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Interview – Aaron Glasson

Aaron Glasson is something of a wanderer, traversing the globe with a talent laden hand coupled with a message of awareness and hope for the plight of our oceans.  His work often revolves around painting colourful extrapolations of surreal, psychedelia infused denizens replete with barnacled patterns, anthropodic hitchhikers and other encrusted, symbiotic bottom dwellers – denizens that speak of the oceanic bliss that encircles our globe.

Having spent time on the shores of Sri Lanka and Mexico, over the last five years Aaron has infused his energies into an artistic collective whose mission is to raise awareness of our oceans. As the Creative Director of PangeaSeed, Glasson uses his art, and the works of those with which he collaborates with, as a conduit for this message – creating visual behemoths of beauty that speak of the wonders of that vast realm that lay both above, and below the waves.

At a point in our history when our oceans are suffering massive depletion, pollution and generally being fucked up by an apathetic “she’ll be right” attitude from the “general public”, its artists like Aaron Glasson who are doing their utmost to shove fistfuls of art into peoples faces in an attempt to make them take notice.

We’re humbled by his efforts, and gratified by these glimpses we have had of his art (of course, we’d much prefer to see them in person, but photos and video are the next best thing!), which is why we wanted to have a chat to him, and share a little slice of this wonderful artists many works with you – so read on, and enjoy!

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(With Spencer Keeton Cunningham)

How did you start out on the artistic path – what are some of your earliest creative memories and when did you realise that art was something that you wanted to pursue?

I’ve always been into art and making stuff, and I was lucky to have parents who encouraged that. I remember drawing a sweet crocodile when I was five or six and knowing it was good. Painting, photography, and tech drawing, were the only classes I liked in high school so then I thought I wanted to do something visually creative. I always loved art but didn’t realise it could be a career. I actually wanted to be an architect partly I thought I knew I could make a living as that though didn’t pass physics class which I needed to take architecture in University. I then did a half a year of Graphic design at Uni, I didn’t like how restrictive the course was.

I had friends in the fine art school having a lot of fun, so I left my graphic design course for fine art and realised that it was really tangible to live like that.

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(With Celeste Byers)

Do you have any formal artistic background, and what kind of identities within art do you believe your work most identifies with? Has it been difficult at times to distinguish yourself and your work from all the many other artists out there? In what way do you try to hone your style and push it in new directions?

I did degree in fine art and design and majored in print making. I don’t know about identities within art that I fit in. I’d rather not think about it to much as it doesn’t really concern me. There are a lot of people out there making stuff so and I’m sure mine looks like theirs to some people, and theirs to mine, but I think that’s okay and unavoidable sometimes. I’m influenced by a lot of people, often subconsciously. Then sometimes I realise their influence long after I’ve made something but I think that’s okay too. I feel like my own style is unavoidable and distinguishes itself, it doesn’t matter how influenced or inspired I am by others. I guess I just keep trying new things which sends me in new directions and keeps things exciting. Being inspired is super important too.

I’ve stopped doubting I can do something and just attempt it with a positive attitude and gusto.

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Your work has a pretty sublime, at times kaleidoscopic element to it, with shitloads of colour an organic elements – its pretty obvious that the natural world plays a big part in the work that you produce – what makes that so? What draws you to the elements of the natural world that and its various eccentricities and beauties of life and form?

Often, especially when I’m in outside I’m filled with this overwhelming feeling like, “this is so profoundly beautiful and real, why do I even make art when this exists.” It’s a funny feeling, and I know why I make stuff but that feeling is interesting. I just think the natural world is so full of wonder, depicting things I’m fascinated by feels like a way to get closer to it, and even understand more of it’s mystery. I also make a lot of work connected to environmentally conservation efforts so draw life to promote saving it.

You started out in New Zealand – how did the country itself influence the way you create art? How does the creative energy of the country you live in affect your work, and how does travel change this?

I haven’t lived in NZ for years, but when I did I loved it. New Zealand has a lot of trees so I used to paint a lot of trees. I guess I was influenced by aspects of Maori art living there also.

Every place I’m at affects my art so much! Culturally, environmentally, mystically, and historically.

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What lead you to painting on walls and how is it an extension of your other artistic work? Does doing murals and works in the street feed back into your other creative practices, and if so, how?

I was into really into graffiti when I was a teenager, there wasn’t much in New Zealand at that time but my brother had this magazine from France with pictures of bombed trains. I just thought it was the coolest thing. I messed around with spray can, and painted the odd mural now and then but didn’t really get into painting walls in a big way until a few years ago. I really got into it more living in Sri Lanka. There are so many beautifully decaying walls there, people were a stoked to have them painted and paints cheap.

Painting murals is just a different experience than painting in the studio but they are all extensions of each other. I learn from and enjoy both so much, gotta mix it up.

