Today we will be featuring our newest local artist, Jonathan Aumen, whose artwork is currently being displayed at our Hilltop North restaurant.
We’ve asked him a few questions in order to give you a behind-the-scenes look at both the art and the artist himself!
GET TO KNOW JONATHAN…
Hi, my name’s Jonathan. I’m originally from Fairfax, Virginia, but my family moved to Beijing, China when I was 8 years old. My younger years were storybook quality, filled with all kinds of fascinating experiences that have really molded me to become the individual I am today. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, but became more serious about it in middle school when I started taking private lessons under a Chinese art professor from Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts. He was my Mr. Myagi of sorts. I received a rigorous classical art education where the typical lesson would last 4-5 hours! I have to say though, I’m so grateful for it now.
I’ve lived in China, collectively, for over 13 years. It is definitely home for me and I miss it everyday. In fact, my wife Sharon and I just came back to the States two years ago to have our son, Gideon. I only speak Chinese to him; his first word was “gou” which means “dog.” We’re also expecting a baby girl in a few days as well! And the family grows!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR ART
Art and creating is a way for me to ponder things that captivate me, things I can’t fully understand and that leave me feeling very small. Everything in the Universe is immersed in such mystery! In nature, we receive glimpses into something much larger than ourselves. It’s the eternality, the beauty of the order, and the mystery that keeps me in this state of wonder and longing. Visual art is the means by which I document those moments.
If you’re wondering about the birds… well, I used to want to be an ornithologist when I was in high school. I even had a whole balcony of exotic finches that I was breeding. I’ve always had a special affinity for them and seem to have a knack at rendering them as well. I just got accepted into the world-renowned Birds in Art 2014 exhibition at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum in Wisconsin! Super excited about that! You might be interested to know that the birds are done with watercolor, FIRE, and acrylic. Yes, fire, but I can’t give away any more of my secrets!
HOW DO YOU #LiveYourHealth?
I love eating FRESH food, especially fruits and vegetables. Am I consistent all the time? Far from it! Things get busy and I lose sight of what I hold important. Sometimes life feels like juggling flaming torches (we all know that feeling!). It’s thrilling, but you got to pay close attention to balance. If you obsess too much over one thing, something else gets neglected. It’s easy to get caught up in the physical and forget that we have a soul to nourish. If we nourish our soul, we’re able to engage life and love other a lot better. Healthy food is a big part of fueling though! Virginia Woolf once said, ““One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well.”
WHAT’S YOUR CONNECTION TO FRUITIVE?
I actually met Gregg when Sharon and I first got back from China. He was still in the process of getting the store ready to open. I was really impressed by how he showed some much interest in my life despite being exhausted and having so much going on with the store. I think any business owner who places such value on the individual and his relationships, is bound to succeed! I also am the brother-in-law of Emily Benson who is an integral member of the Fruitive team. She’s a powerhouse!! Watch out!!!