T-Files 036: Aaron De La Cruz
After spotting the work of Aaron De La Cruz over on La Brea a few years back, I was hooked. The super talented SF-based artist was kind enough to take the time to chop it up with me about his art, so read on to find out more about the man behind the geometric madness.
Where are you today? As of now I am currently sitting in my home (San Francisco) in front of a damn computer, thanks to you.
Ha! What else are you working on? Actually, I have been losing sleep, trying to figure out what I am going to do for my LA show. I have the main idea down for the show but getting the work done is the part that needs to happen.
What was your introduction to art? Seeing my older brother draw and do graffiti was my first memory to self expressive art. I really wanted to always be better than him as a kid so I would copy all of his drawings. He would customize everything he had from pee-chee folders to skate decks back in the mid ’80s. For example, he would take the Santa Cruz logo and replace “Santa” with “De La,” and I thought it was the coolest thing.
When did you decide to pursue it as a career? Right before I moved out of my hometown Fresno, CA so I guess around the year 2000. I was already doing art years before and making some money off of it, but really pushing myself as an artist and finding a style was something I wanted to do and getting out Fresno at the time was something I had to do. I come from a working class family and never had any artist (who made a career out of it) as friends or family. Working was something I had to do and my art was something I wanted to do so for me there was no choice but to make a career out of it.
Are you formally trained? I like to think so. I went to CCAC for three years and received my BFA in illustration.
Are there any themes or concepts you’re exploring in your work? Well for the past year it has really been working with black as a primary medium. I like to look at my work as a simple tag on a wall but just pushed as far as I can take it. I love working minimal right now, it allows me to really look at my work and see each stroke or line. I have been exploring 3D for some time now and like the relationship I have found with my current body of work and having it transition from a flat mark to an object.
Where did you develop this passion for heavy lines and geometric patterns? Growing up I always challenged myself to draw city buildings as a young child. My parents would take us to the garment district in Los Angeles every summer to get school clothes and I just remember being in awe of the huge buildings along with all the graffiti that came along with it. I would draw from memory the best I could to recreate these structures and by doing so caused me to draw alot of geometric shapes. There are so many influences but that is one that came to my head.
Where else do you find inspiration? Thinking about my past and people I have interacted with, and buildings still.
Art-wise, did you have some kind of big break? I would have to say the big break came when I was called by DJ Clark Kent to work on a custom Air Force 1 shoe for a show in New York. Huge thank you to the folks at Hypebeast for posting my work which is where CK saw the shoes I was doing at the time.
Nice. What are some of the major highlights in your career so far? Showing my Mom and Dad what art can look like, calling my Grandmother from Hong Kong and telling her that I was having a show there weeks before she passed, meeting and working with people I once looked up to in the past. But the best so far was being able to recreate my old bedroom for my first solo exhibit “Long Walk Home” which was nice because my brother was able to draft up the design.
Where would you like to take your art next? I want people to physically interact with it (touch it move, within it).
What’s in the works for 2012? Jewelry and maybe more color…..maybe.