My Own Personal Truth
An Interview with David Aronson
by Glossolalia Black, hack journalist
It was a couple years ago that I encountered
David's work on his website, and true to my LiveJournal icon-
thief nature, I stole imagery from it to use as a LJ icon. About a year later while working at the MCTC
library, I found his zine in a pile to be catalogued and subsequently freaked out that anyone that good
would distribute his work in a format that I perceived to be firmly within the realm of "punter's paradise."
Again, true to my thieving nature, I took the thing home and pored over it, later giving it to another
LiveJournal denizen that had similar interest in his work. I didn't pay for it and neither did my friend, but
the imagery haunted me enough that I eventually grew the cojones necessary to correspond with him. Born
in Philadelphia 41 years ago, Aronson claims interest in the symbolic meanings of art, the events of the
artist's life, and the personal psychology of the artist from which said art emerges. He, along with
contemporaries such as Alex Grey and Joe Coleman, specializes in imagery of a spiritual nature. True to
the alchemical process, he has been able to transform personal pain into something beautiful.
GB: So, when did you make the zine/chapbook? What was on the disc inside?
DA: I got into the mail art/zine scene
in 1998 after my second divorce. At the time, I was very discouraged
artistically --my career was going nowhere-- and it was a real shot in the arm to have this forum for getting
my stuff out for others to see... to have an audience. I did three issues of the zine--1998, 1999 and 2000 I
believe. The disc had my sound collages on it.
GB: What was it like growing up?
DA: I had a rather unhappy childhood
because a.) my family was highly dysfunctional, and b.) at the
7, I moved from an all-black neighborhood and a private, Jewish, progressive, Montessori-style school to a
white, suburban, middle-class neighborhood and public school, and I never recovered from the culture
shock. My public school experience was particularly horrific.
GB: How did you get your start in doing your work?
DA: I come from a family of artists and
musicians and started drawing as soon as I could grip a tool to
make marks with. I always received a lot of encouragement.
GB: Married? Any kids? Family?
DA: I have been married and divorced
twice. I have a daughter and a son; one from each marriage. Both
are excellent artists.
GB: What is your favorite medium to work in? Your least favorite? The most versatile?
DA: I think I enjoy the combination of
ink line and digital media and collage best because it is so fast
flexible. It is not my favorite in terms of the look of the actual finished product--I prefer traditional media
in that sense. I love oil painting and rendering in graphite. I don't like charcoal and pastel--too messy and
GB: What was the most difficult piece you've worked on?
DA: I can't really say which ones were
difficult. I work best when I can bring my own personal vision
bear. I have a hard time completely following someone else's specifications. This is probably why I haven't
become a "successful" illustrator. My strategy now is to make my own vision so compelling, people will
want to pay me for it.
GB: What has been some of the reaction to your work?
DA: Interestingly enough (to me anyway)
it's been mostly positive. I used to be afraid to show it to
"normal" people for fear that they would be shocked and/or offended. But I am seeing more and more all
the time that all kinds of people respond positively to it. I have had a few negative responses over the years,
but they are few and far between. The most amazing responses I get are to my Holocaust series. People are
moved by it, sometimes to tears. Teachers and students use it in their studies of the Holocaust, from
elementary school to college levels. I've had people write poems and even compose a piece of music
around it. I frequently hear that my series depicts the true horror of the Holocaust on an emotional level
more than any other Holocaust art, which isn't hard to believe because most Holocaust art I've seen is
David Aronson's wonderful work can be
found on his website at http://www.alchemicalwedding.com.
Glossolalia Black still dwells in the Purgatory known as LiveJournal, under an assumed name.
Angel of Time and Death (Glossolalia Black)