“Best thing about art is doing what the f*ck you want to do,” says Aaron Brown, a talented young artist residing in Richmond, Va. Brown, originally from Woodbridge, Va., is in his second year of schooling in VCU’s competitive art program. On the side, he creates portraits and sells to buyers throughout the community. Rich City staff was able to catch up with Aaron to discuss his views on visual arts, and to admire his collection of artwork.
Aaron’s background in the visual arts goes back to his youth; he was ,“always into ink,” and developing images through Sharpies. It was not until taking AP art in high school that Aaron decided he would like to bring his talents down to Richmond.
When asked about his inspirations for his works, Aaron replied with, “Anything having to do with cartoons..cartoons like Sonic, Naruto, or Boondocks”. Seeing the street art of Baltimore, MD., also led him to admire a style of, “solid lines,” and an, “attraction to contrast”. Lately, Brown has been on a mission to, “make art more...afrocentric”.
This is evident in the image of Mike Brown wearing his graduation cap (above), that Aaron put together and had published in VCU’s Commonwealth Times. The image is called “Rest Easy” Aaron was asked to create an image for an art show and in the aftermath of the disturbing Mike Brown case, he was moved to produce this painting. “He shouldn’t have died that way...he was supposed to go to college..I was so excited to go to college,” Brown said. . At the bottom of his image, you notice three “i”s which he said represent, “heart, honor, and respect,” (similar to the meaning behind Kendrick Lamar’s “Hiiipower” track).
The latest work of Brown’s is a storyboard series entitled, “Trials of an Ugly N*gga” (pictured above). The above image is one-fourth of the full story. The idea of this storyboard was described as, “less narcissistic but at the same time narcissistic being a whole story about me.” The theme of this comic is based on the insecurities that any minority in our society may have. This specific panel shows that, “[the] Ugly N*gga can balance hate and isolation.”
“The protagonists have this power where they turn gold (a result of overcoming insecurities)..but confidence comes at a cost. N*ggas become insecure regardless. People think they’re ugly ‘cause eurocentric media tells them that...in t.v. and media,” he added.
When asked about his favorite piece of work, Brown dug through a portfolio of pictures and immediately withdrew this gloomy, yet eye-catching portrayal from his portfolio (Brown calls it “Black Boy Gold”). The inspiration for this artwork came by dream for Brown. The dream was that he and his roommate were carrying the body of Trayvon Martin back to Trayvon’s mother. But in the dream, his arms were removed. Out of respect when translating the image to paper, Brown used his roommate’s face instead. The gloominess of the image is used to depict police brutality and a dark society. Again we see the three “i”s used to acknowledge a need for heart, honor, and respect.
It was a pleasure to see the different mediums of art that Brown utilizes. Brown also makes music and writes poetry. Hopefully, we see more of Brown’s work throughout Richmond. View more of his dope depictions on his Tumblr account thecreaturealfred.tumblr.com/tagged/my-artwork and on his instagram @thecreaturealfred.
View theCreatureAlfred's gallery here.
- Josh Edwards