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Work Samples

David with triptych

painted steel each panel approx. 8'6" x 5'2" x 1"

Yellow Creatures Detail.jpg

detail "Yellow Creatures" triptych, painted steel, each panel is 8'6"h x 5'6"w x 1"d

Greetings

at the Contract Design Center, San Francisco

TAK + DAF + Chameleon.jpg

Trisha and David with our Chameleon at Baltimore Clayworks summer 2018

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About David Aaron

Baltimore County

David Aaron Friedheim's picture
David Friedheim's mother was a painter and his father was a classical musician. He received his BA from the State University of New York at Binghamton and his MFA from the Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore, MD. He has exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States. He has built artwork on commission for private and public clients including such firms as Bill Graham Presents and Sculpture for New Orleans. In 1999 he was a founding member of The Crucible, a school... more

Steel Drawings

Collage and drawing have been the basics of my sculpture for three decades. Currently drawing has come to play a dominant role. Even after several years this body of work still feels quite new. At first these pieces were made on my work table. Latter they moved to my shop floor which allowed me to increase their scale.

The images are often drawn from my sketchbooks, some of which are almost thirty years old. When I go to a museum, a library or travel I like to have a sketchbook with me. In this way these steel drawings are not new. They are a return to old interests but approached in a new manner.

I am intrigued by grotesque imagery and it's use in the decorative arts. Many of my images originate in wooden furniture, ceramic plates, illuminated manuscripts and various forms of wall coverings. I believe that creativity is often found in nooks and corners.

I like building something large out of an accumulation of smaller parts. The smaller steel drawings are made individually. They are then arranged in various combinations to fit an available surface or to create narratives.

Pink Rabbits - Grendel's Mother

The "Pink Rabbit" sculpture is a collaborative piece built with fellow artist Trisha Kyner. We have made four "Pink Rabbit" sculptures thus far. Two are in a private collections, one in Colorado and one in Florida. Two are in public, one in New Orleans and one at the Columbia Mall here in Maryland.

It all started in the fall of 2009. The Galumpha Dance Troupe asked Trisha and me to build some sculptures as a stage set for a week long run in January of 2010 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. We built three framework steel sculptures for this: a duck, a chameleon and a rabbit. These pieces were large enough for the dancers to climb on and were mounted on wheels so that they could be pulled around on stage. After the Kennedy Center performances we continued to work on these pieces. The rabbit was partially skinned with perforated sheet metal and powder coated pink.

In the spring of 2010 this "Pink Rabbit" sculpture was shown in the "Child's Play" exhibition at the Community College of Baltimore County Art Gallery. That summer it was included in Baltimore's "ArtScape" festival. Over the winter of 2011 it was shown at the Long Beach Center for the Arts in Long Beach, NJ. In 2012 it was placed in front of the Elkridge library for a year as part of Howard County's annual "ARTsites" exhibition. In 2013 it was placed in downtown Carbondale, CO for a year as part of their annual "Art Around Town" exhibition. This sculpture is now privately owned in Carbondale. Trisha and I built three more pink rabbit sculptures on request during 2013 and 2014. One of these rabbits was displayed for two years by the Superdome in New Orleans as part of the NOLA sculpture project.

Mt. Washington Elementary

Once upon a time the Mt. Washington Elementary School had an old playground with condemned equipment. Thanks to an energetic Parent Teacher Organization this area was converted into an Outdoor Classroom which includes amphitheater seating, a labyrinth, flower beds and a water fountain.

In early 2009 I was asked to propose a metal arch to sit on two large pillars at the entrance. Community artist Cynder Hypki had covered these pillars with ceramic mosaics including pieces made by the elementary school students that had been fired at Baltimore Clayworks.

Instead of a drawn proposal I made a steel model at approx. one third scale incorporating imagery from the students drawings with my own. After this met with approval I fabricated the sixteen foot wide arch which was installed by a communal barn raising in May of that year.

Life Size pieces

A selection of life size and larger pieces made over the past two decades.

