1xRun Thru Interview
The Harbor Master by Aaron Glasson
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this piece, is the original still for sale?
Aaron Glasson: The original piece was created using acrylic and gouache on wood panel. Yes, the original, along with 3 other pieces, is for sale along with this print.
1xRun: Was this piece part of a recent theme, series or show that you had? If so how did it fit into that given grouping?
Aaron Glasson: I painted this for a recent exhibition curated by PangeaSeed at Hero Complex Gallery in Los Angeles, the film Jaws was the theme of the show. PangeaSeed is an ocean conservation organization that I volunteer as creative director for, and proceeds from the show went to shark conservation. Around 100,000,000 are killed annually for their fins, for shark fin soup. Jaws sounds like a funny theme, considering how badly the film demonized sharks, but the response was amazing. The opening was packed, and I met a lot of shark fans that claimed that Jaws sparked their love for sharks. There was around one hundred artists in the show, and everything was inspired by the film.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Artist: My piece for the show was one of few that didn’t put the shark as the focal point. I had actually never seen the film, so I watched it for the first time and had really mixed feelings about it. It was cool in some ways, but I also thought it was ridiculous, which I think comes across in the painting. I incorporated some aspects of the film that I found interesting or funny, with some important objects and scenes that maybe only a Jaws fans would get. At the same time I didn’t want to paint a Jaws painting that only Jaws fans would like or could take something from.
The Harbor Master in the painting only appears for about five seconds, for no apparent reason, smoking a pipe carrying a cereal box and milk. It made me laugh and I think he is a pretty good representation of salty sea dog, and the humor of the film. Rather than the milk and cereal mine carries the dead shark, and Brody’s house. (Spoiler alert! Brody is a main character that wants the shark dead, and ultimately kills Jaws.) If you look really close you can see the remains of an ancient shark buried under his house. This was reference to the fact that although we don’t often acknowledge it, sharks have been on earth a lot longer than us, playing their critical part in the ecosystem. In the Harbor Master’s forehead is the first scene of the film when Jaws gets his first victim. In the background is the final scene when the boat sinks. There are a lot of other things going on in between it could be fun to watch the film, then look at the painting.
1xRun: How long did the piece take?
Aaron Glasson: I don’t know how many hours exactly, but probably around 50. I worked on this painting on and off for a month.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece?
Aaron Glasson: This is the first painting I’ve had turned in to a print. It’s a very special and monumental occasion or me.
1xRun: Why should people buy this print?
Aaron Glasson: People should buy this print because it’s beautiful, will make their homes more homey, and the money is going to a good cause. I spend my money wisely. I don’t buy things I don’t need or gamble. I try not to use plastic or eat creatures with eyes. Also money enables me to exist and work with PangeaSeed, which is educating the masses about how important the ocean is and how we all have to work actively to conserve it.
1xRun: When did you first start making art? What was your first piece?
Aaron Glasson: I’ve made art consistently since I could hold a crayon. It’s an abstract circular form, crayon on paper. The sun, a ball, or nipple might have inspired it. Though Iím not sure as I was young so I don’t remember what I was going for.
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on? What artists inspire you now?
Aaron Glasson: The first artists I can remember being really inspired by were unintentionally introduced to me by my mother. She had these old posters by Friedensreich Hundertwasser hanging around the house. There was one above our toilet that I spent a lot of time with. She also had these books on Salvador Dali that I loved. My mum paints too, so that was inspiring to be around, and she always encouraged me. When I was in high school she took me to see a retrospective exhibition of works by Bill Hammond, a legendary painter from New Zealand. I remember seeing that really made the concept of being an artist tangible to me.
As for now, I’m really inspired by my friends more than anyone. I fatefully met Spencer Keeton Cunningham while traveling in Argentina some years ago. We have been close friends since and have made a lot of good things together. His painting method is so raw and different from mine so it’s always interesting to watch or collaborate with him. I love his films too, and the sheer volume of films he makes with so little is really inspiring. Also I recently met and painted with Skinner at Pow!Wow! Hawaii. I’ve admired his work for a long time so that was awesome. He was inspiring with so much positive energy and clever wit. He is one the most hilarious, intelligent, and prolific people I know.
Celeste Byers (below) is definitely one of my favorite artists and I feel incredibly blessed to have her in my life. I think she has a profound ability to translate the often overlooked, organic wonder of life into art. It exudes her personality and a sublime experience. If you haven’t seen or heard her work you should check it out! It might help you look at existence in a different more extraordinary way.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?
Aaron Glasson: I listen to music, I feel like it fills a spot that drawing can’t. I listen to a variety of stuff, it depends on what I’m feeling or making. Music has so much power to set the mood and direction so I usually choose carefully what I put in my ears. I also listen to Ted Talks, interviews, documentaries and the radio online. I like NPR, “This American Life” and friend recently introduced me to The Moth.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why? Any deceased artists?
Aaron Glasson: It’s a boring answer but I’m happy collaborating with all the people I am already. It’s also hard to choose just one person in this world of so many talented and interesting people. I can say I like what the Beehive Collective do and would love to work with them one day. hey get artists together to collaborate on alternative educational materials. I’d love to work with a musician on their album cover or music video, it would be cool to collaborate with a dead one. I’d say Nina Simone she seemed like a nice women.
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it? The last?
Aaron Glasson: I think it was circular saw blade with a stencil of lotus flower on it that my friend Sam Rulzís made. I still have it. The last was a print that I bought from KozynDan called Rainbow Narwhal Spirit Animal. It’s of transparent Narwhal with a unicorn inside. The Narwhal’s horn is actually from the unicorn. I think it’s saying this is where Narwhals get their horns.