Aaron Molinsky: Painting images that demand your attention

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on February 1, 2012

Artist Aaron Molinsky with his painting from Menlo College Plein Art Show

Viewing artist Aaron Molinsky’s body of work, he would seem an unlikely artist to participate in the Menlo College Plein Air Art Show. Far from soft and serene landscapes, Aaron’s images of skulls and faces are jarring, if not disturbing.

But participate he did and came away one of three winners. Paintings representing all three winners are currently on display in a show on the campus called Outside the Box, Inside the Frame in the Administration Building through March 5. A reception will take place on Thursday, Feb. 2, from 5:oo to 7:oo pm. (Aaron’s winning plein air painting is shown in top photo).

“We had just moved down from Portland, and I wanted an avenue to get to know the local artists’ community,” said Aaron, whose polite and quiet demeanor is in distinct contrast to the images he creates. “In addition, I think you can learn from anything that pushes you out of your comfort zone and painting plein air did that.”

Commenting on Aaron’s work as well as fellow plein air winners Marconi Calindas and Edwin Bertolet, Yasmin Lambit-Simpson, Dean of Student Affairs and a member of the Art Committee, said: “These are three completely different artists, and the diversity of their styles and subject matter help us to appreciate our creative community. We are a business school, and it is important to exhibit the many faces of the human experience to aid in the development of the whole student.”

Artist Aaron Molinsky and his paintings

Aaron is a self-taught artist who has been painting for five years and sculpting for a year and a half. “I’ve always been drawn to strong imagery,” he said, sitting surrounded by paintings and sculpture in his studio on the Menlo campus. “In my view, art should grab the viewer’s attention.

“I feel that painting is about emotions. And, there are a lot more emotions than happiness. There’s a sense of creating beauty out of sadness.”

He admits that he was a bit surprised to be selected as one of the winners for the Plein Air Art Show, “given that my style is not very traditional. It was exciting to be going against artists who’d been doing plein air for years. I liked feeling pushed.”

Aaron’s painting from the Plein Air Art Show is distinct for the other artists in more than style. He uses a product call Galkyd, made by Gamblin Paints. “It’s amber colored, and I pore it over the top of the painting,” he said. “It gives the work a gloss and kind of depth. That’s what I’ve gotten the most comments about.”

Not all of Aaron’s paintings are dark. He’s created playful scenes in children’s nurseries and is open to commissions that strike a note with him. He can be contacted via his Etsy profile.

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