His tree project began five or six years ago, when he began playing with some plastic fruit in his studio, he said. Van Aken chose 40 because it's a number that appears often in the Bible, he said. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone. © 2020 Advance Local Media LLC. Sounds a bit like a Disney fantasy, but thanks to the labors and ingenuity of sculptor and art professor Sam Van Aken, the Tree of 40 Fruit is real, thriving, and setting down roots at locations across the country. Through grafting, one man has created Frankenstein’s Monster-like trees. For me, there’s much more power in a metaphor than there is in a technology. All rights reserved (About Us). "It's a number that represents bounty. The artist and sculptor, who teaches at SU's College of Visual and Performing Arts, creates the trees through grafting. To SU, the 40-fruit tree is "a metaphor for themes reflecting acceptance, globalism and multiculturalism." “The Tree of 40 Fruit really started as an artwork,” says Van Aken, who chose the number 40 for its historical and biblical significance as an amount that points to the infinite. Though the trees are a spectacle bound to draw the awe of onlookers, Aken has made it clear that none of the fruits from the Trees of 40 Fruit are for commercial production and his art is an attempt at preservation. Fact Analysis: STSTW Media strives to deliver accurate information through careful research. Some of Van Aken's 40-fruit trees were exhibited in The Armory Show in New York City this spring, and some art collectors have planted his trees. But yeah, it's overwhelming," Van Aken said. Sam Van Aken, a professor at Syracuse University, is growing a tree that can produce 40 different types of stone fruits. Regardless of the diverse areas of interest he feels called to pursue, Van Aken says, creative impulse remains at the heart of all he does. This helps preserve numerous ‘heirloom’ species of stone fruits on the verge of extinction due to not being commercially viable. © 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. Trees of 40 Fruits. Syracuse University told The Post-Standard in 2011 that he designed the "living art" as a symbol for the Central New York school's 9/11 memorial service. It's a number that represents bounty.". It's amazing. The Tree of 40 Fruit has been growing for nine years. “I wanted to make this tree that would blossom in different colors and bear different types of fruit, so that when you’d happen upon it, it would cause this moment of rethinking that hopefully becomes the beginning of a story.”. Artist rendering of The Tree of 40 Fruits. (Sam Van Aken/Wikimedia Commons). Through grafting, one man has created Frankenstein’s Monster-like trees. In partnership with Syracuse University’s Connective Corridor, the Everson Museum of Art is excited to present the Tree of 40 Fruit, part of an ongoing series of hybridized fruit trees by contemporary artist Sam Van Aken.Each unique tree grows over forty different types of stone fruit including peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and almonds. The Tree of 40 Fruit was conceptualized by Aken as a conservation project. A Tree of 40 Fruit is one of a series of fruit trees created by the Syracuse University Professor Sam Van Aken using the technique of grafting.Each tree produces forty types of stone fruit, of the genus Prunus, ripening sequentially from July to October in the United States. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. 401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, NY 13202 |, ©2020 EVERSON MUSEUM OF ART, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED | (315) 474 6064. Sam Van Aken starts by growing a plum tree and then adds branches from peach, nectarine, cherry, plum and apricot trees to produce a single tree that will bear 40 varieties of fruit. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. "There's a pastor in Norfolk, Virginia that did a sermon," he said. A Syracuse University art professor is getting worldwide attention for his Tree of 40 Fruit, an idea that ripened more than half a decade ago. Read more: Meet the Rainbow Colour Eucalyptus Tree—Native to the Philippines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. (Sam Van Aken/Wikimedia Commons). "And a big part of the sermon was using The Tree of 40 Fruit as a symbol. Several other trees, many of them donated, have been placed with art collectors, with individuals, or in museums and public settings, including a grove of six trees planted in Portland, Maine, in spring 2014. Primarily composed of native and antique varieties the Tree of 40 Fruit is a form of conservation, preserving heirloom stone fruit varieties that are not commercially produced or available.Sam Van Aken is associate professor of art at Syracuse University and is represented by Ronald Feldman Arts. This story was first published on December 14, 2017 and last updated on September 18, 2018. Sam Van Aken envisioned the Tree of 40 Fruit to be a piece of natural art. "When I started, it was a matter of essentially collapsing an entire orchard down onto one tree. Grafted plants generally take on certain characteristics of the rootstock plant but will physically still be the scion plant. "One day in July there was just like a swarm," he said. Gloria Wright / The Post-Standard, Sam Van Aken has created a series of drawings to show what his Tree of 40 Fruit will look like in two, five and 10 years. Each tree is created through grafting, a process that has intrigued Van Aken since he witnessed it as a child growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania. The tree bears forty different types of stone fruits- including popular varieties like cherries, apricots, nectarines. But what it can do is, I like to think, that it can lead to that type of thinking.". "It's flattering. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local. To start the Tree of 40 Fruit project, Van Aken scoured New York State in search of varieties of stone fruit, a species that offers up the most diversity. A conservation effort, Aken has helped preserve the various species in all their uniqueness- whether it is in their appearance or taste and aroma. "I mean, the tree of life; it's the beginning of a story," he said. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local. The Tree of 40 Fruit has been growing for nine years. He ties or tapes the branches until they're grown together. He went on to create 21 other such trees, seven of which are in New York. Van Aken acknowledges the biblical implications of his tree. Growing multiple stone fruits, like peaches or plums, on one tree is possible because what Van Aken does, perhaps better than anybody, is graft. The Tree of 40 Fruit has been growing for nine years. ", According to the Daily Mail, the project began in 2008 when he discovered an orchard at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva that had more than 200 varieties of plums and apricots.

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