a_ronious is the artistic persona of aaron wetjen-barry, a Boston-based abstract artist and passionate supporter of the independent music scene.
this site exists not only to showcase my art but also to shine a light on the wide variety of music and culture that is integral to inspiring my abstractions. music has been a guiding light throughout my life; absorbing, collecting and repping it to anyone who would listen has always been a driving force for me. why so? the bulk of what i love is underground, independent, marginalized, ignored or at least underappreciated, though not all of it; more simply put, i just want to rep what i love because it fuels my art and spreads creative motivation throughout many aspects of my life.
i worked for UndergroundHipHop.com for the last 11 years, managing the storefront and working on the online retail side of things. now i'm out on my own and aim to use this website not only to gain further exposure for my art but also to curate a diverse span of music, art and culture to help spread that energy to like-minded individuals who might also enjoy it.
i've always been most attracted to the weirder side of things; art, music and literature that defies genre, bending or breaking rules and conventions, offering something new and of a different quality to the conversation. all too often the more normalized, easier-digestible watered-down versions of said texts achieve the larger scale financial success, but if i can use my minute influence in this world for anything i would love for it to bring attention to those artists who resonate with me the most.
so where am i coming from? you could say i'm the youngest of the Gen-Xers or the oldest of the Millennials; i was born in 1983 and dug deep into music at a young age. Kurt Cobain was my first god, his death affected me like John Lennon's probably did my parents, but 9.11 happened during my first week of freshman year of college, hence my reasoning on feeling somewhere in between those generations. i grew up on punk and alternative rock as a kid, and converted over to the church of hip hop in junior high school. back then it largely felt like you had to be one thing or another - punk or hip hop, Jnco's or Kani's. however i never wanted to limit myself like that and as i got older i became enamored with a vast spectrum of musical styles that sound widely different from one another but i think embody similar spirits. times have changed and genre-barriers thankfully crumble more each day yet still, people subconsciously confine themselves into unnecessary subdivisions. let's break down the walls!
so with this site we will celebrate a dope & diverse variety of music and many other forms of culture that light my fire and i just have to tell you about. there's going to be a ton of my abstract art posted because i'm hella prolific and have always been shy on promoting it, besides for on my instagram. i need to clear some of these piles of paintings out of this apartment so i can make room for newness! eventually i'll get a store set up on here for prints, t-shirts and who knows what else - however i'm new to this whole website thing so bear with me!
also: _ronitapes! i've been making cassette tape mixes for most of my life (yes, actual mixtape cassettes) but as i became an obsessive vinyl appreciator and buyer many years back, i got way deeper into making these mixes sound fresh. there are currently over 50, 90-minute mixtapes i've made in the past few years uploaded to my SoundCloud page - linked below. all vinyl, recorded onto tape and then digitized & uploaded to online, haha. i have a #vinylfetish and mostly play LPs from front to back while i make art & add tracks to these _ronitapes which i'm always making, because it's fun for me and i want to share all this dope music with you! there is always a blank tape in my deck getting added onto. if you're into vinyl & cassette culture, you will hopefully dig this site. peep the #collecsch on my insta for hundreds of recommendations already posted, but with this blog format i'll be able to expound much futher, so stay tuned.
In art I find a pure creative freedom, devoid of rules, which serves as a vital oasis to the many domineering structures found in modern life. Growing up I always experimented with the arts in various forms- acting, drawing, playing instruments and more, eventually moving to Boston in 2001 to go to Emerson College for writing. While there, for an art history project I painted songs by emcee Bigg Jus in the style of Jean-Michel Basquiat to highlight similarities and connections between art and music. It began my shift from writer to visual artist. A passionate, vinyl-stacking fan of music, I worked at UndergroundHipHop.com in the city for over a decade, which is where I began using graffiti inks & paints, becoming my dominant medium. Music is deeply linked to the creation of my art – records constantly spin while I paint, on primarily hard surfaces like clayboard, gessoboard, glass & plastic picture frames or metal signs. I love creating abstract galaxies or psychedelic realms that the viewer can get lost in, interpreting as they will and observing things I may never have seen or intended. In 2016 I displayed over thirty pieces at the Raw Artists Present Trend show & the Art100Boston show at the Piano Craft Gallery plus did a series of ten one-of-a-kind painted album covers for an auction-only vinyl release 'Forgotten Forever' by one of my favorite musicians, Ceschi Ramos. I have a large amount of work stockpiled & ready go, please reach out if you're interested in showing any, especially in the Boston area!
For visual art, I've been most inspired by the work of Basquiat, Dali & Pollack on my own style. I have lots of love for the work being done in contemporary times and prior, but my main inspiration comes from music, which is a huge focus of my life and is always playing while I paint. Some of my creative pillars are Doseone, Kim Gordon, Bigg Jus, Ceschi, Divine Styler, Jon Spencer, Ian Svenonius, Kathleen Hanna, Serengeti, Why?, Company Flow & the indie rap era, punk from proto to post and so much more. From Dark Time Sunshine to Betty Davis to TAD to Crimekillz to Iggy Pop to Tricky to Sleater-Kinney to Danny Brown to Les Savy Fav to Shannon & the Clams to Zackey Force Funk, music fuels my art always. The written words of Philip K. Dick, David Icke, William S. Burroughs & Rupert Thomson all especially add to the philosophical foundation of my art. The empire never ended, the owls are not what they seem, infinite love is the only truth and everything else is illusion... As above, so below.