Tag Archives: Aric Jorn

Jivotica goes a-viking: 2015 Spring Art Show Announcements

Many people don’t know that the word “viking” started out as a verb. Scandinavians looking to explore, trade, raid or otherwise seek their fortune abroad would “go a-viking.” While I have no intention of raiding anywhere, I am going a-viking in the trade sense. Perhaps I should explain…

Having returned from a short but necessary hiatus to build up inventory and develop several new sculptures, I have much news to share. I will spread that news out over the coming weeks and months but today, I am announcing my official Spring Art Show Schedule – all the places I will be setting up shop between now and the Summer Solstice. I am extremely excited to be participating in these shows and hope to see many of you there (logos are linked to the show sites for additional information.)

BAF logo only
MAY 9 & 10
My first show of the season will be the 34th Annual Art Birmingham. Originally known as the Birmingham Fine Art Festival, it takes place in the streets surrounding Shain Park, in downtown Birmingham, Michigan. This highly respected event will showcase 160 juried artists. You will find me in BOOTH #90.


East Lansing Art Festival Logo
May 16 & 17
My second show is the East Lansing Art Festival, a two-day celebration of art and culture established in 1964. The juried festival is ranked 54th on Sunshine Artist Magazine’s Top 100 Best Fine Art and Design Shows in the country. The event includes live music and performances on two stages and attracts over 70,000 patrons. **You can find me at the North end of the festival in BOOTH #167 (near the art demos area)


Art on the Grand Logo
June 6 & 7
My third show for Spring is Art on the Grand, a juried fine arts show located downtown in the charming, historic city of Farmington, MI. Now in its sixth year, Art on the Grand features 100 fine artists from around the country. **You can find me at the North end of the fair around Grand River and Warner street in BOOTH #60.

I’ll be participating in many other events throughout the year and I’ll post summer/fall shows as the various juries make their announcements. Until then, I hope you will catch up with me at one of these fine spring shows.

Yours in the Arts,
~Aric Jorn

Jivotica in Autumn

It is nearly impossible for me to believe that fall is officially upon us. Like most of the summer, August and September have been a whirlwind – art shows, filling online orders (I must confess the shear number of which took me by surprise), working at The Henry Ford and preparing to direct my fall theater programs dominated my time and obliged me to put several projects on hold. It was great fun but I am happy to return my focus to sculpting.

That said, there are a few dates that I would like to share with you all…

I have confirmed two more Sundays at the Ann Arbor Artisan Market – September  28 (11am – 7pm) and October 19 (11am – 4pm).

I’ve also been informed that the interview PBS conducted with me in July for Detroit Performs will be broken up into two episodes. I had pitched them on the idea of dedicating an entire 4-segment episode to the Liberty Crafts Works at The Henry Ford and they decided to do just that. So, the portion of my interview that took place at the pottery shop will now be included in the Liberty Crafts Work episode of Detroit Performs that is scheduled to air on October 14 at 7:30pm. The bulk of my interview (shot in my studio) will be a separate segment airing sometime in November.

Many announcements coming soon. Thank you as always for your interest in my work.
~Aric Jorn

The Dark Side of Art

Autumn is one of my favorite times of year and Halloween, one of my favorite holidays. I attend parties and exhibitions throughout October and at month’s end, I host a party for friends and fellow artists. It is a time for stretching the imagination and trying new techniques without concern for results; a time for throwing off whatever chains I have accumulated over the year and diving into projects for the shear, raw joy of it. I make costumes and props ranging from ghostly monkeys to carved sarcophagus lids. The only requirement I make of myself is that I try something new – a new medium, a new technique – that takes me out of my comfort zone.

halloween projects

This year, the first event on my docket was Theatre Bizarre at the Masonic Temple in Detroit. It is one of the best parties of its kind. It is true as some say, that the event is extremely crowded and guests are not always certain where to go since performances are happening at a dozen locations simultaneously and there is little to guide attendees to the shows in which they may be most interested.


Once you are in and have accepted the general chaos however, it is a magical place and if you give up trying to control your course and choose instead to simply wander from experience to experience, you will find yourself in interesting places. Burlesque dancers, fire acts, bands, sideshow performers and rooms better experienced than described (like the ghost train and fistotorium) – all exist to tantalize the senses and celebrate the darker side of our imaginations. And then there are the costumes … as an artist, the endless parade of costumes is alone worth the cost of admission and I often found my fellow guests as entertaining as the acts on the stages. I made myself a “dark circus master” personae for this year’s event and had an absolute blast.

Aric-dark circus master copy

The second event I attended was Damned VI: An Exhibition of Enlightened Darkness (also in Detroit). It was a small affair and it barely took me an hour to work my way around its main hall and absorb all the art on display. I was  disappointed at its limited scope but there was some very interesting artwork to be seen along with a couple performers that made the night worthwhile. The one stand out for me was Satori Circus, a thoroughly engaging clown/mime whose silent performances captivated the crowd.


Halloween is among other things about letting your imagination out to play without constraint. To those who have outgrown Halloween or lost their fear of things that go bump in the night, I remind you of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote, “Where there is no imagination, there is no horror.”