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(With Celeste Byers and Simon Blackfoot)

A bit about your residency and time spent in Mexico – can you fill us in on you residency over there, how it came about, and what you got up to, and who you painted with, whilst you were staying there?

It’s a long strange story, but basically I wanted to do an artist residency in Mexico. I asked a couple of friends who I thought might now (who didn’t know each other). They both independently told me they were going to Residencia Gorila so I was like “that’s the place.” It’s not like other residencies in that they get artists to focus on environmental and social issues. I worked on a bunch of things there and painted with Celeste Byers and Vexta, the two friends who independently told me about Gorila. I assisted Momo and made a film about him too, that was cool.

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(With Celeste Byers)

You also recently went over to Hawaii for Pow! Wow! How was the entire experience, the event, the people and the art? Tell us a bit about your adventures over there, and why you’d recommend anyone reading this to go and check it all out?

Pow! Wow! was incredible. I painted a huge wall with Skinner and Spencer Keeton Cunningham. I’d painted with Spencer a lot before but never Skinner so that was awesome. I admire both those guys so much. The event was so so good and well organised. I met a lot of inspiring lovely people and had so many good times packed in one week.

Hawaii is just a magical group of islands, there is an active volcano spewing lava on one Island and world class art festival on another. I feel like Hawaii is just good for your soul, it’s easy to get wild there.

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Speaking of Pow! Wow! You went over there representing PangeaSeed – can you tell us a bit more about the organisation, your involvement in it and what it represents?

I’ve been creative director for PangeaSeed since it was established in 2009. We are a collective of creative people working on ways to better our collective relationship with the ocean. A lot of what we do utilizes art and design to educate people and raise awareness about pressing environmental challenges. Over the years we have worked with literally hundreds of artist from around world who are concerned about the current health of the seas and it’s inhabitants. We are really trying to teach people that how they choose to live, what they consume and support does effect the greater environment.

We make films, curate art shows, festivals, eco-tours, and even have a sustainable apparel line. It’s all about making idea’s around sustainability, ecology, and conservation cool, appealing, and something people want to get active in.

Can you tell us a bit about the PangeaSeed Seawalls Expeditions mural project that you have going on at the moment?

This July we are collaborating with thirteen artist to paint an Island off the coast of Mexico. Whale sharks and manta ray converge there in huge numbers so all the murals are going to promote their conservation and protection.

Its a pretty crazy line up of artists, I’m very excited.

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Accomplishment wise – what have been some of the other stand out projects you’ve been involved with? Exhibitions, shows, what else can you tell us about your work that we don’t know about?

I’m stoked with this triptych I just finished with Celeste Byers. It’s three paintings that are being used to promote World Oceans Day Hawaii. I did one, she did one, then we worked on the centre piece together.

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(With Celeste Byers)

What do you have planned for the future? What projects have you thought of in your more whimsical moments, that if money and time were no limit, you’d love to do?

I’m painting another mural with Celeste Byers in Honolulu next month, that will be enjoyable. Then there’s Mexico in July, then I don’t know, I have a bunch of stuff I want to do. With unlimited time and money I would probably buy a chunk of sweet land and build wacky lovely things and a place to live that reflects the land. Friends and animals could come and live there too, in tree houses, like a community.

We’d grow our own food and plants, play, and have fun constantly. You could come too.

 

Also check out a whole bunch of videos from Aaron Below – so much awesome:
Pow! Wow! –  https://vimeo.com/88623375

Sea Walls – Murals for Oceans: POW! WOW! HAWAIʻI: Skinner – Spencer Keeton Cunningham – Aaron Glasson from PangeaSeed on Vimeo.

Mexico with Celeste Byers – https://vimeo.com/84555446

Liva and the Lionfish from Residencia Gorila on Vimeo

With Vexta – https://vimeo.com/81836150

Artistas en Residencia Gorila: VEXTA x AARON GLASSON from Residencia Gorila on Vimeo.

Sri Lanka - https://vimeo.com/67421195

Sea Walls – Murals for Oceans: Sri Lanka X Manta Rays from PangeaSeed on Vimeo.

Vietnam – https://vimeo.com/75102981

Sea Walls – Murals for Oceans: Vietnam X Fish Farming from PangeaSeed on Vimeo.

And also take a look at a whole bunch of other shots of Aarons work below – and just click on any of the images for the full gallery!

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Event – Rise Festival – Christchurch

Rise Festival is about to launch in Christchurch New Zealand and it looks like a cracker! Big Ups to Oi You who are running things! I’m SPEWING I haven’t organised a cheeky trip over for the weekend, ah well! For any in NZ make sure you get to this!

The festival features a stelar line up with the likes of Askew, Lister, ROA, Ian Strange (Kid Zoom), Thom Buchanan and works on display by Banksy (he won’t be there but some traveling canvases will) as well as some of the worlds best street artists work.

