Artful Vision | Aaron Li-Hill

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." - Scott Adams

Pursuing an art career will ruin the passion for the practice. It's shocking to think that such stigmas around art could have prevented Aaron Li-Hill from his current career. Fortunately, he soon realized at a young age that if he was to do anything for the rest of his life, Li-Hill needed to make sure it was something he cared about. In the end, he chose to dedicate himself to art.

Li-Hill's relationship with art originates from graffiti culture. Art school came in later, which he compares to a bubble: "[...] it's like having all the ideas and all the freedom to do what you like with them, without the pressure of money, success and the career aspects." As a result, he started exploring his ideas through found and recycled objects, never questioning whether or not the piece would bring him greater opportunities. "There's something about the found object; it's amazing to be able to play with it and also question the whole concept of the industry." He brought his then geometric abstraction drawings to life in a natural progression: his first installation of the sort included a giant wooden tipi mimicking a citadel. "I thought wood itself was a nice metaphor for humanity, about manipulating nature, taking resources and applying it to our own views."

If school was great for resources and such matters, his formative years were those of which Li-Hill traveled Europe and Australia. About the old continent, he recalls: "I would go to museums and practice drawing my favorite old master paintings,leading him to a much more classical art approach to his practice. Back from his travels, his perspective on his hometown Toronto had changed as his horizons widened. "I'm proud of the idea that I wasn't a kid that was amazing at it from the beginning. It didn't come that easy. [...] Toronto is a magical place for me. It was a really nurturing scene, and I was very lucky in that regards, especially coming from a graffiti realm."

Over time, Li-Hill has made many compromises within his work to find his place in the market.As I ask him for any advice for upcoming artists, he tells me: "Go travel by yourself and follow your heart. Don't have some kind of rigid structure. Just experience [life], because that opens you up to [so much more opportunities]. Don't ever think of it as a means to make money. [...] Always put your work at the forefront." For the hard-working young man now based in Brooklyn, building camaraderie and being crafty and open to pursuing new avenues is the best advice one could take. "In the end, art is a connection between ideas, feelings, aesthetics and concepts...  feeling that connection with someone who reciprocates it is an incredible feeling.

Aaron Li-Hill, Canadian artist currently based out of Brooklyn, for this week's Artful Vision.


Instagram: @li_hill

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