From as far back as I can remember, I’ve always felt different. There is a standing joke, between my mom and myself from when I was little, I would ask her, “Mom, where did I come from?” and to this day she still replies.. “You grew up in the garden and birds used to pee and poop on you to make you grow.” I don’t know if being different is a blessing or a curse but I found my path through art.
Aaron Chine is an amazing artist from N.E. Ohio. Born and raised in this area, Aaron has loved art since an early age. He has always known that this was what he wanted to do in life. Through his journey of self expression, he has traveled many roads, developed several creative skills and have met many interesting people. It has been a rough journey but it has also been a rewarding one, because he spends everyone of his moments in life doing what he loves to do. Whether spending time, painting, drawing, tattooing, sculpting or just spending quality time with his friends, family, fans and his community, Aaron shares his passion with everyone he meets, and it’s contagious. I have not had the pleasure of meeting Aaron Chine, but I have learned a lot about what he loves and how much hard work goes into what he does. At the end of the day, it’s not about fame, money or recognition, its about expressing his emotion through his work. I have had the pleasure of asking him some questions about himself and his work and I always enjoy reading the answers because it brings me closer to my fellow artists through their own voice. If you have never seen Aaron Chine’s work follow the links below and please enjoy the interview Aaron has so kindly and eagerly blessed us with. Please follow his Facebook page to find out more about his newest Art Show “Two Stories, One Show”
Enjoy the interview!
ECIM: Almost everyone paints or draws as a kid. What was it about your life that pulled you back to that pencil and paper every time?
AARON: I was always drawing as a kid and took very little time off from it throughout my life. I’m a very anxious person and even little things always effected me more than they should have, drawing was always that calming/soothing light for me. I always had a sketch book with me and still do, and anytime I was stressed or depressed I just take out my sketch book and find peace in drawing what was in my head. I guess that’s why it has always been a constant for me it’s kind of like my therapy.
ECIM: Was there ever a time, when people would tell you to stop fooling around and figure out what you want to be in life?
AARON: Yes, although my family has been my biggest support system throughout my artistic career there were times growing up that they would say,”what do you want to be when you grow up?” First off I’m 34 years old and still do not plan on “growing up”. Secondly my answer has never changed I’ve always known that art was the only thing I could do to be truly happy. There is a standing joke with my dad that anytime I experience any form of mild success I ask my dad, “who’s doodles are stupid now dad?”
ECIM: How much support did you receive from your friends and family for your art?
AARON: Like I said, my friends and family have always been super supportive. I come from an old school Italian family so it was definitely hard for my parents to realize/accept that I could actually make a living doing art. Now that they see its possible with a shit ton of hard work to make a modest living doing what I love they are my biggest fans and that has been one of the most rewarding things about this whole venture. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to open people’s minds to new things especially when it’s the people that you love.
ECIM: You attended YSU for three years before deciding that you were taking the wrong path to reach your goal. Were you right? Tell us a little about that day, and how it lead you here.
AARON: I’ve been asked this question in interviews before and in always feel weird answering honestly because I don’t want to discourage people from going to college but it definitely wasn’t for me. I was on my way to YSU one morning and was behind a car that had a bumper sticker that read “nice fucking haircut poser” I looked in my rear view mirror and seen a person I didn’t even recognize. I turned my car around and never went back. Art is something that lives inside of you, sure they can teach you theory and technique but those are things I wanted to learn organically through trial and error. I didn’t want to paint the way I was taught I wanted to develop my own style and process without the influence of a professor or how someone else says its supposed to be done.
ECIM: Where do you think you would be if you would have continued down that road? Who are some of your biggest influences in your life?
AARON: I honestly think had I continued my education and got my degree I would not even be doing art right now. For me art is freedom, it’s the only thing I was better than other people at, and if I would have given in and did it the way they tell us to it would have made it like everything else in this world, dirty. I want to keep my art and my process as clean and natural as possible and refuse to let society tell me how to do so. My biggest influence would be Dali, from childhood I would look at his work and realize I can paint whatever is in my twisted head and not have to be embarrassed about it. His work made me see that you can take any surreal concept no matter how weird and make it beautiful.
ECIM: You have done a lot of work around Warren, and recently Chicago, big murals, and sculptures. What is it about this town that makes you want to stay involved in the community?
AARON: People often ask “why don’t you move to a bigger city?” The reason I stay in warren is because of the people. When I moved out here I met some amazing people I’m lucky to call my friends. Also I believe that if your work is good enough you can be as big as you want no matter where you live. I’ve always rooted for the underdog and would feel much more satisfied knowing I stuck to what I believe in and made it as an artist in a town that people said wasn’t possible. I also strive artistically in a town where things aren’t always “perfect” or “pretty” , I paint what I feel in life and life isn’t always “perfect” or “pretty”.
ECIM: What would you say has been your toughest struggle on your journey to self discovery?
AARON: When I make art I go to a different place in my head, the toughest struggle has been realizing the difference between real world and that distant place I go to when I create. My mind is so open and free when I make art and sometimes it takes a while to switch my thought process back to reality. Sometimes after I’m done painting I will literally just sit there and give my mind time to adjust back to the real world. I feel like I live two different lives, one on canvas and one on earth.
