To Top

Rising Stars: Meet John Aaron

Today we’d like to introduce you to John Aaron aka Juan Avocado.

John, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I drew a picture of this hotel for my grandfather when I was five. I made a ceramic dog in 2nd grade. Friends who have watched my progress over the years have suggested that I should have quit…while I was ahead. But the career in brain surgery never panned out. I got in trouble for drawing Batman & Robin being lewd with Batwoman & Batgirl during study hall in 7th grade. That won me another trip to the principal’s office. When I told my parents I didn’t want to go to college, that I wanted to attend Disney’s Animation School, because I thought that that was where the $$$ was going to be in the future of art, my dad slammed the door and we didn’t speak until he was on his last legs. True to his disappointment, he did not leave me funds to attend the school. I’ve been an itinerant artist ever since. Liberating in the least.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It’s been quite the off-road experience. Complete with Back Mambas and often without tire tread. But after all of it, I’m still standing. More than 4 decades dedicated to being obnoxiously creative. Lost most of the use of my left hand for 18 months 4-5 years ago while they tried to figure out why. Met the right Doc-now it’s back & rocking again. Current studio in Oldtown is the Belfry. It’s fantastic.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I published the Color Me Boulder coloring book in 2019. It won the 2021 National Indie Excellence Award for coloring books. Sold many. Two other coloring books, Urban Spice, Real & Imagined Places were published in 2021. All have sold out. Hard to find the custom sketch paper I use these days. I paint outdoors a lot. I prefer not to call it plein air…there’s nothing plain about what I do. I’ve begun a new book, Color Me Aspen, that pays tribute to the City’s distinctive architecture. Hope to have it published by the Holidays.

I spent 16 years dedicated to running a project I founded, CHALK4PEACE, the global chalk art project that almost a million people have participated in We were invited to the UN in NYC to celebrate Student Peace Day in 2016. 1500 people joined us, including Dame Jane Goodall and Ben Stiller. We had such high hopes at the time. The last few years I’ve focused on my own work. I’m inching towards reinvigorating this global artistic response to Peace.

I’ve been an Artist in Clay since 1978, racking up 25 solo exhibitions and am included in the collections of the Denver Art Museum, the cities of Boulder and Aspen, Santa Barbara, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, J.P. Morgan Chase, Kaiser Permanente and other notable art troves.

I will be opening my first solo exhibition in five years this month at the First Congregational Church of Boulder. (Please see flier) The show is designed similar to a natural history tour of projects and focus through the years. What sets me apart is that, like Picasso, I make something, throw it over my shoulder and jump into the next thing. Showing the work has long been secondary. Almost a thousand of my works have never been seen by the public. Several of these will be in the show, including a number of the original book illustrations. The show, called “Tales From The Belfry” is designed to entertain and inform.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
I trained in songwriting & performance with Nik Venet, a Capitol Records impresario in Hollywood, who was instrumental (bad pun) in teaching me stage presence and how to play a stylin’ version of a cover song so that the audience doesn’t hate me for ruining the tune for them. I perform under the name of Juan Avocado. I’ve had the good fortune to be invited to play at eTown last year. Of all art forms, I admit I admire comedians and musicians the most. If there is such a thing as reincarnation, and I don’t come back as a big dumb fish, I hope to return as a funnier person who can play a dozen instruments.

Thank you for including me on your Voyage.


  • Coloring books signed $25.00
  • Paintings, Sculptures & Prints range from $100-$10,000.00
  • Architectural and pet portrait commissions start at $3000.00

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Benko Photographics, Blink Eye Imaging, Jerry Downs Photography, John Aaron, Paradigm Pictures, Luciano Brandimarti, Marielle Mariano, Sarah Jayne Bleiweiss, SD Hall

Suggest a Story: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Local Stories