Palm Springs, CA
INTERVIEW: AARON DE LA CRUZ
Aaron de la Cruz is currently mid-mural-painting on the Commune wall at Ace Hotel & Swim Club as part of Desert Gold 2014. The San Francisco-based artist’s background is rooted in street art, and the way he shapes and improvises movement in his work gives it wonderfully deep texture and context. Through his use of lines and space he manages to evoke a unique intertextual roadmap by connecting the dots between modern linguistic text along with pre-Columbian Mayan art and contemporary life on the west coast. That is, we’re very proud to be working again with him. His mural is almost ready for you to vibe on all year long at Ace Hotel & Swim Club.
Part of your process seems to involve being in the moment when you are painting some of your site-specific work. You’ve spoken in interviews about letting your feelings, thoughts and the environment around you influence where you take your work. What sort of preparations do you make leading up to putting paint to surface? Do you have a color palate?
It really depends on the project as far as how I’m going to determine the outcome of the piece I’m going to create. For this project, I really wanted to focus on my ethnic background — being of Mexican descent. My source of color palette inspiration was a cup of fruit that you would buy from a vendor on the street in Mexico. After spending the first day here on location, I got to meet some of the staff here. Most of them happen to be Latino (or part-Latino) and I knew I had made the right decision.
Does your work have an agenda? Do you have a goal or focus as an artist?
As far as my work having an agenda I would say that I really try to push myself to work within a limited amount of mediums. For now I like to challenge myself to see what I can do with that. Having a goal and a focus as an artist is a must. I am always trying to find ways to tell a story with my work that has to do with my family or myself. The more I become dependent on my works supporting what I do, the more I feel it’s only right to share what I have with an audience who wants to listen. I would like to see my work become more three-dimensional (architectural/industrial design) and even do some earthworks as well.
What is your process for navigating your own artistic concerns or goals when it comes to doing commissioned pieces? Is having constraints helpful in your work, or a hindrance?
For the most part it’s been really easy to work in commission pieces. I find that while most people I work with are really open and let me do what I want, I do give them a sense of direction that I will be going in. I enjoy some pushback at times as it causes me to work in an uncomfortable setting that I have to make right. I have worked with Ace Hotel before on a print we did along with Arkitip, and the response was great, so making this mural project happen wasn’t difficult at all.
Lots of people will be walking by your mural over the next year, taking photos with it, tagging it online. Is there anything you’d like to have these people take away from the mural — something connective, or a feeling?
I want the working staff of Ace Hotel & Swim Club to know that this is their mural and it’s influenced by the culture of their community that they have created. The designs I’ve chosen for this mural were influenced by the style of architecture here, and I wanted the designs to have a sense of calm, since my color palette was so loud. As for people taking pictures and capturing a feeling, I guess I will let nature takes its course and see what happens!