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. 
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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! 

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. 

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Downtown Los Angeles, CA
High above the crisp regency patterns of the lobby at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles — every detail carefully selected by our old friends at Commune Design, with eastern light glossing every surface — something a little looser begins to take shape.
Artists Simon and Nikolai Haas are hard at work on a larger-than-life mural populated by intimate pencil drawings of figures and landscapes both familiar and forgotten, like ancient film stills burned into into a projection screen long after the last pair of eyes to appreciate it has left the theater. It’s a visual history of Hollywood closer to hieroglyphics than hi-def graphics.
The hallucinatory zeal of the Haas Brothers’ custom fabrications has won them high-profile commissions on the order of Versace, Guerlain and Gaga, but it was the simplicity of Simon’s fast, freehand portraits and sketches that drew the attention of Commune co-founder Roman Alonso when imagining ways to give these blank lobby walls an unexpected, vital role in the new space. 
The drawings themselves are neither fully immersive nor entirely remote, highlighting the compromising situations our cultural icons occasionally tumble into. The brothers “present, rather than venerate” their subject matter, yielding interpretation over exaltation as history continues to write itself, with or without us.
Article by Christopher MauldinPhotos by Jacqueline Bao

Downtown Los Angeles, CA

High above the crisp regency patterns of the lobby at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles — every detail carefully selected by our old friends at Commune Design, with eastern light glossing every surface — something a little looser begins to take shape.

Artists Simon and Nikolai Haas are hard at work on a larger-than-life mural populated by intimate pencil drawings of figures and landscapes both familiar and forgotten, like ancient film stills burned into into a projection screen long after the last pair of eyes to appreciate it has left the theater. It’s a visual history of Hollywood closer to hieroglyphics than hi-def graphics.

The hallucinatory zeal of the Haas Brothers’ custom fabrications has won them high-profile commissions on the order of Versace, Guerlain and Gaga, but it was the simplicity of Simon’s fast, freehand portraits and sketches that drew the attention of Commune co-founder Roman Alonso when imagining ways to give these blank lobby walls an unexpected, vital role in the new space. 

The drawings themselves are neither fully immersive nor entirely remote, highlighting the compromising situations our cultural icons occasionally tumble into. The brothers “present, rather than venerate” their subject matter, yielding interpretation over exaltation as history continues to write itself, with or without us.

Article by Christopher Mauldin
Photos by Jacqueline Bao


Ace New Yorker Natalie Lomeli captured our imagination with her proposal for a mural in room 424 at the hotel — and this is what she created. You have the key to our hearts, Natalie.


Erin Garcia action shot by Kim Anh — new mural on the Commune wall at Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs. More updates to come.

Erin Garcia action shot by Kim Anh — new mural on the Commune wall at Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs. More updates to come.


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