Aaron Jones. Artist of the Day.

Aaron Jones – Why a Collage Artist from Toronto Dreams of Egalitarian Spaces

Toronto-based artist Aaron Jones uses self-reflection and character building as a means of finding peace. Through appropriated images, video, and lens-based media, he works with various types of collage to reflect on the nuances of his upbringing, current life, and the environment. Jones juxtaposes photos from the media with self-portraits in natural and urban locales to ask the question, ‘How do we make our own [world] from what is given?’

Not Real Art Artist Of The Day Series

Jones earned a BA from the Ontario College of Art and Design University and co-founded the BAU artist collective. His work is in corporate and private collections and has been featured in gallery and museum exhibitions from Vancouver to Nova Scotia. In 2020, his solo show, Open Fist, Closed Palm, at Zalucky Contemporary in Toronto, received the Gattuso Prize for Best Featured Exhibition during the CONTACT Photography Festival. Jones’s mixed-media collages of Black athletes, and other figurative assemblages, focus on personal and collective empowerment.

My artwork attempts to speak beyond the nuances we as North Americans see in everyday images…. I work toward a feeling of empowerment. Not only for myself, but for the viewer that will engage with my work. I believe the simple things can stimulate us so we want to act and move forward with self assurance. Moving forward in a sense of creating more art, nurturing one another, and transforming the world we currently live in.

Despite his prolific output, and active exhibition schedule, Jones has faced the usual challenges of a Black male artist navigating the white, male-run gallery scene. He strives to help facilitate a ‘truly egalitarian space.’ Like many artists working in tight urban environments, Jones has banded together with peers to maintain studio space in Toronto. Feeling alienated motivated him to find a place for himself and others that will allow him to continue making and exhibiting work, and foster a more inclusive creative community down the line.

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Aaron Jones — Artist Statement

Aaron Jones. Headshot
Aaron Jones

Aaron Jones' practice surrounds ideas of self-reflection and character-building, as a way of finding peace. Often using found images, videos, and lens-based media, he works with different forms of collage to build characters and spaces relating to surreal yet personal experiences. Whether it be physical mark-making on paper or overlapping content digitally,  through a cathartic and ritualistic practice of deconstructing and rebuilding his world aims to be a resolve for aspects of intergenerational traumas. His use of visual and creative fusion asks, both through its production and its process, How do we make our own [world] from what is given?

Aaron Jones – Grant Submission Work

Aaron Jones. Untitled, 2019
Untitled, 2019
Newsprint, Magazine paper
16 x 18.5 inches

– A person with no eyes – Brain of father and mother – All the arms to touch the world – Doesn't know who they are themselves

Aaron Jones. Miner, 2019
Miner, 2019
Magazine Paper
18 x 11 inches

– Bronze – A reading figure – A solid person – Immovable gaining knowledge

Sitting on the sky in the woods
Chromogenic Print

Sitting on the sky in the woods – Having enough arms to touch everything at once – Moving fast – Living in luxury – A man in red sits on his throne

Aaron Jones. Advantage Over, 2019
Advantage Over, 2019
Magazine Paper
21.5 x 14.4 inches

– A man – A very muscular Black man – Lots a strength – No hands – Being watch for his performance

Vince Carter dunking on everyone, 2018-2019
Magazine Paper
26 x 20 inches

– A young man from Toronto – Is a basketball fanatic – This image of Vince Carter dunking on everyone – Is an exciting memento – To show the speed and power of the sport

Aaron Jones – Artist Bio

Aaron Jones is a multi-disciplinary visual artist based in Toronto. His practice surrounds ideas of self-reflection and character-building, as a way of finding peace. Often using found images, videos and lens-based media, he works with different forms of collage to build characters and spaces that reflect upon the nuances of his own upbringing, current life and the environment. Recent exhibitions include Three Thirty at Doris McCarthy Gallery (2020), From the Ground Up at NIA Centre for the Arts (2019), Ragga NYC at Mercer Union (2018) and Propped at Oakville Galleries (2017). His solo exhibition Open Fist, Closed Palm at Zalucky Contemporary was awarded The Gattuso Prize for “Best Featured Exhibition” during the 2020 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. His work will be included in upcoming exhibitions at HOWARD495 (for the Vancouver Capture Photography Festival), the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Prefix Photo and Nuit Blanche. He graduated with a BA from OCADU in 2018 and was a co-founding member of the BAU Collective. His work is included in the collections of Ryerson Image Centre, Wedge Curatorial Projects,

Aaron on the Web And Social Media

Here is where to find out more about Aaron Jones on the web and social media:

About the Artist of the Day Series

All artworks have been published with permission of the artist. Our "Artist of the Day" series is a regular feature highlighting artworks from the 100's of grant applications we receive. The "Not Real Art Grant" is an annual award designed to empower the careers of contemporary artists, and this is one way we honor all entries we receive. Find out more about the grant program here.

Kirsten Bengtson-Lykoudis

Kirsten Bengtson-Lykoudis is a writer, photographer, and former New York gallerist based in Richmond, Virginia. She has a masters in fine art, a BA in Russian literature, and is earning a masters in nonfiction writing at Johns Hopkins University, AAP.