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Art By Thomas Aitken


Tj does sculpture in many veins and writes about art. 

These pages are the artist's statement.

 

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Art By Thomas Aitken


Tj does sculpture in many veins and writes about art. 

These pages are the artist's statement.

 

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Commissioned Art


Public artworks by Tj

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Commissioned Art


Public artworks by Tj

Here are a few pieces that have been done for cities. 

    I've worked with these towns to get them something that conveyed what they wanted to say and to maximize what their budget could do.  I am currently on the approved artist list for the City of Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan, and have several proposals pending.  I can share concepts with you that I have put together for them and other communities.

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Installation Art


Concept works for the public to ponder

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Installation Art


Concept works for the public to ponder

Many times I have designed and created installations for  public venues. These were all accessible by the public and designed for the site.  They have ranged from a month to 2 years in time and have been designed from various themes that I have worked with.  Concepts are usually represented in mild abstraction using all types of materials and often found objects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Venues have included:           The Gerald Ford Presidential Museum, The Grand Rapids Public Museum, University of Toledo, Miami County Capital in Troy Ohio, The Holland Arts Council, Forrest Hills Arts Center, Ella Sharp Art Museum, The Tecumseh Carnegie Library, and several private venues have had works installed at there locations.

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3D Sculpture of Permanence


Sculpture for out doors

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3D Sculpture of Permanence


Sculpture for out doors

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This Collection of pieces reside out doors in many locations.  Most are my own formula of cast stone composites designed for permanent out door installation. 

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Some of these also have moved several times and were designed to do this. I have been researching materials for elaborate forms for many years and am surprised by how little is done with these types of materials.

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Slighlty off the wall


Relief sculpture indoor or out

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Slighlty off the wall


Relief sculpture indoor or out

Relief sculpture is such a pleasure to do.  Picture is executed in form rather than graphic line or paint on a surface.  The challenges of composition go in new directions with cast stone materials which allow fantastic colors, exposed aggregates, inclusions and a myriad of finishes. 

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I’ve enjoyed realism in years past, and now often move toward abstractions and even concept based themes.  The OverHeads have been an ongoing art concept that wraps three narratives of mine into a continuous body of work; 

1. modern psychological conditions, 2. found auto components and remnants   3. Ancient world wide tradition of tribal masks.

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Books on Sculptural Art


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Books on Sculptural Art


Ever struggle to describe an art work? Ever read a description of art and wonder what drugs the writer was on?  Could you use some clear definitions of terms used in the art world? I put together "Art Savvy" from years of presentations helping people see the elements of art works in a clear way. It will help anyone grasp art and design completely, and even includes graphic dissection of “concept art” which can be so mysterious.  Get it Here!  (also available at Amazon.com)

 

 

   

 

 

 

The “Big Sculpture” series was a direct result of my habit of documenting with notes and photographs when I do research on new process in the studio. If you want to use all the techniques created by professional design studios and see low cost ways to construct great sculpture this series is for you.  They are done by illustrating step by step the techniques employed with methods and tool descriptions pictured. Get it here! (also available on Amazon.com)

 

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About Tj Aitken


Who is TJ. Aitken?  Background and information

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About Tj Aitken


Who is TJ. Aitken?  Background and information

History Bio

 

Hello, I'm T. J. (Tom) Aitken, Sculptor, Designer, and Professional Creative. 
I've been sculpting since I was a kid. I have had the pleasure of modeling show cars in Detroit and managing groups of sculptors. I also do consulting and workshops on subjects like; Supercharging Thought Process, Thinking 3D, Analysis of Form, and Craftsmanship. People ask: "How do you get a job like that?" This is my professional bio. I also include my personal side because this is key to understanding my passions, and capabilities. 
Currently:  I write books, do sculpture, and sometimes consult on Aesthetics for industry for companies like Caterpillar, Newell Rubbermaid,& Tata Motors.. I use automobiles and other forms in outdoor sculpture works, as well as portraiture and multi-media constructions. I've been a university lecturer at international schools. My wife Sarah and I run Novus Resource studio in Michigan. We are committed Christians and work with international teams on logistics, planning and creative process.

