Aaron Koehn

Aaron Koehn, swimming pool, UV cured ink on canvas, 2014. Installation image by Luis Valdizon.

Aaron Koehn, swimming pool, UV cured ink on canvas, 2014. Installation image by Luis Valdizon.

 

Inspired by Bhanu Kapil Rider's The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers, we ask Aaron Koehn twelve questions. 

 

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1. WHO ARE YOU AND WHOM DO YOU LOVE?

My name is Aaron Koehn, I define myself as a painter, but there is a lot more to it than that.  The people I love and hold close to my life and my "work" help decipher these complexities of defining self, just as where I am in the world and what I ate that day does too. I often imagine what it would be like to be someone else, to swap existences.

 

2. WHAT HAPPENED IN THE MOST RECENT DREAM THAT YOU BEST REMEMBER?

I don't think I sleep enough to fully remember my dreams, I wanted to be dreaming about Blue.

 

3. WHAT OCCUPIES YOUR THOUGHTS MOST LATELY?

I've been pretty enveloped in thoughts of survival, staying afloat, working to work, etc., but that can lead down a pretty dark path. I try to let their agency fuel my time and my ideas in the studio.

 

 
Aaron Koehn, Golden Blinds, 2013

Aaron Koehn, Golden Blinds, 2013

 

4. WHEN WERE YOU FIRST MOST AWARE OF YOUR PRESENT PASSIONS AS A CHILD?

My present passions were my normative actions as a child.  I have been a maker my whole life, and received a lot of support and teaching to further that. I spent a lot of time trying to negate these passions and substitute them for other things, but it never really works.

 

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FEELING?

It's a sort of "déjà vu" recalling; when something feels correct even though its unfamiliar.  It is the best of feelings and its also really hard to describe.

 

6. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE FEELING?

That I slept-in and missed something important.

 

Aaron Koehn, drop ceiling painted the color of sky from memory, 2013

Aaron Koehn, drop ceiling painted the color of sky from memory, 2013

 

 

7. HOW DO YOU FUNCTION AND/OR FLOURISH IN SOLITUDE VS. AMONG PREFERRED COMPANY?

There is a certain loneliness and isolation that coincides with directing your time, energy and thinking towards a project. It leads to a certain isolation and alienation from the present surrounding world as you project your work and thinking into a future state of existence. I like this time of solitude and am comfortable with it. This solitude also creates a deep yearning for human connection, it's a double edged sword. My friends/loved ones and the company that I prefer honor this time of deep introspection, just as I honor their bouts of solitude.  Most of the company that I spend my time with are artists as well.  We all kind of go down our own separate paths and when we do come back together, its pretty magical.  

 

8. ARE YOU GOOD AT BEING UNCOMFORTABLE?

I am uncomfortable most of the time so I think I'm getting pretty good at it.  I've never walked away from a situation that was too uncomfortable for me to handle. People have definitely walked away from me though...

 

9. WHAT DO YOU IMAGINE MOST PEOPLE GET WRONG ABOUT YOU AT FIRST ACQUAINTANCE?

As answered by Elliat Albrecht:
That he possesses an average amount of generosity or compassion. Aaron nearly forced me to eat Ethiopian food like a grandmother in an empty restaurant at 10:00 PM the first time we met. I refused but appreciated the gesture.

 

Aaron Koehn, sad rainy day water on window #3, 2013

Aaron Koehn, sad rainy day water on window #3, 2013

 

10. HOW/WHO IS YOUR IDEAL AUDIENCE?

I am definitely more interested in the how of an audience vs. the who of it… I think I ask a lot from my audience, both in their participation with the images I make and their mental interaction with the objects that I present.  I don’t really believe in ideals, but I would like for those who view my “work” to project their own stories and imagination into the scenarios I present; to finish the sentence so-to-speak.

 

11. WHERE IS HOME?

I'd love to say, "home is where I lay my head down," but that doesn't always feel like the case. I feel a deep connection to my hometown of Cleveland, OH and I think that'll always be home for me, even though I have not lived there for a while and might not be back for a long time.  Cleveland is in my DNA, its a part of me.  I feel at home in the places I currently live, but it never feels the same.

 

12. WHAT QUESTION WOULD YOU ASK TO WHOMEVER IS READING THIS?

Do you say “we” for politeness’ sake?

 

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Good, Better by Aaron Koehn and Gabriel Dubois, is on at Burrard Arts Foundation until December 20.