Aron Conaway - Artist Statement 2001
"Good young man…if ever your ripened talents give you the power to speak to mankind, never speak to them save as your conscience bids, and do not look for their applause… it matters not whether they adore or detest you. What matters to a man is to fulfill his obligations on this earth, and in forgetfulness of self he achieves his own best ends." -Savoyard Priest in Emile. - Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Throughout my life and schooling, I have been reluctant to label myself as an "artist", for truly declaring oneself to such a praiseworthy position in society requires much self-admiration and confidence. The artist embraces a status celebrated for its many great minds whom have approached, sweated and reveled upon genius throughout the ages. But I have come to appreciate the idea that all great artists must have once started at their own creative alpha, allowing for spiritual growth through hard work and tribulation. I have recently found myself creating with ease and working freely with my intuition. My art, I discovered, is my voice. I find it self-serving and empowering. Most of all though, I long for it to be universally contributive to the evolution of the world.
Yesterday, I rediscovered the results to an aptitude test that I took in 1989. Aside from the inane suggestion that I become a law enforcement officer, I was impressed at how well the test had projected me based on my performance as an eleven-year-old. In short, I was explained as a mechanically inclined, protective, humanitarian. I don't remember how these tests were facilitated, but I honestly would not have been able to quickly explain myself better two days ago. My mechanically created sculptures and photographs, are submersed in human interest, wrapped up tightly by the endeavors of protecting the environment, culture, and all that I find good. I challenge war upon the heartless talons of corporate greed, police-state control, and all that is sucking the planet dry of health and freedom. I am a loner and I am a revolutionary. I find myself driven with purpose and heart-felt responsibilities to stand up for the weak and to empower the masses.
In my photography, I search for intriguing elements of the world that simply grab me by creating small intangible worlds of interrelationships and juxtapositions. I have become interested in joining large-scale protests, which have evolved dramatically since the 1960's war protests. Police presence has become militaristic and offensively violent towards demonstrators. I use my camera as a tool to a personal journal, where I can document what I witness and provide the evidence to others. I tend to wander into dynamic interactions between police and protestor, which leave strong impressions upon the film. I write about these situations and attempt to softly question what the human race and particularly Americans being subjected to. There is so much happening in the world right now, potentially a great final transition from the dying Old World to the viscously hungry New World order of plastic and asphalt. I see humanity looking back years in the future, wondering at the beauty of the previous milleniums, but wondering at what point the transition occurred.
To find my place in this changing time, I have embarked on a personal journey to become more conscious of the art world and its history. I experience personal evolution through learning from other's failures and successes. In analyzing the lives and values of certain artists, I attempt earning a glimpse into their personal secrets of living. I try to dissect their psyches to figure out what allows them to take flight into a freedom of living. I dream of a state of freedom where at any junction one can turn to any direction, smiling into the face of fear and rejection. I am seeking to elevate to this freedom, which requires a revolution of sorts. I feel that to live truly we must march confidently in the direction of freedom, choosing short-term goals along the right path. Life it seems to me has reached a pinnacle, where we are really facing the very possibility to the omega of mankind.
Many of the unreal ideas for my more surreal photography are born in the moments when I am taken by a reading, lost in the depths of a fascinating subject, and immersed in a false reality. Totally spellbound by language and fully unaware of the intensity of my thought processes, I suddenly reach a point, where a blizzard of physical sensation may take over my nerves. An almost sickening ball of energy builds up in my stomach, moves into my chest and pushes out to every end of my body. With this almost manic experience, I cannot resist grabbing the nearest writing utensil and piece of scrap paper to allow my brain to scramble out any and all ideas, relationships and concepts I am experiencing, until I am too tired to continue. These "episodes", often separated by months, provide me with a blueprint for my work in both photography and in sculpture. Perhaps best described as allegorical, I pose questions about our personal and collective demeanors as well as our dark side as a society.
I want to chip away at the structure of people's beliefs, attack their sense of sureness and create an assault of concern. Push the part of the world that they don't want to consider right under their noses, but with honesty and sincerity. I wish to remind them of their own humanity.
I am a bleeding heart romantic, full of compassion, empathy, and loaded with the feeling responsibility to remind America of the forgotten man, the underdog, all the world's impoverished masses. I want to hold a mirror in the face of America to probe all capable thinkers to consider what we are moving towards and also departing from. I constantly question what we are doing and wonder when the dream is going to sweep us right off of our feet.
Searching for political truth, I reject excuses and pray for the weights of justice to fall on the corrupt, the immoral. I find purpose and truth in allowing people to interact with my creations of ambiguous or succinct relationship. I try to point them in a direction, yet leave space for them to build the avenues that bring them to new and personal meanings. By reminding people of their humanity and the rest of the world's humanity, I want to bring people outside of their own lives, kill the stagnation of contemporary lifestyle, evolution or revolution. This seems to frighten people to the core of their very existence. I want to shake them up, put a little fire under bottoms, remind them of their youthful ideals and the ugliness of corruption and injustice. I will continue pushing against what I see as wrong and harmful, inviting any and all to point their fingers and have the empowerment to speak and act for their own truths. While challenging the way we, as a society function I believe every little dent counts. This is the energy that keeps me going, putting one foot in front of the other. Through my art I see myself a freedom fighter, an intellectual, an activist, a participant, and then maybe an artist.