Of course, lots of big walls will be painted, as well as Ian Strange’s new show Final Act at Canterbury Museum. Thom Buchanan’s installation sounds like it will be interesting, a mix of film and art and experience. Read all about the festival and what to expect on their site.

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RISE

Who: Oi You Present
What: Rise Festival
When: Friday 20th December to 23rd March 2014. (Work on display). Admission is free.
Where: Christchurch New Zealand.

Facebook event page here.

 

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Exhibition – Cinzah Seekayem – Cosmological Beginnings – Auckland

Cinzah Seekayem has some of the finest work we’ve seen – whether its illustrated, or painted up on a wall. Now, he is having his second solo show at Endemic World across the ditch in New Zealand, and if you’re anywhere in the vicinity of Auckland, you should go check it out.

"Cinzah’s second solo exhibition, kicking off at endemicworld.com ‘s Print Store in Ponsonby.
Featuring a brand new body of work never seen before. One off original works as well as affordable limited edition prints.
Big thanks to Stolen Rum and Lothlorien Winery for sponsoring the brews for the evening – hope to see you all there. All welcome."

Take a look at the preview video that was also just released to get a glimpse of what the show holds!

Cosmological Beginnings – A Solo Exhibition by Cinzah Seekayem from Monster Valley on Vimeo.

Awesome – so good to see another show from Cinzah, heres hoping he makes his way over here for one soon!

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Who: Cinzah Seekayem
What: Cosmological Beginnings
Where: Endemic World, 62 Ponsonby Rd, Grey Lynn, AKL, NZ
When: Show opens 6pm til 9pm, Thursday 21st November, 2013 and runs until Monday November 25th

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Exhibition – North East South West – Auckland

Mad shit happening in the New Zealand graffiti and street art scene lately, and a whole lot of mad shows going on – not least this one coming up this Friday night with Berst, alongside Fecks (Perth), Kaput (vancouver) and NZs Hazer.

For one night only, the artists will be displaying a whole bunch of their work, and with each artist reppin their own corner of the world, it sounds like it’ll be worth the checkin out.

Head down to K-Road to see it this Friday!

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Who: Berst, Haser, Kaput, Fecks
What: North East South West exhibition
Where: Suite 108 Ironbank, K’Road, Auckland
When: Friday the 1st of November at 6pm – one night ONLY!

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Exhibition – Askew – The Evolving Face – The Tate – Sydney

 

We are, obviously, big fans of the work of Askew One. The NZ artist has garnered a global fan base for his work over the years, and is one of the best to come out of the antipodes – and coming up pretty soon, you lucky bastards in Sydney will have a chance to see his very first solo show there!

"Askew One is a multi-disciplinary artist mostly renowned for his graffiti art paintings. Widely regarded as one of the New Zealand graffiti scene’s driving forces, he has managed to remain at the forefront of the movement (both in New Zealand and throughout the world) whilst working tirelessly behind the scenes in a diverse array of projects.

Askew’s indoor canvas works are influenced by double exposure photography, bold illustrative lines reflective of comic books and the graphic power of the letter. This is also seen in his public mural works in which his attraction to ‘bigger is better’ is highly precedent.

With an abundance of achievements and experiences almost 20 years in the graffiti scene which include a guest artist invite to Primary Flight – Art Basel Miami and taking out two consecutive ‘Write 4 Gold’ world titles as part of TMD crew (who remain undefeated), Askew is also versed in graphic design, illustration, photography, publishing, music and moving image. A self-taught, self-sufficient one-man army with no formal art qualifications behind him, Askew is an artist schooled by life itself."

The Evolving Face promises to be an amazing show, and an awesome opportunity to see his work in a Sydney gallery setting – head down there and check it out!!

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Who: Askew
What: The Evolving Face solo show
Where:  The Tate Gallery, 345 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe, Sydney
When: show opens Wednesday 13th November from 6pm til 9pm and runs daily until 17th November.

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Video – AUAT – Bradley Lane – Auckland

Great little video here from across the ditch, with Askew, Gary Silipa, Misery and Benjamin Work painting up Bradley Lane in Glen Innes.

A great little wall and some grand work by some of New Zealands finest graffiti and street artists – check it out below!

You can see a bunch more photos and shots from the day over at the Ironlak website!

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Snapshots – All Fresco – Auckland NZ

ALL Fresco Street Art Festival was held over the weekend of 2 – 5 May in and around Karangahape Road (everyone calls it K Road) in the city.  Despite the sometimes terrible weather, a lot of fantastic street art was created.

There were maps provided so you could see where the artists were working, and even free bikes to get around the area. It was awesome!

The K Road Business Association was the major player in terms of making the festival happen – it is listed as the host of the event on all media.

