“My manners. Big time. Always wave back, say please, and thank you, yes ma’am, no ma’am, and ladies first. You gotta be nice.” As we talked about his creative nature, he detailed his relationship with art. “My imagination is a blessing and a burden at the same time. What’s great with this style that I’ve done, I’ve been able to take my
character, my face, and use it like a journal in a sense. If I’m feeling sad, you’re gonna get a sad boy canvas
from me. It’s like a visual journal. There are paintings that I’ve done, that remind me of exactly what I was
going through at the time.One way to describe Aaron’s style is a whirlwind of imagery and motif, brush strokes like wizard incantations, beautiful, gritty, and macabre. We talked about influences, and Ralph Steadman, a man Aaron describes as a hero, came to the forefront. He shared a story about an item that sits next to his bed, a gift originally intended for Mr. Steadman that instead turned into a collaboration.
“Homie from the Chambers Project (Psychedelic Art Gallery) was going to curate a gallery for him
[Steadman], and I was like, that’s amazing man, have a blast, he’s my hero.
He asked if I wanted to send him anything, and I was like, yes! I took a week and made him a huge piece that was one of my characters saying, ‘Hey Ralph’, and Ralph saw it, loved it, signed it, and did a little character that said ‘What?’ and he sent itback.
It’s definitely one of my prized possessions.” Aaron began plying his craft professionally around 2011. As we discussed the scope of his work, he gave credit to friends and family for encouraging him to realize his talent. “It’s so weird, because it’s something I’ve done my whole life, and I knew I loved it, but in my head, it was like, you can’t make a living doing that, you can do it for fun. I did it so much, I was known around my friend base, like, ‘Meohw, Aaron likes to do artwork.’ That’s what pushes people in the beginning, is someone believing in you.” That belief has made him a pioneer, and he’s found other trailblazers along his way. Vincent Gordon through their Melty Bros collection, Zane Kesey on blotter, and his incredible wife, Ellie Paisely, across continuing frontiers, to name but a few. Naturally, the cyclopes he created for the Subtronics camp came up, and I asked about how the relationships formed back in 2017.“I got a call from Jesse’s manager, and he was like, ‘Jesse really likes your work’. It was a one-time plan; it was going to be a crossover merchandise drop. I created these three cyclops, and they loved them so much they were like, ‘maybe we can do more’.” The cyclopes have proliferated in form, number, and variation since inception, and Aaron glowed about the way his creations have come to life. “Two-dimensional is the only way I’ve ever worked, and sending it to the Subtronics team, and knowing it’s gonna move, that’s exciting for me.”
Before parting, I requested Aaron share some guidance. After careful consideration, he replied, “Take it all in, assess your choices, and don’t settle.” Father Hoffman would certainly be proud.
Aaron’s current agenda is InkVember, an alignment of thirty topics over thirty days influencing his creation of evocative portraits daily. It’s a challenge he tackles with zest and zeal. InkVember is followed by PrintCember, where he selects his favorites and makes them available to his audience of supporters. Follow Aaron Brooks on Facebook and @abrooksart on Instagram to explore a wealth of posts covering artwork, art drops, insight into his life, style, passionate pursuits, and publishing’s about future events and undertakings.
--Ben E Zander