Interview with the Artist :: Aaron Moran Part 2

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In yesterday’s post, we explored how artist Aaron Moran came to work in his unique sculptural style, but the physical work itself has it’s own story to be told.

Moran salvages materials for his sculptures. He oftentimes finds wood from dilapidated, abandoned structures, and cuts it into smaller pieces, which he ultimately uses to create his artworks. In the video by Zara from yesterday’s post, Moran mentions the juxtaposition of “painting buildings and building paintings,” the latter phrase being the best descriptor of his work. It’s sculpture, and painting, and woodcraft, and in the end, he’s building a painting, oftentimes from pieces of a building that was already painted.

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So there exists a tension in his work between building and destruction. His raw materials come from broken down buildings. When he finds a piece of wood he likes, he breaks it down even further, cutting into a more wieldy size. And then, this doubly deconstructed piece is reconstructed, when he builds something new and beautiful from something forgotten and old.

Aaron Moran expounds on this much further in the following interview.

Your bio says that your art “draws attention to the inherent aftermath of growth.” What experiences in your life drew your attention to this idea, making it so important to you?

More than anything, growing up in a ‘small town’ and seeing it change so dramatically with the inclusion of strip malls, big box stores, condos, town homes, etc. It used to have charm, but now I don’t feel that it does. There is no culture there – not even a public art gallery. I think developers should be socially responsible and consider these things alongside the building of countless private residencies.

Do you think you have accomplished this with your art, highlighting the aftermath of growth for the viewers?

Perhaps. On one hand people enjoy the work aesthetically (for the most part) but many do not delve deeper into the issues surrounding it – which is OK for me because I respect all appreciations of art and find value in its creation on a personal level.

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You primarily use found materials for your work, which are inherently organic to some extent. Oftentimes in much of your work, the end result is very geometric. Why create such a juxtaposition?

It’s true that wood is an organic material, but it is being repurposed from construction sites which use it as a structural substrate. I think houses could be considered geometric in composition due to their hard lines. I just try to reconfigure the shattered piles of material back into something structural.

Are geometric forms a more natural outlet for you artistically?

I am drawn to geometry, and have always loved it. I love building things, and find it very satisfying to assemble fragments of material with precision. I suppose I feel it more challenging (personally) to create tight structures rather than compositions of organic shapes.

How does using found materials affect your creative process?

Because the material is found, I only have so much of it to work with. This means that the size is determined by how much I find, and the palette is influenced by whatever paint or patinas the material contains. Really, the material is everything.

Typically, your body of work has had a very distinct style, but more recently, I have noticed some sharp deviations, such as Imprint. What brought about this change? Do you feel you’re entering a new phase of your artistic life? 

I’ve always kept up with ‘other’ work, mostly drawing (which I usually self-publish in zines), but for the purposes of creating a tight portfolio, I have generally kept them separate. It seems like some of these tendencies are sneaking their way into the work more and more. I am excited to see how they may work together.

You were the artist in residence at Ranger Station Art Gallery from 2011-2012; what was your day to day life as an artist then, and what is it now? What significant changes have you noticed between the art you create now compared to before the residency?

I remained working during the residency (at a nearby university). More than anything it gave me space, time, and removed distractions. I was about 1 hour and 45 minutes from Langley, living alone with nobody nearby. It gave me the time to experiment around the clock, and while I don’t love every piece I created while there, it was responsible for creating a stepping stone for the work I create now.

From the Mountains & Mountains series by Aaron Moran and Russell LengFrom the Mountains & Mountains series by Aaron Moran and Russell Leng

In which piece of your art do you find the most significance?

I think my series Mountains & Mountains, just because it was the first time I felt that I had nailed what I was trying to do. I think the composition, titles, and concepts still make it one of my strongest series today.

Who and what are you primary influences as an artist?

I look at art every day, all the time so it’s a constantly growing list. However, a couple artists who always remain at the top of my list are Anish Kapoor, Michael Johansson, Juan Gris, and Kurt Schwitters. Also, booooooom is the first blog of my day.

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>> See more of Aaron Moran’s work at aaronsmoran.com
 

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