Beverly Gayleen Aiken


has created hundreds of drawings, paintings, and handmade books, using crayon, pen, pencil, and oil paint on paper, and on canvas board. Her fondness for comics isreflected in her artistic expression, and she returns to themes of nostalgia, family life, music, and industry.Aiken has created a world that combines fantasy, memory, reality, and music through visual narratives that are generously sprinkled with text. The subject of anaward-winning film,
by Jay Craven, and in 1987 the recipient of a fellowship by the Vermont Council on the Arts, she is also a leading member of GrassrootsArt and Community Effort (GRACE), a not-for-profit workshop program in Vermont. GRACE supports artists, many working at community centers, in nursing homes,and psychiatric facilities throughout the state.Barre, Vermont, has been Aiken’s home her entire life. From the age of two, Aiken has made art. As a child she drew on the woodwork of her parent’s home. InAiken’s book,
Moonlight and Music,
the artist introduces the reader to her curious, integrated world. The illustration titled
The Funny Happy Raimbilli Cousins,Music, Hobbies, Me the Artist
features twenty-four smiling imaginary cousins, the Raimbillis, who have kept Aiken company since grade school, as well as a granitefactory located just outside of town, and a nickelodeon that she keeps in her home. The world Aiken creates in her work is always sunny and filled with pleasantdreams, fireworks, and music. She keeps in her home life-size cardboard cutouts of the eternally youthful Raimbilli cousins featured in her drawings. The Vermont artdealer Pat Parsons arranged a one-person exhibition for Aiken in April 1987.
See also
Grassroots Art and Community Effort (GRACE)
Aiken, Gayleen, and Rachel Klein.
Moonlight and Music,
New York, 1997.Gordon, Ellin, Barbara R.Luck, and Tom Patterson.
Flying Free.
Williamsburg, Va., 1997.Rexer, Lyle. “Gayleen Aiken.”
Raw Vision,
vol. 9, no. 41 (winter 2002): 30–37