Of the many art forms in which he works, Aerick Burton – Aerick B to his fans – is best known for his work with origami.
That’s the ancient art of folding paper into shapes. Aerick B has expanded on that with what he calls “digigami” and “taxigami.”
“I, like a bunch of other kids, received an origami kit somewhere in middle school and never really touched it,” he says. “It just sat on the shelf collecting dust as I played video games and watched TV. But then, when I got to high school, I started having a little trouble sleeping. I would stay up really late. There was this 24-hour coffee shop downtown, Fourth Coast. I would go upstairs because it was really quiet up there. I would have the book with me, and I would just sit up there and fold.”
And fold. And fold.
Aerick B became intrigued with origami. “And I fell in love with it,” he says. “I fell in love with the peace it provided me. The elegance and the simplicity of it.”
Because of his ongoing interest also in computers and video games, he added photography, and with that, digital manipulation of images. Combining that with origami, he came to call this new form digigami.
“I take picture of the origami I’ve folded and then kind of digitally put them into either photographs that I’ve made or into digital backgrounds,” Aerick B says.
Another offshoot, taxigami, combines something like taxidermy with origami. Not so much by using animals, but other biological elements, like moss. Aerick B's first use of this was when he created a submission to ArtPrize, the international art contest held biannually in Grand Rapids. It was a large bonsai tree filled with pink origami blossoms. The tree trunk set in a base of preserved moss.
Another aspect of Aerick B’s art is his expression of social activism.
“It’s kind of been in all my art a little more subtly,” he says. “But the past few years have brought it to the forefront, just to be a little more poignant about it. It’s important to bring the activism aspect to people in different ways. I try to keep my art light and happy and colorful, but there are aspects of the world I don’t agree with. I feel like I can shine some light on that (and) help people think about these things without giving them the actual thing to think.”
Aerick B designed logos for tee-shirts for the Black Lives Matter movement. He's currently working on a new submission for ArtPrize 2021.
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