ECIM: Not only do you paint amazing stories, but you sculpt, weld, tattoo, what else can you do?
AARON: I try to do all forms of art as each different medium sets me free in a different way. Art isn’t just pencil and paper or skin and ink, it’s freedom. Art is the freedom to create something visually that expresses who you are and tells a story that hasn’t been told before. I made the decision years ago that if I was going to chase this dream I was going to go full steam ahead, my promise to myself was to make as much art as I could as best that I could in all mediums and never look back. I don’t want to be on my death bed one day and look back wishing I would have done things differently. I just want to make the world a more beautiful place with no regrets.
ECIM: What was your inspiration for opening Guerilla Gallery, and what does the name signify? What inspired your work on Dave Grohl Alley?
AARON: My inspiration for opening the Guerilla Gallery was to set a stage with no rules for myself and other young artists like myself to show our work without having to compromise our beliefs or work to what someone else thought was acceptable. Most of the other galleries in the area are run by older people with lots of money and I would rather not show my work than be motivated by money or politics. It has never been about money for me it’s always been about being able to express myself and not hold back.
I was inspired to put my work in Dave Grohl Alley because it was a public space that people could enjoy my work anytime of the day. It’s very rewarding to know that my work in the alley has become a sense of community pride and a place that people come from all over to enjoy. I always think about the things that inspired me as a kid to want to be an artist and like to imagine there is some kid out there that doesn’t fit in but walks through the alley and is inspired to make art and sees that there is more to life than what they teach you in school.
ECIM: Again, on skin, you’re creating a story, this time it’s about the canvas. How long have you been shooting ink, and what is the process for creating some of the great pieces you have done?
AARON: I have been tattooing for about 10 years. I remember the first time I walked into a shop and was shocked at the process, you would walk in and pick a design off the wall and then get it tattooed on you. I knew even from a young age that I wanted to do tattoos but wanted to do it way different. People take the time to customize there cars, haircuts, wardrobe, ect. But not a piece of art that you would wear for the rest of your life, it seemed a little crazy to me. My process for tattooing is that people come into my shop and verbally tell me their ideas, I think/sketch out ideas until I come up with a concept that both the client and myself will be proud of for a lifetime. If people were still getting Tasmanian devils I would not be tattooing.
ECIM: Tell us a little about the Art Show you are putting on this August.
AARON: The art show we are putting on in August is a very special project for me. It will be 2 floors of paintings,sculptures, and murals.i feel that my entire life and struggle as an artist has led up to this show. We are not just putting up a bunch of random paintings and having a show, we have developed over the past year a concept and storyline that we are very proud of and can’t wait to show off. It is a story of life, the good,bad,and beautiful represented through our visual creations.
ECIM: You’ve recently posted that you were filming a documentary about your year long struggle with your friends to put on this amazing show. You also mentioned that you were moving locations after. Can you elaborate more on what’s in store for the future of Guerilla Gallery?
AARON: When my friend and artist Thad Minnick and myself decided a year ago to put on this show we knew it was going to be special and wanted to document our journey. We got together with our friends Tom Ross and Brad Kolasinski from Clear Choice Creative and decided to make a documentary about putting on a show of this magnitude. I’ve put on many of these shows in the past and knew it wasn’t going to be easy and knew that all 3 of them would want to kill me at many points along the way. I’m a very difficult person to work with and knew that this show would possibly break me and it almost did,that is why I wanted to capture the struggle on film. People come to a 3 hour Art show but don’t realize what goes into making it happen so we thought it was important to document the ups and downs. The film is about the show but also about the personal struggles that happen along the way. Your life doesn’t get put on hold for a year when doing a show, you go through so many good and bad times and often your life the night of the show is much different than it was at the beginning of the journey and the film tells the whole story.
Yes this will be the last show in the space for personal and professional reasons. The building the gallery is in now has a special place in my heart but like all good things must come to an end. I am going to be moving the gallery after this show as It is time for a fresh start and and a new chapter in my life. My grandpa used to always say “when life gives ya lemons, make lemonade.” I’m nervous but excited to see what the future hold for me and my career but if there was ever a show to close out a chapter of my life this is the one!
ECIM: Tell us a little about some of the things you hold true to yourself, no matter what your situation is, like your family.
AARON: Being true to myself no matter what curve balls life throws at me is the most important thing to me. I refuse to let any person or situation derail me. People are gonna disappoint you, stab you in the back, hurt you, and try to break your spirit but how you handle those hard times are what make you who you are. I lost track of what is important for a while and will never let it happen again. I have amazing friends and family and a gift to give to the world so that is my focus. I got where I am by being a good person and through my art and for that I am proud and grateful .
“There is only one difference between me and a madman, I’m not mad” -Dali
Here is the official site for the documentary “Behind the Brush”
Or click here to pre-order your DVD or tickets for the film.
This documentary will be playing at:
Encore Cinema, 930 Great East Plaza
Niles, OH, 44446
Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 7pm
To learn more about Aaron Chine and his work, check out these links below.
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