Three Minutes with artist Aaron Bleidt, on show at Oven & Tap

Three Minutes with artist Aaron Bleidt, on show at Oven & Tap

“Having the space to bring so many works together in one place, it affords the opportunity to really say something – for the works to shine on their own but also be part of a larger chorus of visual communication surrounding the viewer as they gaze around the rooms and walls,” says artist Aaron Bleidt, whose solo show is up through July 31 at Oven & Tap in downtown Bentonville. “For me, each work intends to tell a certain story and spark certain emotions, so curating so many together in one show feels a bit like writing a symphony through a kaleidoscope — sure, some of the ‘notes’ may be a bit random, but there are some fun through-lines.”

By day, Bleidt is founding partner of Vantage Point Communications and now chief marketing and communications officer of DOXA/VANTAGE. By night, he’s become an artist in earnest, whose “art practice is transcending beyond pastime or vocation; it’s becoming more of a calling.”

He answered these questions for The Free Weekly. His responses have been edited for space.

Q. Tell me about you… Where you grew up? What kind of kid were you? What did you dream about life as an adult?

A. That’s a lot to unpack, ha! Born and raised in Fayetteville. I was a very gregarious kid, inquisitive and curious about … well, just about everything. I loved art class in school and had a brief stint with the trumpet … Mom was an artist and loved theater, so I attended a ton of art shows and plays growing up from a very young age. So art was always an important presence in my life, but more as a consumer rather than a maker, at least in terms of visual art. My creative outlet was more focused on writing, and one of my dreams as a kid I guess was to be an author or a publisher, which led to an interest in journalism, media, marketing and communications. I always had an entrepreneurial slant, too, and dreamed of building my own businesses. Fast forward to now, with a career in publishing, marketing and communication design, art and creativity has certainly played a major role in all of that. But it wasn’t until relatively recently, in 2019, that I started to draw and create art in earnest. But when I did, it changed everything, and I’m now a few hundred drawings into this grand adventure. I had never dreamed of producing my own visual art, much less actively showing and selling it, but that’s the thing about dreams — there’s always room for more!

Q. How did those dreams from your youth become the kind of art you make now?

A. I’ve always been interested in storytelling, and in that way my art today is very much a reflection of that. My genre or medium is primarily in the realm of digital art and printmaking. My freehand digital drawings and pigment ink prints explore a lot of different topics and themes. Generally drawn to clean lines and a minimalist aesthetic, my artworks seek to convey a thought, object, figure, situational experience or emotion in the simplest and most gracefully direct and balanced way possible — a visual haiku of sorts. Sometimes straightforward and realistic, other times trending to the more surreal or abstract. I want to give the viewer boldness and color and depth, but only enough information to inspire a sense of wonder or a spark of relatable introspection — and to open a door for the viewer to fall down their own little contemplative rabbit hole. The art must tell a story, but I want it to also be in dialogue with the viewer and open to some degree of flexible interpretation.

Q. What inspires your images?

A. My imagination has always run very deep and in a zillion directions. I am inspired by nature and the critters in it, space and the great unknown, modernist design, concepts of escapism and wanderlust, symbols and myths, imaginative “what-if” scenarios, slices of everyday life that most everyone can relate to, and the interconnectedness of all. While some of my works present easily discernible figures or objects in readily recognizable settings or scenarios, others aim to explore more complex, even seemingly random or puzzling visual pairings.



Aaron Bleidt:

‘Down the Rabbit Hole’

WHEN — Through July 31; hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday & 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday

WHERE — Oven & Tap in downtown Bentonville

COST — Free


Categories: Galleries