Aaron Brooks

On April 19 th , 2023, Chicago’s MADE Gallery hosted psychedelic artist Aaron Brooks for a celebration of

Bicycle Day. On this date, we thank Albert Hoffman for his research, by exploring ourselves through the

contributions father Hoffman made to the field of psychology, and riding bikes. To commemorate the scientist to whom Aaron affectionately, and humorously, refers, “That’s my dad,”, Brooks curated a one-of-a- kind art event with a Bicycle Day print embolic of his distinctive style.


 When I invited him to share how he really felt, Aaron passionately riffed, Albert technically allowed so many people, who could have been closed and shallow minded, to be thinkers, unique thinkers. That’s my biggest relationship with it [Bicycle Day], is him allowing me to be my most creative self.” Hailing from Hurricane, WV, Aaron is a friendly fellow. He smiles infectiously, his voice is genuine, and his dress is stylishly casual. Black socks and sandals. Cool guy status. I asked him what lessons he carries forth from the mountain state, and he related,

Aaron Brooks

“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


When Deadmau5 tours, veteran and fresh-faced supporters show out to see the innovations hedisplays. What tracks from his extensive catalogue will be played? What kinds of visual effects will be unleashed? What types of imaginative stage engineering will be unveiled? What class of talent will be on hand to support the venerable Canadian Mau5? On October 27 th at Radius in Chicago, the first of two nights of Day of the Deadmau5, many satiated their curiosities through his presentation.To begin, Radius is a pleasant setting to catch a concert. After passing through security, you’re

greeted by grey pillars, walls, and polished concrete.

 In a way, it feels like a harkening back to the warehouse roots of rave cultureTo the left, along the back wall, you’ll find a bar, bathrooms, and even a food stop to fill yourself, or empty, as needed. To the right, a corridor leads towards the front of the stage for ease of access, more bathrooms, another couple of bars, and limited seating for patrons. Themain space is an open pit with sound booth placed amidst the middle.

A bar lines the left wall of this main room, and two bars line the right with staircase between leading up to a balcony space for an elevated view. The balcony boasts another bathroom, and bar, as well as long rows of seating across theentire right-hand wall, perfect for resting in between sets. The sound at Radius? Excellent, from almostanywhere in the venue.


The night’s entertainment opened with the talents of Volaris and his signature brand of melodic house. It was a gentle introduction, that at points, had the house grooving. After a little over an hour, he gave way to Spencer Brown, through which the experience continued to transform. Legend has it that Spencer has never played the same set twice, and tonight the audience enjoyed beautiful and organic sequencing that felt like a journey through the very nature of themselves . Where Volaris was given a single screen for his visual display, all three now activated in exhibiting soaring aerial and video footage of beautiful vistas and natural landscapes in conjunction with Spencer’s takeover through bassy beats and house rhythms. After nearly two hours, around one thirty in the AM, Spencer concluded. After a quick changeover, the moment many had come for finally arrived.Deadmau5 opened with a slow play, Fn Pig, before slamming it into gear with a spirited rendition of Maths, one of this reporter’s all-time favorites. Bouncing on the trifecta of screens behind were images of red Mau5 heads interspersed with sequences of numbers and code. A digital progression of events followed that saw the stage fully come to life. Lights moved across the crowd amidst cosmic visuals, lasers tracing overhead, punctuated by near total blackouts. Over the course of his set, hundreds of variations of Deadmau5’s iconic brand flashed upon the screen, further juicing an already excited audience. They danced and grooved to every track Deadmau5 dropped, whether it be renditions of Bridged by a Lightwave, Oceans of Love, When the Summer dies, or even Hans Zimmer’s Cornfield Chase, to name but a few..

Weaving house and techno together is no small feat, but Deadmau5 does it with skill. On this night, he even ventured into drum and bass. His showcase continued into the early morning hours before hardened, sweaty, hot attendees exited the building, many to return for night number two on the morrow.

Deadmau5 is an entertainer of legendary stature, with a brand and sound recognized across the globe. If you have yet to attend a Deadmau5 event, and you consider yourself a fan of the electronic genre, do yourself a favor, and witness his performance at least once before your time on Earth concludes.

REview by Ben E Zander and photos by Aaron Johnson.