Sam Van Aken

Associate Professor, Art Department
Syracuse University

Sam Van Aken‘s art combines sophisticated technology with traditional modes of art-making.  Van Aken’s projects cross boundaries between artistic genres, including performance, installation, video, photography, and sculpture.  With each body of work, he selects practices and new perspectives that provide a kinesthetic perception of objects and a visceral charge. Born in Reading Pennsylvania, Sam Van Aken received his undergraduate education in Communication Theory and Art. Immediately following his studies he lived and worked in Poland under the auspices of the Andy Warhol Foundation and the United States Information Agency. Returning after several years in Europe, Van Aken received his MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001.  Since this time his work has been exhibited nationally and internationally receiving numerous honors including a Joan Mitchell Award, Association of International Curator’s of Art Award and a 2009 Creative Capital Grant.  Sam Van Aken is currently an Associate Professor in the Art Department at Syracuse University.


  • Change Food Eats – Sam Van Aken

    Change Food

    Sam Van Aken is an international artist, farmer and associate professor best known for his Tree of 40 Fruit installation, in which he grafted 40 stone fruit trees together into one singular tree. He is currently working on The Open Orchard project. Find out more about Sam’s work in this episode, along with health tips […]

  • The Tree of Forty Fruit – Sam Van Aken


    During the 19th century, central New York was one of the largest producers of stone fruits. Today they are only grown by a few producers. Artist, Sam Van Aken, brings light to the lack of diversity and monoculture by grafting 40 varieties of stone fruits onto a single tree including peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines and […]