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Utah artist seeks to infuse paintings with spirituality

Aerin Collett

Utah artist seeks to infuse paintings with spirituality

By Pam McMurtry, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Jul. 12, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.


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Editor's note: KSL.com does a weekly feature on artists in the community. If you have a painter, sculptor, musician or creative genius in mind, feel free to email your submission to fjolley@ksl.com. Please include a contact email for the artist, if available.SALT LAKE CITY — Aerin Collett is a classically trained painter whose inspirational and experimental work breaks down ideological boundaries emphasizing the divine feminine.

Collett said she is inspired by spiritual metaphors from all religions and believes that to uncover the truth, all truths need to be understood. As an artist, she creates inspirational images using traditional and modern techniques and materials. Because her paintings emphasize the divine feminine, she tries to revitalize the way Western society views Christianity.

A full-time mother and artist, Collett was raised in Kearns and then lived in Idaho for almost 10 years before returning to Utah to finish her education at the University of Utah. She graduated in 2013 shortly after moving to Ephraim. Collett said her education and background in art were most influenced by artist Leon Parson at Brigham Young University-Idaho and John Erickson at the University of Utah, as well as her love of the art of the Renaissance.

Collett's philosophy is shaped by her life experiences and spiritual journey, always believing that her mission in life is to use the oldest form of communication to teach spiritual messages.

“I am a woman with a mission to understand the true nature of exactly what is the divinity of womanhood. As a child, I wanted to paint images of Christ. ... Many times I had wished I could have been born a man, so that my ambitions would be easier to fulfill without the burden of being the sole caregiver of children or the stigma of (being) a woman because she is usually a mother also. But, as I have searched, meditated, and prayed, I realize that I am more powerful as a woman, and even more powerful as a mother. ... My artistic career has become more than a career, but a mission to use imagery the way it used to be used, as a tool to teach and elevate God; changing the narrative of how we view the Godheads.”

Collett said her process usually requires a lot of reading and working out multiple metaphors, then she does quick sketches with notes and more research to find meaning and symbolism in objects and animals. Most of her composing is done in Photoshop where each image is fabricated as realistically as possible. Depending on the complexity and size of the piece, the image is either projected onto the surface or drawn freehand, and Collett said many times adjustments are made once the composition has begun.

The materials are chosen depending on the requirements needed to communicate the message and may include anything from traditional media to things like packing tape, plexiglass and PVC board. The pieces almost always end with layers of oil paint.

Collett's images range from small to very large and utilize bright vibrant color and complex layers.

Collett's painting "The Kingdom of Heaven" won first place in the 2016 Springville Museum of Art Spring Salon Spiritual and Religious Art of Utah contest. More of her work can be viewed on her website.


Pam McMurtry is an artist, designer, teacher and writer with a BFA in visual art. Her "A Harvest and Halloween Handbook" is on Amazon.com and B&N.com and website: www.pammcmurtry.com. She is married and a parent of seven.

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