Aaron Bleidt, the “artful outsider” of Northwest Arkansas, will showcase his newest installation titled “Artful Outsider: You Are Here” at Arsaga’s at the Depot in Fayetteville throughout the month of February. The opening reception took place from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 6, kicking off the artist’s first take on modern creativity. His self-proclaimed “artful outsider” title stems from the fact that he has never had formal artistic training, but when admiring his work, you would never have a clue.
Bleidt has described his inaugural show as “oft-random” and “totally bizarre.” After developing compositional work on his tablet, Bleidt said the ideas began to pour out and, “rabbit holes of unbridled imagination presented themselves,” through freehand digital drawing and printmaking. The exhibit is made up of works he created along this recent “outsider” journey, one personal and imaginative in nature.
“While some of my work can be very intentional and detailed, an equal amount, if not more, could be best summed up as ‘stream of consciousness,’” he continued, “The freehand digital medium allows me to have many different works going at any one time, and in sustainable fashion.”
Whether his work be a subtle political message, social acknowledgement, plain old fun or an inspirational quote for your daily visual affirmation, Bleidt consistently evokes a sense of honesty and genuity with every piece. His colorful prints are arbitrary statements of a humorous sort, depicting everyday objects, people, animals, landscapes or geometric patterns in a reimagined light. Often in a minimalist approach, Bledit’s collection takes on a mystical, but not too obvious style.
As for what really inspires his work, Bleidt said, “I’m inspired by nature and the critters in it. Space and the great unknown. Good design with clean modernist tendencies, especially interiors and utilitarian objects, particularly the aesthetics of midcentury design. And slices of everyday life and experiences that people may initially take for granted, but that actually have great meaning and are infinitely relatable.”
Although this is his first exhibit, Bleidt has been in artistic territory for years. He serves as Principal and CEO of Vantage Point Communications in Fayetteville, a company specializing in marketing and branding, along with creative assistance and custom publishing for clients. Prior to this, he founded Fayetteville’s longest running lifestyle magazine, Citiscapes, and acted as executive editor for nine years. It’s safe to say Bleidt has always had a knack for originality– as “artful outsiders” often do.
“I usually want to give the viewer boldness and color and depth, but only enough information to convey a meaning and elicit a reaction followed by a moment of instantaneous, relatable introspection, and maybe a little laugh. I am at my core an eternal optimist and a believer in the goodness of humanity. If I can achieve one thing with my work, it is that it brings a smile or laugh to those who view it,” he said.
Check out Bleidt’s work on Instagram at @artfuloutsider or www.artfuloutsider.com. Studio prints are available for purchase on-site or through Instagram direct messaging.