Illuminated Creatures

I refer to these pieces as Illuminated Creatures because they remind me of European Medieval manuscripts. Fanciful animal forms are combined with words, in particular with names. For many years I have made these for private clients and as gifts.

During the 1990's the San Francisco firm Bill Graham Presents often commissioned them for bands playing at their various music venues. Some of the bands who were given these pieces include the Counting Crows, Ben Folds Five, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Foo Fighters, Third Eye Blind, the Dave Matthew's Band, and Blues Traveler.

Faces

The first time I made a face in this manner was in 1986. That was just as I finished my Master's Degree. Play was important in this work. Serious, creative play. For many years after selling faces in this style was a staple of my income.

In anticipation of leaving my California studio in 2004 I set myself the task of building a hundred such faces. Knowing that I was going to leave behind a large collection of steel objects I wanted to use up what I could. I fell shy of that goal, reaching only 82 before packing up that shop. Some of these pieces were shown unpainted at Mary Jo Gordon's Galerie Francoise in 2005. In the years since some found themselves attached to whole bodies, some were cannibalized into new faces but most were painted and sold. I still make them from time to time. It's a good warm up exercise in the morning.

  • Face #8

    painted steel private collection, Binghamton, NYS
  • Face # 2

    A nice couple in Croton-on-Hudson, Conn. own this face.
  • Face #4

    This face lives in the UK
  • Face #19

    This face now lives in a home in Nyack, New York.
  • 16.jpg

    This face is in a collection in Binghamton, New York.
  • Face # 18

    This face feels a little African to me.
  • Face #13

    private collection, Berkeley, CA
  • Face # 21

    That was a perfectly good wrench.

Steel Sculpture

A selection of pieces from the late 1980's through the mid 1990's.

  • Greeting Earthling

    painted steel
  • Buns O Steel

    101" x 54" x 30", steel, 1996 private collection, New Haven, CT
  • Pin Head Devil

    painted steel, 1991, 48" x 31" x 32" private collection, Portola Valley, CA
  • Big Lollipop

    painted steel with moveable head 90" x 63" x 54" - 1993 private collection, Portola Valley, CA
  • Little Lollipop

    painted steel with moveable head 1993 private collection, San Francisco, CA
  • Pink Nude

    painted steel, private collection San Diego, CA
  • Chimara

    painted steel, 60" x 50" x84", 1998 private collection, CA
  • Wonder Cow

    painted steel, collection Reston Town Center, VA
  • Bow Wow

    painted steel, 1990 private collection CA
  • Lollapalooza tour head

    sometime in the mid 1990's

really big stuff

For a while it seemed as if I was building my own jungle gyms. The two largest ended up part of the Hermitage collection in Santa Barbara, CA.

Monster Arch - Grendel's Mother

In the summer of 2006 Trisha Kyner and I were asked to build an entrance for Baltimore's 10th annual International Festival. This free festival took place over two and a half days at the Poly-Western High School athletic fields in Baltimore City. Activities included an international soccer competition, live music, dancing and food. There was also a ceremony for swearing in of new United States citizens.

Our design drew on imagery from Indonesian temples, Italian Mannerist gardens and contemporary graffiti from Thailand. With the help of a great many volunteers from City Hall and the community we were able to fabricate this twenty-two foot tall and twenty-five foot wide sculpture in three weeks.

Over the winter of 2006 - 2007 the arch was damaged while in storage. In the spring of 2007 we renovated the arch and it was used again for the 11th International Festival that summer.

Grendel's Mother

I regularly work in collaboration with Trisha Kyner under the name of Grendel's Mother. This name was chosen out of sympathy with the female monster from the famous medieval tale Beowulf, who is never given a name of her own.

We met over a decade ago, as instructors at the Crucible, a school devoted to linking arts, industry and community in Berkeley, CA. Trisha taught ceramics while David taught welded sculpture. Our first collaborative project, The Big Red Dog, involved leading a group of our students and volunteers in the fabrication of large paper mache sculptures for a public arts festival. The success of this experience led us to form Grendel's Mother

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David Aaron's Curated Collection

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