untitled

Beaded Aluminum Print

Ship in the Night

Giclée

Grandpa's Pond: Fading Memory

Acrylic on Giclée

April

Aluminum Print

Kids with Guns

Pastel Installation

Shamrock Aura

Lumen Print

iFeret: The Almighty

Flower Study


Stardust

3:17 Video Poetry
(graphic content warning).

Stardust


Aaron Smith is an Art Educator

Professor of Photography at Johnson County Community College, Former professor of Visual Art and Photography at the University of Colorado
and a member of Society for Photographic Education.





Teaching Philosophy

I was raised in a household that prized knowledge as being among the greatest of human achievements. Nearly every influential adult in my life, including parents and grandparents, were educators. From a young age, I was taught that education not only consisted of the collection of knowledge, but is also balanced with human experience and critical thinking. Extending that knowledge through education is one of the most sacred of human rights, and teaching is a social responsibility for those who are capable. Education is a family value.

As an educator, I have learned that teaching is an exchange. I give lessons, perform hands on demonstrations that impart techniques, and relay information to the students through various methods. However, the students bring their own ideas, philosophies, personal histories and values to their educational experience. Unlike other subjects, visual art and photography assignments inherently divulge a great deal about the student. In those moments they teach me about themselves, I learn from them.

Within that exchange is my evolution as an educator. I am committed to reach every student to the best of my capability. I achieve this by employing differentiated instruction and curriculum adaption with the specific needs of each student in mind. In order to maintain a positive learning environment during student interaction, I utilize elements of dialogic instruction for critiques.

My classroom demeanor is centered on a deep regard for inspired leadership. I believe that teachers are most effective when they are entrenched in the subject they are teaching, and passing their enthusiasm directly to students throughout the learning experience. I have a strong background building positive, solid working relationships with students, artists, administrative faculty, technical staff and management to improve teamwork, cohesiveness and productivity.

There are many facets to teaching visual art and photography. Students are guided through the process of making a "gallery-ready" work. That process begins with slide lectures that cover the historical, technical (chemical) aspects of a particular section of the class, followed by live, hands-on technical demonstrations of a process.

One of my primary responsibilities as an educator is to articulate expectations clearly. Once stated, however, I encourage my students to interpret the instructions as creatively as possible. Assignments often include written proposals, so that concepts are discussed before work begins, and I highly encourage students to connect with me for in-progress critiques.

Possessing the ability to write about and discuss work is imperative. I place a great deal of emphasis on verbal and written communication development. Student work culminates in critiques and students are expected to discuss their work using key terms presented throughout the semester. Students are also required to write about a number of subjects designed to encourage critical observation and thinking.

I firmly believe that every student deserves the opportunity to receive an A. My grades are assessed in a number of areas, including the quality of their work, their conceptual development, and their effort in and outside of class. The real educational goal is to help students become self-sufficient. Mistakes are taught as a crucial element in the learning process and I give my students confidence in their ability to take risks and solve problems. I demonstrate effective problem resolution management each time a student comes to me with questions or issues with their work, frequently using lessons from class to reinforce solutions.

As a photographer, artist, and educator, I find no greater reward than sharing my passion for art and photography with others. I measure my success as an educator by the success of my students. This is the final phase of the exchange. My job as a teacher is to ensure that the information I have imparted to them has been impactful, and helped them understand their ability to contribute as artists, while becoming self-reliant and proficient. Invariably, my goal is to create a successful artist and peer.


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Student Work

Various works from my students

Untitled

Self Portrait - Giclée
Digital Photography

Untitled

Social Commentary - Giclée
Digital Photography

Untitled

Self Portrait - Wet Plate Collodion
Alternative Process

Untitled

Landscape - Silver Gelatin Print
Plastic Camera

Untitled

Medium Format - Color print
Introduction to Medium Format Color

Maia

Self Portrait - Giclée
Digital Photography

Untitled

Self-Portrait - Wet Plate Collodion
Alternative Process

Untitled

Bracketing - Silver Gelatin Print
Plastic Camera

Untitled

Self Portrait - Giclée
Digital Photography

Fuck Me, Fuck You

Created Worlds - Giclée
Digital Photography

Untitled

Time Lapse Exposure - Silver Gelatin Print
Plastic Camera

Untitled

Multiple Exposure - Silver Gelatin Print
Plastic Camera

Untitled

Multimedia
Visual Art Foundations

Untitled

Silhouette Cut Out Assignment
Visual Art Foundations

Untitled

Imagined Landscape - Acrylic on Paper
Visual Art Foundation

Untitled

Self Portrait - Acrylic on Canvas
Visual Art Foundation

Fun Facts

Crazy facts about Aaron you were probably glad you never knew.

Photographs on Smart Phone
Guitars Owned
World Records Earned
Number of Flashlights in My House

Get in Touch

Use the form below to contact Aaron Smith, or email arryn@arryns.com

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