Join us Thursday, July 16 for AJF Live with Aaron Decker
Aaron Patrick Decker is a jewelry artist based in Michigan. The recipient of Mercedes Benz Emerging Artist Award 2015 and the MARZEE Graduate prize 2015. Aaron Decker is an artist based in the midwest, but having grown up all over the United States, he calls Alaska and Maine both home. Decker works in product development for Shinola Detroit while maintaining a thriving studio practice including new collections of jewelry, custom pieces, and regular exhibitions. A collection of enameled objects can be found at the Shinola Hotel ‘living room’, and a selection of jewelry can be seen at the Woodward Avenue store in downtown Detroit.
In 2012 Aaron was a recipient of The Windgate Fellowship, which allowed him to participate as an Artist-In-Residence in the Turnov International Jewelry Symposium, Turnov, Czech Republic, with the Association of Contemporary Portuguese Jewelers and with the Estonian Academy of Fine Arts. Additionally, Aaron Decker’s work has been shown in exhibitions in the USA, Netherlands, China, Germany and more.
Glass Cannon, an object dealing fatal blows yet incredibly susceptible to being destroyed. The visual speaks for itself. Growing up surrounded by soldiers on military bases impacted Aaron Deckers’ childhood, ‘I was exposed to the rituals, brotherhood, and objects of the ranks.’ He states’ A soldier is an identity, something to wear. An identity amounted from heterosexualized machismo, built on ego, pride, and fear – a club I knew I would never be a part of, but always wanted. I have a complex.’
Seduced by the colors and patterns of military badges, Decker makes use of enamel as ‘historic paint’ to render surfaces in glass on copper – dislodging enameling as a traditional techniques from rigid, technical parameters allowing childlike fancy to intervene in the process. Decker chooses enamel to touch on the sentimentality that this material carries in toys and objects from the first two world wars. By arranging stripes and bars of color on these ‘toy badge’ surfaces, playful shapes and squished gestures become memories of hot dogs, cars, planes and boats, the toys of a boy's childhood become screens to project the badges onto. Made from thin copper, hollow like a throwaway item. The pin backs on these play badges are hyperbolized, piercing the front like earrings piercing an ear, grasping onto the forms with balls of color, colored pearls, and metal earrings to their surface.
Toys that I played with when I was a kid
Toys that bring me back to my five-year-old self,
colorful striped shirts
Colorful pins on my father’s lapels,
violent is the man
Violent as he picked me up from the floor by my neck,
Kooky drawings in my notebook, alone listening to the radio,
Goofy and weird.
I drew flowers with shades of purple, red and blue.
Goofy things, objects calmed me,
Cartoonish blobs and adolescent angst
Cartoonish was the role he played,
Grey is what it means now
Grey and somber – no attention and no color,
Playful is finally chosen
Playful I am on my childhood bedroom floor,
Falling asleep from exhaustion of a move
A move from one coast of the country to the next
Military base to military base.
My beige carpet left imprints on my knees
Happy I am to settle
At least for a moment
A world of color, badges, toys.
Toys made from glass-made from now.
We’ll meet via Zoom—register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
New to Zoom? It’s free! See the instructions below.
Studio visits are a favorite event among AJF members. Who isn’t intrigued by peeking behind the curtain? As more of us are now settling into “shelter in place” mode, AJF would still like to continue its tradition of bringing you up-close and personal with visits to artists’ studios and the jewelry we love. We can do it together, virtually—and we’re opening it up to members and nonmembers alike!
In the coming months, in addition to the articles, interviews, features, and critical discourse you’ve come to rely on, we’ll try to engage with you in new and different ways virtually so we can stay connected and feed our collective passion for jewelry. Please watch the newsletter and social media for details of all upcoming virtual programming.
In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you: How are you doing? What’s on your mind? What topics would you like to talk about? Please use this form to share your thoughts, comments, and concerns. We’ll share your feedback and use it to help us plan how best to stay connected.
From all of us at AJF, please stay safe, stay careful, stay engaged, and stay tuned.
—Yvonne Montoya, executive director
Setting Up Zoom
If you’ve already set up your Zoom account, you’re ready to go! If not, here are three easy steps to start your virtual journey:
1. Go to this site: https://zoom.us
2. Click on “Sign up for Free” and follow the prompts.
3. Either before or on the day of the meeting: Register in advance for this meeting (use the link above).
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Click on the link sent to you and Zoom will launch automatically. Set up early to give yourself time to test it out.