artist and activist based in the greater St. Louis area


Born out of anthropological research conducted in rural India, my artwork centers around cotton; exploring its cultural, political, and economic history as well as how we interact with and relate to it today. This fiber has a dark and violent history, rooted in slavery, colonization, and displacement.

My artwork primarily focuses on telling the story of contemporary cotton farmers in India, while highlighting the disconnect between consumers and farmers. Despite using cotton daily in some form, few of us know about the struggles cotton farmers in India face, often resulting in death by suicide. Through photography and embroidery, I explore the “out of sight, out of mind” nature of capitalism and consumerism.


I seek to disrupt unsustainable consumption practices and encourage mindful consumer practices. It is my hope that my work inspires people to find ways to connect more deeply with each other and the land.

“Without slavery you have no cotton; without cotton you have no modern industry.”
Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy


Aaron was born and raised by the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, among corn and soybean fields in Godfrey, IL. She attended Sarah Lawrence College, where her passion for finding creative ways to engage in social and environmental justice issues was celebrated and nurtured. She spent her junior year of college studying abroad in Tanzania, India, New Zealand, and Mexico on a program called Rethinking Globalization. It was on this transformative program that she was first introduced to the social and political history of cotton in India, the current struggles of Indian cotton farmers, and how she, a US citizen and someone who wears cotton, is connected to it all. This turned out to be the beginning of a deep exploration that she continues today.

Aaron is dedicated to nurturing collaboration, creativity, compassion, and connection through the exploration of art and community. She is an activist, teaching artist, gardener and healer. Her studio is located at Erica Popp studios + gallery. She was recently accepted into the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and is looking forward to exploring and expanding her arts practice.


2007-2008 International Honors Program, Tanzania, India, New Zealand, Mexico

2009 Sarah Lawrence College, BA

2019-2020 Teaching Artist Institute, Regional Arts Commission


Latest Exhibitions

Art Is Labor
Arcade Contemporary Art Projects,
Webster University Gateway Campus 

Saint Louis, MO


Tracing Threads, Weaving Stories: a retro/intro/pro/spective

Yeyo Arts Gallery
Saint Louis, MO


Cotton: The Fiber of Our Being

Yeyo Arts Gallery

Saint Louis, MO

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© 2020 aaronrosestudio designed x bae

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