Ross Liew was one of the main organisers and visionaries. http://cutcollective.co.nz/about/trust-me/. Cleo Barnett also helped organise. She is the main person behind First Thursdays. http://cleobarnett.com/. Barbara Holloway of the K Road Business Association was absolutely vital and it wouldn’t have happened without her – http://www.kroad.com/. Laura Forest, also a member of the K Road Business Association, was involved too. http://www.lauraforest.com/"

Check out all the photos below, with links to all involved and the artists below the gallery!

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ALL Fresco artists link
http://www.kroad.com/9_First_Thursdays/904_Participate/First_Thursdays_ALL_Fresco_Artists.htm
http://www.kroad.com/index.htm

Artist’s websites

http://www.bmdisyourfriend.com/
http://seekayem.com/
http://component.co.nz/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/DagarMedia/
http://elliotfrancisstewart.bigcartel.com/
http://ripeno.tumblr.com/  ENO
http://erinforsyth.wordpress.com/
http://ghstie.com/
http://www.disruptiv.com/ Jonny 4higher
http://micastill.com/
http://regantamanui.com/
http://www.wert159.com/
http://www.xoehall.co.nz/

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Snapshots NZ – KRoad, Ponsonby & Newmarket

Magda_C is back with another NZ update – this time she’s grabbed a bunch of pics of all the latest work around Auckland, from KRoad (Karangahape Road, but everybody calls it K Road) and the inner city suburbs of Ponsonby and Newmarket.

Some great New Zealand street art talent including Component, Cut Collective, Dager, EnforceOne, Enzo & Nio, Misery and Sofia Mainsen who Magda tells us

"Sofia Minson is a fine artist – and I think this is her only outside piece. It is a paste up of a painting she did of NZ musician Tiki Taane, consisting of multiple pieces. it’s HUGE and must have been quite a mission to get done!"

Very grand – big thanks to Magda_C for the snaps – check it all out!

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Snapshotz NZ – Corbans Estate Art Centre

We have another great new controbutor joining us this week, with Magda C sending us a bunch of great shots from over in NZ. Magda will be keeping us updated on what’s happening across the ditch – massive thanks and welcome! First , some of the finest New Zealand graffiti and street artists …

"The bulk of these pics were taken at Corban’s Estate Art Centre Open weekend in March when the TMD (The Most Dedicated) crew were hard at work in the outside graffiti area of the estate."

Artists painting the spot were Berst, Askew, Mark Henare, Haser, Deus, Dager, Benjamin Work and a bunch of others from the TMD crew (and friends).

Check out Magda_C on instagram here for more great shots!

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Live Art & Exhibition – All Fresco – Auckland – NZ

Aucklands K Road is infamous for its street art, and this group show, gathering together some of NZs coolest and finest, looks like it’ll be a great showcase of work – live!

As part of the running First Thursdays events, Alfresco will be a “rad street art festival up and down K’Rd, 10+ walls being painted by 10+ street artists from all around the country. Come watch these artists do what they do best LIVE in person and watch K’Road be transformed with colour across our walls”

“Karangahape Road is a long time home to art and cultural activity that doesn’t fit amongst the typical mainstream vernacular. It abounds with mythical figures and local legend from across multiple generations.

It is an area of Auckland that is fighting to retain all that is good about grit and grime, to celebrate the eccentric and erroneous. All the while ensuring that it remains a relevant and vital creative community that is recognised for its value as a rich depository of cultural artefact and activity.

All Fresco is both a response to the traditions of Krd, and to the paucity of street art in the Krd district. The character of a community is reflected in many things including the evidence of an engaged and ongoing public dialogue. And in an area noted for it’s character, a distinct lack of sites hosting relevant and revolving street art is something to be addressed.

The value of this event isn’t just in the opportunity it provides to artists, or even
the spectacle and experience it offers spectators. It’s in reestablishing and re-affirming the qualities of a part of our city that makes it the most well know, most notorious and fabled strip in the country.”

 

Thats a lot of wall space to be painted up on one single night, K’Rd is going to look mad!The week before his solo show, even HaHA will also be in Auckland on the night doing some live art for the opening!

There will also be an exhibition on the 2nd May at Method & Manners studios. Head down and see it if you’re anywhere near the North Island!

Check out the full press release here.
 

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Who: BMD, Eno, Erin Forsyth, Deus, Dagar, Mica Still, Wert159, Xoe Hall, HaHa,
What: Alfresco street art festival (First Thursdays event)
Where: Up and down K Road and Method and Manners studios, 6 Upper Queen Street, Auckland
When: Exhibition opens at 6pm til 9pm on 2nd May, and the paiting goes on from the 3rd, 4th and 5th.

Check out the Alfresco and First Thursdays website for more info!

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