The single most important thing to understand about Aaron Loveitt’s work is that when you encounter a piece, whether it’s a railing or a public sculpture, it was designed and created for that specific space. When you see the edge, it is meant to slice the sky just as it’s doing now. When you run your fingertips along the curve, it is meant to frame the ground as you now notice it does. This is the beautiful intention of Loveitt. “I like weaving a theme into a space and creating something interactive, a sculpture that can only exist in that space at that time.”
His piece “Swell” at Big Rock Garden is a beautiful example of his site-specific, spare aesthetic. “Swell” served as Loveitt’s introduction to Bellingham, as he had just moved here from the east coast. “It was a way to show that I’m here, and this is what I like to do.” The sculpture is a memorial to a man who loved the ocean whose foundation commissioned it. The metal wave suggests the ocean but, as with everything Loveitt creates, there Vision and Site The work of Aaron Loveitt written By Frances Badgett are multiple layers occurring at once. “‘Swell’ is a waterscape, but the high mark for water after the oceans rise.” So it is a statement about climate change as well as a tribute to the foundation that funded it, as well as a lasting tribute to the marriage of forest and ocean here in Bellingham. A combination of abstract idea and concrete form is typical of Loveitt. But despite the layers of thoughts, ideas, and perspectives he tackles, his work is distilled and clean, with lines that are deceptively simple. He uses blacksmithing and molding with heat from a single, whole piece of metal, rather than assembling separate pieces. The effect is that of organic growth, of unity. “Taking a piece and sculpting with blacksmithing makes it possible for me to put my fingerprint into the piece.”
Lovett has also created sitespecific public sculptures in Portland and Bellingham. He created “Dial Transformation” for the former G.P. site in Bellingham. A temporary installation created for both photography and for the site, “Dial Transformation” is a series of circles spinning at different 30 NorthSoundLife.com LIFESTYLE In the Spotlight speeds. It is a kinetic light sculpture, and was captured in photography by Jason Byal. “We had no budget. The piece is totally about Bellingham. It marked a period of transition about our waterfront, our community as a whole, and where we’ve been in the past, and where we’re going.” Loveitt showed a version of “Dial” in Portland, but the meaning was slightly different. “It was at the convergence of highways, and it was about all that volume, speed, and passing energy. People pulled off the highway to see it.”
When the Whatcom Museum had their big conceptual show “Vanishing Ice” a few years ago, Loveitt was commissioned to create a piece in front of the Flatiron Building downtown. “I created a piece to scale of that building in a state of tectonic collapse and organic growth.” In other words, a building dismantled by tectonic shift, and yet growing in spite of the collapse. The piece was called “Shift.”
All of Loveitt’s work is commissioned, and his business model is slightly different from most artists. One section of his business is large, public sculpture. Because his work is site-specific, it’s difficult for him to duplicate his sculptures, which makes his work challenging for collectors. He has a segment of his business that is product-based —lamps, belt buckles, wall hooks —that function as traditional retail. The third segment is a kind of blend of the two —custom work for homes that is very sculptural in approach, but functional (handrails, gates, etc.).
His process is one of editing and refining —he designs and envisions a piece that is likely impossible. He then distills that vision into something painstakingly simple, but challenging on a practical, fabrication level. “Every piece I create is unique, so I learn in the process of creating it. I shape it into the essence of what it wants to be.” He describes the finished product as having honesty. And perhaps that is what communicates most clearly to the viewer —giant, honest, solid works that boldly and beautifully inhabit their spaces.