Aaron Wexler’s exquisite work has been shown in exhibitions all over the world. His works are in numerous collections and he has lectured at several institutions, including The Drawing Center, NY, New School University, Penn State University, Christies Education, and The National Academy Museum, NY. Aaron’s work has been reviewed by The New York Times and featured in both catalogs and books.
Mood of Living Q & A
Mood of Living: Hometown:
Aaron Wexler: West Philadelphia, PA.
MoL: Where did you go to school?
AW: Undergrad – B.F.A., Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA. Grad – M.F.A. The School of The Art Institute of Chicago.
MoL: Current location:
AW: Very close to the very center of Brooklyn. On Cortelyou Rd. in one of Brooklyn’s most diverse neighborhoods.
MoL: Occupation Description:
MoL: Before your current occupation you were?
AW: Attempting to make an occupation out of what I do now. Although, my earliest occupational desires from childhood are as followed (not in any particular order) – Architect, Harlem Globe Trotter, Psychologist.
MoL: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
AW: A younger version of myself if asked 10 years ago where I’d be today, would probably get it all wrong. So here’s to speculation… Making art – partially outside the city, partially in the city. Mentoring/facilitating creative arts with youths in the non-private sector. Designing some form of furniture or just continuing the the lamps I design. Generally spending a lot of time in nature and having a garden.
“Nothing got in the way, nobody ever deterred me, it just seemed natural… like growth, like breathing.”
MoL: What inspired you to become an artist?
AW: Probably just being weird and finding a way to express that weirdness. However, thinking a little more analytically about the how and why I “became” an artist, has something to do with rhythm. Actually, this line of thinking has a relationship to the title of my recent solo show at Morgan Lehman. I think I just got into the rhythm of drawing and painting and making stuff, and it kept going and going onto what seemed like a natural progression. Nothing got in the way, nobody ever deterred me, it just seemed natural… like growth, like breathing.
MoL: Where and how did you learn your craft?
AW: It’s something that has evolved over time. While in art school, I learned how to dismantle craft in order to find a way of articulating my own voice. Economics, the lack of, had a lot to do with that. In undergrad I painted with mis-mixed rejected paint from hardware stores, in grad school I painted on scrap wood from the woodshop with dubiously acquired paint from the art supply store I worked at part-time. It was not until my early 30’s that I felt the appreciation of the craft, which is now really important to me. Given the fact that I went to two art institutions, in terms of physical craft, I feel pretty self-taught.
MoL: What medium do you like to work in?
AW: I really enjoy painting paper, then cutting apart that paper and applying it to rigid surfaces – so paint, paper, wood, adhesive.
Inverse of What’s Heavy and What’s Light series, 2013
MoL: You explore collaged print material in your work. How did this come about?
AW: Probably due to my dysfunctional relationship with paint. Years back I was making very hard-edge, flat paintings of flat shapes on canvas. I was treating paint like shaped color chips. Then I thought, “why not just cut colored paper and glue it on instead”? Eventually I started painting my own paper and collecting bits of print material that referenced paint or textiles and stared weaving it all together.
MoL: How would you describe your artwork and creative process?
AW: I liken my work to puzzles that are always unsolved, always concealing and revealing, loud and soft. When I’m in my best creative rhythm, I feel like an inventor inventing something new (if for nobody else, than myself) – I don’t think about other art, I don’t think about other artists, I’m making something like it’s the last thing I’ll every make.
MoL: Where do you look for inspiration?
AW: Nature, good design, music. Also, I listen to a lot of NPR programs that interview writers, directors, musicians, actors and historians.
MoL: My favorite quote is:
AW: Freud via Groucho Marx via Woody Allen: “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member”.
MoL: Who is an influential figure in your life?
AW: It would be very difficult and unfair to name only one. But I can say that I’ve been watching a lot of Julia Child’s “The French Chef” on Youtube lately.
MoL: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
AW: My sophomore year of highschool I had an english teacher (who also taught gym class) that spoke frequently about a sort of zen approach to learning balance. Not the kind of balance that you might do on one foot in yoga, more a philosophical approach to life. From whom: I think his name was Mr. Stephenson.
MoL: What period of art do you most admire?
AW: I love the idea of the Bauhaus around 1920 – 1930. The early non-commercial experimentation of art, design and architecture all together is really exciting the me.
MoL: When was the moment you realized you could really do this?
AW: Everyday it’s a surprise to me when I discover it!
From left to right: Net Work, 2014 / Untitled Audubon, 2014 / Untitled Pink, 2014
MoL: What is the message you hope to project through your artwork?
AW: Curiosity and Creativity.
MoL: Where do you go for peace of mind and spirit?
AW: Every morning I sit on the edge of my bathtub with my legs and feet inside and run hot water. During that time, I have a cup of coffee and focus on the the actions of what I need to do that day. It’s a form of meditation, kind of a mental rehearsal. A lot of professional musicians and athletes do a similar version.
Aaron Wexler’s home.
MoL: What advise can you give anyone that is interested in becoming an artist?
AW: You’re going to have to learn to be very flexible.
MoL: We find that people who make beautiful things are more likely to lead an artistic lifestyle. Do you spend much time creating a beautiful home?
AW: I design and fabricate lighting and furniture. I/we cook most nights and love having family and friends over.
All lamps are quality maple. Varying ply and dimension custom to any request.
All photos courtesy of the artist and Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York.