2005 to now -Sculpting and showing pieces, developing stone-coating and other custom techniques in the studio as seen in the books (Scaling Up: Big Sculpture for Little) in 2011.

04 to 05 Creativity for Industry
I worked as an industrial design director for Johnson Controls, a $30 billion, fortune 300 company primarily in automotive. There I studied the emerging field of creativity management and assessment. I worked with some of the nations top creative people. In May, 05, I spoke at the "Front end of innovation" conference in Boston about my process, and I always was sculpting. I began working with faith based start ups in Texas, Michigan and Indonesia on applied creativity during this time creating tools for boosting creativity in the creator's church.

2000-03 Craftsmanship systems development       Prior to the creativity assignment I developed the craftsmanship analysis system for Johnson Controls Inc, which has been patented and imitated by other major manufacturers in appliances and automobiles. This provided the entire company with clear definitions of terms for aesthetics, a measurement system, and an "up front" control process. A key to this success was the creation of interactive teaching tools that I used to train some 4000 engineers. I traveled to Europe, Japan, Korea, and China with these workshops. I published papers on analysis with the University of Michigan's engineering department. The sculpture meadow near my home began in this period, with the car installations, and I began to experiment with color formulas for cement casting of sculptural objects. The themes of portraiture and auto influences on society merged into larger works.

 

Late 90s - Europe - Studio building, and lectures 
I worked as a design manager and developed workshops on "Analysis of Form" for design groups. In 1998 the family moved to Europe. There I was part of a team developing a new design studio that worked with BMW, Audi, Fiat, and many European car- makers. I recruited, set up facilities, and methodologies for studio operations. I received patents on product designs. My wife, Sarah and I saw and studied the major art collections throughout Europe. Our teenagers finished their final years of high school there. I was a lecturer and consultant to the University of Hertfordshire School of Art and Design and worked with teams from the Instituto Eurpeo Design in Milan.

Early 90s - Computers for Sculptors
My task at JCI prior to Europe was to manage the transition from clay design models into computer aided industrial design. This required educational strategies, recruiting, tech assessment and purchasing. The former Prince Corporation design group grew from 25 people to nearly 200 worldwide during this period.
Sarah developed concepts for home schooling that she used with our children. She created a method for individualized student assessment and custom curriculum development that she then applied with many families. Together we created Novus Resource Inc. to run the school and the art studio. Students graduated from the school with high school diplomas. We worked together on the concept of Zero Based Learning. I was on the Board of Directors for the Association of Professional Model Makers, and curated the local Congressional Arts Competition.

80s
87, 88, 89, I worked in a variety of Detroit shops as a contract Design Sculptor doing show cars and intricate wind tunnel models. The Prince Company moved us to West Michigan in 89. We had established Contemporary Studios in Colorado 1980. This company marketed my work and did development and reproduction for other artists and artisans, including pewter miniatures, bronze museum replicas, character dolls, toy and kit development and manufacture. I was elected Mayor of our small town in 84, and attracted development funds, obtained grants and saw many community improvements. Our children were born in the Rockies. Here we also developed spiritually and began working with churches and home school concepts. In 1987 the family came back to Michigan. 

70s
I was a craftsman working in Detroit in die models, boats, displays and experimental plastics. I learned precision 3D techniques and development methods for all kinds of objects. Always a political activist, I worked my way through school with two internships for the Detroit city council and jobs at the university sculpture studio, where I cast bronzes, and did some video documentary. I met and married Sarah at University and then graduated with a BFA cum laude in Sculpture from Eastern Michigan University in 1977. We moved to Colorado where we ran a production jewelry casting operation, I tooled a fiberglass kit car, and I was contracted to build an art bronze foundry. 

All in all it has been a blessed journey. I'd like your project to become part of the story too.
Thanks,
Tj

OverHeads, as they appeared in the beginning, hanging in the studio and haunting the mind of the artist.