Ex Libris: Denver Artists - Aaron Sutton (aka Visual Goodies)

If you have ever had Gumbo then you know it is different just about every time. The dish combines ingredients and culinary practices of several cultures, including African, French, Spanish, and Native American Choctaw. Gumbo could be based on traditional native dishes, or may be a derivation of the French dish bouillabaisse, but most likely, all of these dishes contributed to the original recipe. This would almost describe the absolute visual jazz that is the artistic works of one Aaron Sutton aka Visual Goodies.

Born in Oklahoma City he lived in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Kansas City before settling in Colorado, all of these geographical locations lended a different flavor to his art. His fascination and participation in street art began as a 15yr old practitioner of hip-hop culture in Kansas City with a crew he started called VISUALGOODIES. But once he reached the Mile High City his fascination with murals, paint and clay took the moniker and ran with it. He calls his work multicultural Afro Cosmic for Astro Americans.  Patterns, shapes, aboriginal/native cultures and futurism all add to his mix of imagery rhythm. If you have not seen one of his characters lurking in an alley around the city then you can catch some of his bigger works at the Street Wise Festival in Boulder and every year at the Black Love Mural Festival in Civic Center Park (where he designed the poster in past years). He has also been ramping up his clay work and currently has displays at both the Denver Art Society and ILA Gallery for viewing.

Aaron took a few moments between all his styles and the time he spends as a teacher of the arts to answer a few questions about another one of his passions…books.

Learn more and follow Aaron:
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Aaron Sutton on Art, Books, and Libraries

  1. What book as a kid, influenced your imagination to pick up a crayon and begin making art?

    Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak was one of many books that influenced me as a child.  Its original style and story was enthralling. Even as a kid, the art stood out to me as unique, which is something I have always strived for in my work.

  2. What book are you currently reading that influences you in either a creative way or a professional way?

    I typically read a few books at one time, so here is my current stack. Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman and African Art of the Dogon: The Myths of the Cliff Dwellers by Jean Laude. All three books influenced my otherworldly Afro cosmic magical fantasy works because all touch on the Mythohistoric reality of the Diaspora.

  3. What do you think is the most important resource that Libraries provide to you as an artist?

    Libraries provide a time machine, an ongoing capsule of information and wisdom that exists waiting for you to discover it. The internet has attempted to imitate the magic of the Library with some success. However, the book's journey, from hand-to-hand household, to cabin, read in someone’s backyard or on a hike gives it an energy of its own. There is a social element to reading that the Library helps us all tap into.

  4. What is your current/favorite/most-used branch of the Denver Public Library?

    There are so many cool branches in Denver but honestly, the new ArtPark Branch in RiNo looks great! I am glad it is in that community down there where there seemed to be a void. It looks vibrant and inclusive, that is important for a neighborhood going through so many changes. In addition, the fact that there is a NEW LIBRARY is awesome!  As some go further into the metaverse it’s great to see real spaces with real objects to learn from and discover.

  5. If you were offered a gigantic wall on the outside of a Library, what would your paint to display what a library means to you?

    WOW…yeah if I had the side of a Library to paint a giant mural I would definitely pick from the wide range of influences I’ve had through books and printed works. Vibrant colors and many characters interacting would be the focus for sure. It is interesting how much of what we work from and know is not printed at all. I have a serious library at home and I feel privileged to have so many books in my possession. My work being an amalgamation of the Diaspora had always drawn from the past to heal the present for a better future; I would do my best to interject that into a mural at the Library. Sankofa.

Ex Libris: Denver Artists is a series featuring local street artists, focusing on their connection to books and the importance of libraries to the artistic community. Series concept and interview by Sean Ryerson.

Written by angela on