Art & Acceptance
written by Mary Walsh | photographed by Tim Sugden
When someone with creative talent expresses their dream of making a career out of their passion, they often receive a number of scoffs, eye rolls, and condescending “good luck” wishes. It takes a lot of talent and perseverance to succeed, and twenty-something Aiden Kringen has proven this quite abundantly. Originally from Sonoma County, California, Kringen was nurtured with an artistic upbringing. Exploring self-expression through his medium has rooted his work, teaching himself that it is okay to be everything that he is.
Learning about classics at a young age, he accredits Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimpt as some of his earliest influences. As he matured, his influences evolved too. He was inspired by street art like Banksy and Shepherd Fairy, and contemporary artists such as Jenny Seville and Andrew Salgado. Kringen describes his art as an expression of the feminine energy he believes we all possess. “I try to portray women in a different way to talk about the feminine and how, from a man’s perspective, growing up more feminine or passive is viewed as inferior, and is less respected [than] the macho guy,” he says. “I think that’s come through in the artwork a lot.” Knowing someone else has connected with his art and picked up on these nuances brings his original intention to fruition.
With intricate line work and a compelling subject matter, Kringen’s work leaves one in awe. He credits his three-year-old son Augustine and close friend Carla as inspiration and supportive critics. He indulges me on how he handles the ebb and flow of positive and negative criticisms. “I can be pretty hard on myself, so it’s helpful to have others look at it,” says Kringen. “When Carla looks at the work, she sees it for what it is.” Though supported as he is, the bitter side of the fine arts world has not been shy to show its teeth. “I can’t get better if I’m not paying attention to what anyone else is saying,” Kringen says. “I can’t expect that everyone will love it.” To have such a level head and a crisp, creative focus at a fairly young age is immensely inspiring, and something many only dream of.
Over the last year, Kringen has felt himself strengthen as an artist, as well as seen a shift in his work. He is moving toward more large-scale abstracts and the male form, as opposed to his previous focus on the female form. “I am starting to become increasingly interested in rendering the human form with realism, but then abstracting the other parts of the same form wildly within the same painting,” says Kringen. A person’s work and life are often reflections of each other. Perhaps this shift is a reflection of his somewhat nomadic lifestyle? “I think I may have to find somewhere to settle down for a while, let my son grow up and find some roots while he is still a child,” says Kringen. His work goes through phases as he moves from California, to Portland, and now to Arizona.
Much like learning self-acceptance, a work of art takes time. The pressure to complete a piece can impair one’s ability to even put brush to canvas. With such affection and dedication to his work, Kringen has eradicated the likelihood of many such situations. “Having to produce a certain number of pieces for shows helps me to get all of my ideas out so I can come with a clean slate every week and know that I’ve finished [something],” he says. Since his time showing at the Christopher Hill Gallery in Sonoma, Kringen has had his eye on the Portland scene. As he shifts into a new phase in Arizona, Portland can’t help but wonder if he was the artist that got away.
Since his time in Portland, Kringen is excitedly gearing up for four more shows at locations across the West coast. For details of his upcoming shows, to purchase his work, and subscribe to his email list, check out his website.