Even at his day job as an engineer for the City of Santa Cruz, artist Aaron Becker finds creative inspiration in his natural surroundings and brings that creative light to his work and play. We caught up with Aaron and asked him about his background and evolution as an artist. You can check out his photographs at Stripe MEN during the month of February and at our First Friday art reception on February 6th from 5-9pm.

Where do you go in Santa Cruz to be inspired?

To put it simply, I go outside. I live on a boat down at the Santa Cruz harbor where I am surrounded by natural beauty and the splendor of the seaside environment. I love going down to the beaches along the coast to shoot photos or create a sculpture out of driftwood and other found objects or hiking around in the Santa Cruz Mountains and photographing the light through the trees or a decrepit old building. I am also a pilot and discover a lot of things from the air that I then go and check out on the ground.

What was the first piece of art you ever created?

In kindergarten, I did a large 4’x 4’ multi-color painting of a stick figure man wearing a top hat and holding a bouquet of flowers. It won a prize and my teacher framed it. I remember observing the impact and reaction from others to the painting and that made a big impression on me. It was at that point that I realized I can create things from my imagination or interpretation of how I see the world and that can generate a response and feeling in other people.

How has your artistic style changed since then?

I guess it has and it hasn’t. While I’m not painting stick figures anymore, I still have that same creative spark that hasn’t been extinguished and shows up everywhere in my life. I’ve always been very visual and tactile and love capturing subtleties in light, texture, lines, and shapes. My artistic expression covers a wide range of mediums. I have done hand painted furniture, painting, sculpture, graphic design and more recently photography. Having a camera on my phone always at the ready makes it super convenient to capture things that strike me in the moment.