In every home there is a corner, a nook, some sacred space that attracts us to sit and read, or write, or build, some spot where we feel comfortable with ourselves. It is my belief that the art in our homes can play the biggest role in creating that space. Plus it’s kind of cool to think of art not just as pretty pictures or provocative statements, but something that can actually help soothe and heal us. What if the paintings we purchase were created to be both pleasing to the eye and therapeutic to the soul? If there’s any part of you that longs to feel more connected to your surroundings in a heartfelt way, then Aaron Metz is an artist you will love.
Aaron has been painting for decades in a number of different styles, but it was around this time last year that he had an epiphany that would change his approach forever. He had a dream, a vision, in which he saw a new series of paintings. He saw himself painting every day and deeply connecting through his art with people from all different walks of life. It was a type of commitment and style of painting unlike anything he’d ever done before. He awoke, and decided to go for it.
Fast-forward a year and I’m knocking on his door. He invites me into a warm home full of completed paintings, new ones in the works and a list of commissions coming in from all over the world. His work is featured at Ex Nihilo Winery, Gallery 421 in the Mission, and will arrive at a place called Crystalworks in Vancouver this year. He has a huge online presence and relationships with a multitude of artists, patrons and fans, who reach out to talk about everything from technical questions to their own personal struggles, his work the direct catalyst for a constant stream of connections. He walks me over to his modest studio, a corner of a living room lovingly shared by a supportive and adorable family. He talks about how shifting his life to value presence and pure expression has fuelled the spark behind what he paints, which to me look like tiny explosions unfolding from darkness into light, love notes that need no words because they are written in galaxies. The cosmos is his playground. “The paintbrush is my Hubble,” says Aaron.
His new approach includes guidelines: each piece unfolds intuitively as it is being painted; each is done with a single brush (all of the paintings are done on wood panels and he attaches the brush to the back when the piece is complete, allowing it to stay with its creation forever); and he is completely transparent and open about his process, sharing everything he can with others who are interested.
“It’s about using as little material and technology as possible, so I can create something out of very little. If you keep it minimal, you can concentrate on your piece, it’s easier to come from that heart space.” says Aaron.
What was once about thought and planning is now about flow and allowing. But make no mistake; this is not the fair-weather art of a trend-talking hipster. Aaron has the skills of a master. After layers of translucent paint (everything he uses is as high-grade as possible with exceptional archival qualities) he pours on a high gloss resin and waxes it all to perfection. Into the paint he mixes granules and the dust of a number of crystals, each of them imbued with unique qualities: selenite for purifying and cleansing; chlorite for protection and grounding; lapis lazuli for emotional balance and sweet dreams; lepidolite for peace and calm (it is the stone from which lithium is mined, also known as “nature’s Valium,” to which I say, yes, please put that all over my walls!). It’s a beautiful blend of intentional process built through a heck of a lot of hard work.
An international patron of Aaron’s work wrote him about how the art makes him feel. “I connect so much with your visuals. I would be honored to be able to wake up every morning to such an amazing piece. I gain so much positive energy from my surroundings and think your style is spot on” — Josh Jones, New York. I agree. It’s not hard to get a little celestial with my own words while describing Aaron, but as I sit here writing beneath one of his paintings in my living room, I feel like it’s okay. We are the vessels and our art gives us wings. Fly on. www.exhaleart.gallery
Photos from top: Peace; Aaron Metz at work; A reflection of the artist in his work Origins; Chiaroscuro Symphony
As seen in
Our February issue features the Good Life in the Okanagan from big bold red wines to winter staycations. It's a Journey to the Dream Job with Dona Sturmanis and a feature on Pension Peril from freelancer Dawn Renaud. We’re also in the kitchen with Okanagan chef Nik Theodorakis of Theo's Restaurant, a long standing best restaurant award winner.