Aaron Zacharias 





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I began painting in 1993, just when I was on the cusp of turning 37.  Birds.  Not always birds but usually.  Why birds? people ask.  And why not local birds?  Well… I have replied… they have feathers.  They are beautifully coloured.  They come from eggs.  Some of them sing.  Most of them can fly.  Why birds?  I don’t know why I paint birds.  I almost never bother with the local ones either, simply because to me they’re not very interesting.  I have to have colour.  I have a colour fetish.  Our little brown jobs here in Canada just won’t cut it. 

I have had absolutely no luck, so far, in convincing the local art establishment that my paintings have value.  My colours are too bright.  Drab sells better, this being Canada.  Birds are not a sure bet.  Canadian art collectors prefer landscapes.  Drab landscapes.  And so many other excuses spoken and unspoken have littered my studio.

I also paint landscapes by the way, and flowers and now butterflies.  I'm not sure what the local art establishment is going to think of them.  They might not be drab enough. 

And I do portraits, by commission, though it can be a challenge to convince other people to have such a good look at themselves and pay for it as well. 

I have stated in my last will and testament that all of my paintings upon my death will go into the care and custody of the Mennonite Central Committee, who shall broker every one of my paintings that has survived me.  Not one of my paintings, should their financial value increase upon my death, will be sold or resold for profit.  No art dealer, no gallery, no museum, nor any other institution nor human being is to make any financial profit from my paintings, directly nor indirectly.  

 Should my paintings, upon my demise, appreciate in value, the fifty per cent sale value of each painting is to be deposited into a trust fund for creating more affordable housing for the homeless and indigent of Vancouver, and the other fifty per cent shall go to the overseas development projects of the Mennonite Central Committee.

I expect to be alive for many years to come…

In the meantime, here is what I can do for you should you want to come into possession of one of my paintings during my lifetime.  First of all, you are getting a deal that none of the commercial galleries can offer.  Because no gallery will be scalping fifty per cent of the sale value of my paintings I will be selling them at half the value price.  For a large painting (48” x 36”) I will ask no more than $1500, plus shipping and handling.  A percentage of each sale (depending on the health of my bank balance at the time) will be directly invested either into the many development and charitable programs of the Mennonite Central Committee, or into building affordable housing in Vancouver.

In the meantime, I continue to paint.  It is like a pleasant addiction for me.  It is also an act of resistance against the sterile and lifeless urban environment that has become the dismal reality for too many people. This is why my colours will always be bright, and this is why I will always be esthetic in my art.  I have heard that birds are also messengers of God, and in this manner I hope that the birds in each of my paintings wing His message to you…

Aaron Benjamin Zacharias