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Aaron Burks was born and raised in Long Beach, California. In 1995 at the age of 17, he joined the U.S. Navy, reporting to his first ship in 1996. Over the next 15 years he served between the U.S. Navy and the Army National Guard, serving in two combat tours as an infantryman, and serving more than 8 years at sea on 3 ships as a Boatswain's Mate. Aaron served on two deployments to the Persian Gulf (known as "West-Pacs"), and various Western Pacific and Southeast Asia operations while forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan with the 7th Fleet. In 2011 he retired from the U.S. Army. Much of his inspiration is drawn from his time at sea as well as from maritime and military history. Aaron received his Bachelor's of Fine Arts from the University of Tennessee in 2015. He has shown work in various juried art exhibitions, including Coos Art Museum Annual Maritime Show, Northern California Art League 33rd Annual National Painting Show, and the National Veterans Creative Art Competition.
I am fascinated with the sea and with the ships and people that sail on it. In art, the sea has always harbored a romance that is difficult to deny. My artwork tells the story of adversity, survival, fortitude, accomplishment and pride earned by those who have dedicated their lives to sailing on the ocean. I draw my inspiration from my own experiences at sea, current naval events, and from our rich naval and maritime history.
I am deeply influenced by the masters of maritime art: the Flemish painters of the 17th Century. I strive to emulate their ability to create an image that walks a line between realism and expressiveness that compels the viewer to feel the emotion of the the image while still leaving enough imagination that it is a challenge to come look again. I enjoy exploring symbolism and allegory as well. While sometimes the symbolism or allegory may be lost on those who have not sailed the sea, it is still an invitation to the layman to use their own experiences to fill in the blanks, thus answering questions with their own imaginations.
Technology has made the world smaller, but to the sailor, it is still very much a large place. The Sea is still an enchanting and cruel mistress, full of adventure and danger. I hope to bring that to you, the Viewer through my art.
311 Hazel St
Gridley, CA 95948
2015 Bachelors of Fine Arts, Studio Arts
University of Tennessee
2015 Associates of Science
Jackson State Community College
Group and Juried Exhibitions, and Publications
2018, Bold Expressions, Northern California Arts Center, Carmichael, CA
2018, 33rd Annual Painting Show, Northern California Arts League, Redding, CA
2018, 25th Annual Maritime Exhibit, Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay, OR
2018, California State Fair Juried Art Exhibition
2018, 58th Annual Spring Show, Lodi Community Arts Center, Lodi, CA
2017, National Veterans Creative Art Competion, Department of Veterans Affairs
2012, 2013, 2015 Beanswitch Arts Journal
2014, 2015 League of Striving Artists Juried Exhibition, University of Tennessee,
2014, 2015 Artists of the 21st Century, West Tennessee Regional Arts Center,
2014 Impressions, Ice House Art Gallery,
2015 Yuba-Sutter College, Marysville, CA
2016 The Brick, Marysville, CA
2016 Yuba-Sutter Regional Arts Council Gallery, Marysville, CA
2018 Best of Show, 25th Annual National Painting Juried Show, North Valley Art League, Redding, CA.
2018 The Bold Award, Bold Expressions, Northern California Art Center, Carmichael, CA
2018 1st Place Painting, Drawing, Butte County Fair, Gridley, CA
2018 Award of Merit, California State Fair Juried Art Exhibition, Sacramento, CA
2017 2nd Place, Painting, National Veteran's Creative Arts Competition, Department of Veterans Affairs
2018 USS Gerald Ford Chart Drawing, USS Gerald Ford Officer's Wardroom
2017 Out of the Storm (USS Chancellorsville), Michael Tevoliero, Eagle River, AK
2016 Portrait of Sergeant Luna, U.S. Army, Kyle Luna, San Francisco, CA
2016 The Sentinels of the Republic (Mural), Butte County Veterans Memorial Building, Paradise, CA.
2016 George Washington, General of the Armies (Mural), Butte County Veterans Memorial Building, Gridley, CA
2016 Ex Libris, Mr. Richard Hyman, North Carolina.
2016 The First Shot, USS Paul F. Foster Association
2015 Shipwreck on the Beach, Ms. Krystyna Weircoich, Oakland, CA
2015 Privateer After a Prize, Mr. Ray Brown, Chicago, IL
2014 USS Bunker Hill in Sagami Wan, BM1(SW/AW) Dennis Winters, U.S. Navy,
2015-2016 Veterans Initiative in the Arts Project, a California Arts Council and Yuba Sutter Arts Council partnership resulting in a “Veterans Art Park” consisting of 7 murals along Highway 70 in Marysville, CA. As a participant, I designed and created 3 of the 7 murals.
2016-2018 War History Art Project, an ambitions project consisting of 12 murals on 4x8ft or 4x4ft panels depicting scenes from each of the 12 major conflicts our military has engaged in. These murals will be hung in the main hall of the Gridley Veteran's Memorial Building in Gridley, CA.