All in all a satisfying Halloween season and a much needed unraveling of self-imposed constraints and the ghostly specters of imagined limits.

~Aric Jorn

Inspiration From Without

My annual midsummer hiatus now passed, I have returned to my studio with fresh ideas and renewed ambition. So today I offer my first Artistic Journey post, a category wherein I share my creative life and that of other artists I have met along the way, as well as stories I hope you will find inspirational on your own creative journey.

As the eldest son of two artists who met while attending Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, I am no stranger to art shows. My mother, Helen Liljegren, showed as a fiber artist at a variety of juried art fairs throughout my childhood – Ann Arbor and Birmingham in Michigan; LakeFront in Wisconsin; and Oakbrook in Illinois are the ones that most stick in my memory but there were many others.

When not helping to watch her booth, I was allowed to venture down the rows of bleach white tents, meeting the neighboring artists who would do their best to entertain a young boy who wasn’t very fond of sitting still for any length of time. I loved the whole atmosphere of those shows – the smell of the food (mostly fried), the steady stream of people coming in to admire my mother’s work, and the seemingly endless variety of art I found all around me.

One of the people I was most drawn to was a ceramic artist named Todd Warner, who created comical hand-built animals with buggy eyes, spindly legs and big feet.


Another favorite stop was the booth of Madeline Kaczmarczyk and Jerry Berta who made whimsical pottery and ceramic car-related sculptures respectively.


I also remember a metal artist named Dempsey Calhoun – for his artwork, yes, but also for his habit of hunting flies that made the fatal mistake of entering his booth. Like some miniature big game hunter on safari, he would shoot them with giant rubber bands from across his booth to both applause and odd looks from passersby. I’m not sure whether this helped or hurt his sales but it certainly made an impression.


I remember being very inspired by these early encounters – especially the sculptors. I made a number of clay dinosaurs back then that sadly, like the things they represented, have since been lost to time. My love of three-dimensional art took root during those years and when I sat down to write this post, I was delighted to discover all these artists are still thriving nearly thirty years later.

I share this story because I have come to recognize the importance of recharging my creative batteries by looking outside my own work. I find time spent looking at what others have done – especially (and perhaps ironically) work that is in no way connected to my own – is worth twice the number of hours spent sitting alone attempting to force inspiration out of the void. It is for this reason I devoted an entire weekend to the Ann Arbor Art Fair shortly after my last post in mid-July. A great deal had changed since I was there as a child, and a lot had remained the same.

As a general rule, I deem a show “good” if one out of ten booths earn more than a casual glance and one out of 100 stop me in my tracks and make me want to reach for my wallet. The A2 fair (which actually consists of four shows all connected into one long winding path I would guess to be about two miles in total length) is such a place and I recommend it for its size, variety and quality not to mention its scenic beauty being nestled in and around the beautiful U of M campus.

There are things I found to be lacking or at least underrepresented. There were no fiber artists to speak of – at least not of the decorative, wall-hanging variety like my mother used to make. There were a couple of ceramic artists making hand-built animals and figures (including Alan Paulson who I came to know from my days at the Michigan Renaissance Festival) but there seemed to be room for far more to help break up the monotony of jewelers, potters and painters.

On balance it remains a wonderfully rewarding experience and just what I needed – an artistic environment that recharged my batteries, opening my mind to new techniques and making me hungry for time in my own studio.

~Aric Jorn

Sweet Sculptures

I am always looking for exciting new ways to explore my passion for sculpting and have decided to make one such undertaking the focus of my first Project Post.


In early 2012 together with several fellow creatives in SE Michigan, I co-founded Sweet Steam, a purveyor of fine steampunk-themed chocolates. Enthusiastically received at steampunk events in Michigan and Wisconsin, it proved an instant hit with steampunk convention attendees.

Chief among my contributions to the venture was the task of sculpting the products. This included a tri-chocolate (dark, milk and white) cameo of Nikola Tesla. I found this to be particularly rewarding having never attempted a relief on such a diminutive scale and it presented an interesting challenge to create something that could be poured in three layers with a material that is notoriously unforgiving.

Steampunk chocolates

When creating the master, I sculpted the base in polymer clay (Sculpey III), then used Green Stuff sculpting putty for the portrait.

Although I moved on from Sweet Steam shortly after its launch, I continue to take private sculpting commissions for custom chocolates through Jivotica and each project has proven more fun than the next.

An example is this set of three cameos I created for a production of Dracula in October 2012 as a fundraiser for a local theater company. Here too, the chocolates proved a huge hit and they sold out at every performance.

Dracula Cameo TRIO

As a point of interest: Although I generally prefer to work in either a neutral color (better to see the sculptural details) or a color that closely represents the color of the final casting, I found myself sculpting the background of the Dracula chocolates in an ivory color. This is because, even though the teeth would ultimately be cast in dark chocolate, making them look like real teeth while I sculpted helped me conceptualize them.

This venture into sculpting chocolate cameos offered me the opportunity to learn many new skills from chocolatiering (an art onto itself) to miniature relief portraiture. If you’ve never made sculpture you can eat, I highly recommend the experience.

~Aric Jorn