Adriana Scott from Chaos Mag just posted this interview with our upcoming artist Aaron Nagel, whose show Bastion will open in the SG Project Space on June 8th. A self-taught painter and autodidact of art history, his personal interest in 16th and 17th century painting greatly informs his hyper-realist style. The interview covers his artistic influences, which range from living artists such Kim Cogan and Jeremy Mann, to Catholic iconography: “I gravitate toward religious art. Sixteenth and 17th century are my favorites because of the culture of the time. [Artists] were paid to paint religious paintings, endorsed by the church or made by zealots. I’m really not religious at all. In a way, I’m repurposing the imagery. For me, the closest thing to a godlike figure would be women. I’m kind of taking that imagery and using that for my own means.”
Bastion, New Works by Aaron Nagel
Opening Reception – June 8, 2013, 7-11 pm
On View Through June 29, 2013
@ Shooting Gallery Project Space (www.shootinggallerysf.com/project-space)
886 Geary Street, San Francisco CA 94109
Follow the jump for photos and excerpts from the interview with Chaos Mag.
AS: Do you have any particular process when creating art for a show?
AN: The act of preparing for that first show got me into a space where I could paint for a certain series. I never considered the art ready for show. I didn’t know how to go about [preparing for] it, either. My excuse for not pursuing showing was I didn’t think the artwork was ready. For any given show, I’m less excited about half of it. I always think I can do a better job. I find that’s pretty similar for other artists. It’s not perfectionism or anything, but a lot of artists are overly critical of their own art.
AS: Is there a specific look you are trying to achieve when you work with your models?
AN: I tend to want the models to look kind of statuesque. Not necessarily aggressive, but powerful, especially for the poses that I may put arrows in them. The idea is that they’re not affected by it. It’s kind of a more godly theme.
AS: Some people may be sensitive to the combination of religious symbolism and nude women in one painting. Have you been approached by people who find your work exploitative?
AN: Some people will see the arrows and stigmata wounds and see it as violence toward women, which is the opposite of what I want to do. People are sensitive to that. People have never criticized me directly but people will talk on message boards. I find it entertaining. I’m not discounting what they’re feeling about it, (because) it tells me more about those people than my own art. If one source is criticizing the use of nude women and another is defending the use of nude women, it’s more telling about those people and not about the work. It speaks to how people feel about themselves in general.
AS: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in the professional world?
AN: I worked in offices and did more normal work things in between [music] tours. I could just tell that that’s something I did not want to get stuck doing. Working in an office in a 9-to-5 or 48 hours-per-week job was not for me. The thing I learned was that you don’t have to do that stuff if you are smart about it and take the time to plan and learn and do whatever you need to do. You meet people who are just kind of miserable in their job and being miserable 48 hours per week is way too much. I’m realistic about it, and I know I have to supplement with something that makes money, but I don’t have to settle for some kind of job where I’m not working on my own terms as much.