The interviews are conducted by VB Contemporary's director, Vian Borchert. Besides being a multidisciplinary noted international artist. Borchert has been a writer and art critic for over a decade contributing with art articles in a national online newspaper. Borchert gets called upon to cover and write reviews for major retrospectives and exhibitions in world-class American museums.

Image of Artist Aaron Lelito
About the artist: Aaron Lelito is a visual artist and writer from Buffalo, NY. His images have been published as cover art in Red Rock Review, Peatsmoke Journal, and The Scriblerus. His poetry chapbook, The Half Turn, was published in 2023, and his work has also appeared in Barzakh Magazine, Novus Literary Arts Journal, SPECTRA Poets, The Primer, and Santa Fe Review. He is editor in chief of the art & literature website Wild Roof Journal.
Tell us about your "Beginnings", how did you start your artist/photographer journey? When did you know that you wanted to become a photographer? How did your childhood influence your photography career path?  My work in photography and visual art came a bit later in life, so the beginnings of my creative path started elsewhere. Much of my career background is in higher ed, teaching writing and literature, and the literary world was where I spent most of my time going back a decade or two. Before getting into visual art, I spent a lot of time reading authors like Henry David Thoreau, Aldous Huxley, Marilynne Robinson, Don DeLillo, and many others. I also did some creative writing, mostly short fiction pieces. Five or six years ago, however, I began some experimentation with layering text from my creative writing with digital photos. Over the course of those experiments, I noticed that I was drawn to the photography of nature, and in the Great Lakes region, there are distinct seasonal cycles to engage with as subject matter. It’s always changing out there! As I continued to work with digital photography, I began using stand-alone images (without adding text) and to transform the original image using additional layers, textures, and drawings in some cases. I took on a DIY approach, using the resources at hand and filling in the gaps as they arose. My creative process involves a lot of problem-solving. If there is a limitation in one area, I need to find a way to work with it rather than allow it to prevent me from moving forward with a piece. I’d say the initial phrase I use a lot is something like “Let’s see if this works.” Perhaps the childhood connection is the sense of curiosity—the motivation to find out how something works and ask “Why?” or “What if…?” It’s so important not to lose that. In the “Beginnings” exhibit, there are three pieces: “Vines of Late Winter,” a more traditional photograph with limited editing, “Among Sparks and Scions,” which included layers of texture and drawing, and “Awake,” which is text-based.
Image of Artwork Awake
Walk us through your day and creative process? What does a day for "Aaron Lelito" look like? Where do you find inspiration in the area by which you reside? These days, my creative process begins with a notebook, in which I sketch out words, phrases, fragments, and quotes that I encounter throughout the day. The piece “Awake” is an example of a notebook page. I don’t really work with writing full sentences at first, so the notebook practice functions more like a collection of raw materials that I can go back to later and use for different purposes. It’s interesting to see how the content of the notebook can be shaped into poems and also be used as part of visual pieces, such as “Awake.” As far as a typical day, there is not as much emphasis on my creative practices as I’d like! However, there are the routine items of exercising, meditating, spending time with friends, going to work, and through each of those, ideally, I am receptive to the various points of inspiration that are floating around within what I’m doing, who I’m talking with, what I’m reading, or what I’m listening to.
As a fine art photographer, what have been some of the biggest challenges you've faced in your career? And, what have been your best achievements for you personally and professionally? The challenges that come to mind first relate to the business and financial side of the creative career path. It’s absolutely not a unique challenge for writers and artists out there, and unfortunately, I don’t exactly have the solutions either. Given the reality of needing to work outside of one’s own creative business at least some of the time, there’s a constant challenge of balance and finding the right boundaries of saying “yes, I can take on this work” and saying “no, I have to pass on that work.” As for achievements, the art and literature publication, Wild Roof Journal is at the top of the list. I started this project in 2020, and the creative community that has grown around WRJ since then is an ongoing source of inspiration. At the time of writing, the 25 th issue is being prepared, and it’s always remarkable to reflect on the quality and consistency of the work that is selected for these issues. Secondly, my first poetry collection came out last year, called The Half Turn. As a lifelong “book person,” this was a special accomplishment as well.
Instagram: @aaronlelito Website: http://aaronlelito.com/