The first time I saw Aaron Kizer paint live, I remember being blown away by his talent.  The music, the speed, and he painted the image upside down! When he flipped that canvas right side up, the whole crowd went crazy. Over the years, I have enjoyed his performance art many times, and I got to know him on a personal level when the studio where I worked, Studio Slant, showcased his art in our gallery.

His shows are quite the spectacle, but Aaron doesn't create for popularity or to be famous. He brings his portraits to life from a special place in his soul that only other artists can truly understand. Aaron has also used his talents to give back to the community through fundraisers and by helping people in need that the general public will never know about because of his humble nature. He probably wouldn't want me to be tooting his horn like this, but sorry Aaron, it is much deserved!

You may remember years ago when he sold a series of numbered prints that were simply solid black. Those of us who purchased them had no idea what we had taken part of. It turned out to be a fundraiser for a local woman and her child who had been diagnosed with cancer.

Just the other day, Aaron made a Facebook post and once again, his artwork blew me away. I sat in the car waiting to pick my son up from school trying to collect myself as I read this incredible story of a set of portraits Aaron painted using ashes from a phenomenal writer and News Editor of the Hancock Clarion, Dave Taylor.

It just about took my breath away because after my Dad died in April 2021, I came across a column Dave Taylor wrote titled "What I Learned From Dying."  Dave started the series when he began his journey fighting Stage 4 Esophageal Cancer. His grace and sense of humor in the face of everyone's worst nightmare touched my heart big time. My dad cherished the little things in a very similar way.

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A huge fan of Aaron's work and proud owner of his infamous Black Print, Dave reached out to Aaron with a special request. He was planning to fight until the very last moment, but once that moment came, Dave wanted to help Aaron paint his portrait by literally being added to the paint itself. What an absolutely stunning gesture for his loved ones missing him every day. Now they can see his smiling face and be reminded of what an exceptional human he was.

Aaron Kizer Facebook
Aaron Kizer Facebook

The comment section of this post is full of friends and loved ones sharing memories and kind words about Dave. His beloved wife Jamie shared this. Reading it gave me goosebumps.

"Aaron Kizer, thank you so much for the kindness and generosity you’ve blessed us with. Dave was a huge fan of yours, he even brought you up on our first date (it was eleven hours). We shared a love of the arts and conversation for sure!
The day he got diagnosed with cancer he said, “I want my ashes mixed with paint and a portrait done of me by Aaron Kizer.”
The pictures used for the portraits represent two special moments in our relationship, mine was from our engagement and Dave’s was our first holiday together. He loved that picture of himself, he said he felt the best and happiest he’d ever been.
Dave was an incredible person and I am so grateful his name, memory, and likeness will continue to awe and inspire, thanks to your huge heart and extraordinary talent."


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