By Sam Van Aken
Native and rare stone fruit grafts on plum stock, 2016

Tree of 40 Fruit aims to create a moment of rethinking as it blossoms in different tones of pink, white, and crimson in spring and then bears a multitude of stone fruit species throughout the summer. It also is a form of conservation, preserving native, heirloom, and antique varieties of fruit once grown in the area and now rare as the food industry slowly rejects varieties that do not travel well or have a long shelf life. Van Aken plans to create entire orchards of heirloom trees as a resource for individuals and growers to help reintroduce these forgotten fruit varieties.

Born in Reading, Pa., Van Aken grew up as a part of a farming family. He received his MFA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His artwork combines new technology with traditional art methods, taking form in sculpture, sound, video, and performance.

Prior works have included a radio hoax and a hole in the winter skies over New York. Van Aken is an assistant professor of art at Syracuse University and over the years has returned to the soil, creating art based on stone fruits and orchards.

Learn more about Sam Van Aken.

Artist Sam Van Aken talks to people during the installation of his Tree of Fruit artwork on the Karl Stirner Arts Trail in Easton, Pennsylvania.