The Spotlight: Aaron Pluym

Hannah Perry, Arts & Life Editor

Just like Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper, and Claude Monet, senior Aaron Pluym didn’t start his journey at Buena Vista University as the artist we know today. In fact, he was originally a history education major. When it got to the point where he felt like he was sleepwalking through his classes, he looked to his hobbies to guide him in the right direction.  

Pluym reasoned that since he liked doing art in high school, he would enjoy it in college. After switching his major to graphic design, he took a sculpture class that ignited his love for metal welding. The newfound interest prompted him to add on a studio art major, helped him determine his art style, and inspire project ideas.

“I really like the idea of a construction site,” Pluym said. “If one thing went wrong and everything decided to fall apart, I like that idea of the falling pieces. I try to capture that in my art.” 

As he took more classes and got involved in BVU’s art community, Pluym began to admire the faculty who were teaching him new skills, including David Boelter, Professor of Art, Collin Byrd, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design & Animation, and Mary Mello-Nee, Professor of Art. In addition to appreciating their art, Pluym values the advice and guidance they offer him.  

“We’ll have critiques where we talk about our projects and what we can work on,” Pluym said. “It’s the praise of doing something interesting or fun and getting recognition that makes me happy.” 

 When it comes to outside sources of inspiration, Pluym noted the significant moment of discovering David Smith, an American expressionist sculptor. While examining the late artist’s works, Pluym noticed that he used many similar elements in his own art.  

“I didn’t know about him until last year or two years ago,” Pluym said. “Before I even made my sculpture, I realized that his art is a lot like mine and I really enjoy his art.” 

Ever since Pluym discovered his passion for studio art, he has strived to improve his works and master different sectors of art. In addition to sculpting and welding, skills he already excels at, he would eventually like to put plasma cutting, foraging, and casting on his resume. 

For his first internship, Pluym is working for Simonsen Industries, an equipment manufacturing company located in Quimby, Iowa. He scored the opportunity after hearing about from one of his best friends, Jacob Simonsen, whose father helps run the company. A typical workday includes welding on the industrial level, keeping up with business, and learning different techniques for working with metal.  

When Pluym isn’t working on his most recent construction site project, he is thinking about the possibilities of the future. He aspires to create commissioned sculptures for parks, museums, and art galleries. Even though he has curated a plan, he advises those following in his artistic footsteps to embrace transformations.  

“Be open to change. I ended up switching my major four different times until I finally felt comfortable with what I’m doing with my art,” said Pluym.