Meet Aaron Carey – An Artist With a Unique Vision

By Jodi Truglio — December 18, 2012

“I was told my cartoonish style wasn’t art when I was in school so I stopped taking art classes, but I didn’t stop drawing,” says Aaron Carey, the talented artist behind the interactive touch books Phatty Bee Scribbles.

According to Carey, his desire to want to improve as an artist and learn his craft is what drove him in his early days as a struggling artist.  “I may not have been good enough in their opinion back then, but yesterday is still just a day.  As long as I’m working to be better today, I’ve made a great investment in my tomorrow.  I’ll get better with time and practice.”

Recently, Aaron Carey was kind enough to take some time out his busy day to answer a few questions for Global Looking Glass.

What work of art that you have created are you most proud of?  
I think I am most proud of the painting “Midnite Funk”.  In the summer of 2011, it was stolen from a gallery in Pomona, CA.  It felt like someone stole my woman. I think it forced me to appreciate the authenticity of an original piece and the love invested… it also taught me how to let go.

What artistic style do you gravitate to?
I gravitate to freestyle. I think someone’s artistic style is unique to his or her personal experiences.  I like it all.

What inspires you?  
Life, people and music inspire me most.  I think there’s a mathematic harmony like music and color that people move to.  It’s fascinating to experience; the subtlest expressions have movement, and the fluidity of it all is dope!!

What is your favorite material/tools to work with and why?  
I love everything I can get my hands on pretty much, and all for different reasons.  The #2 pencil is an all time favorite; it’s like my first kiss!  Charcoal is loose and pliable…I love how it moves.  Painting is my peace; I use acrylic because it dries fast…paintings take on a life of their own because of the layers, texture, depth, time…the list goes on.  The best thing about all of it is the lack of parameters involved.

How has having MS influenced your art?  
I think without MS I would not have sat still long enough to realize my potential.  Up until the age of 21, I primarily earned money through teaching martial arts, dance or fitness; everything I was ever paid to do was a result of my physical ability. MS made me realize I had so many more abilities than the ones being taken away from me.  Phatty B. is a product of my diagnosis; he’s the artist with talent and ability much greater than the sum of his disabilities.

Who are your heroes?  
My parents. They created an environment that allowed me to become who I am while providing everything necessary for me to succeed in the process.

I read somewhere that street artists have largely influenced your style of art. Can you tell me which ones you admire?
I have an admiration for all street artists, performance and visual.  When I would paint on Venice Beach, I would meet a handful of artists daily that did amazing work.  I hate to judge, but my admiration for artists comes with the person as much as their work.  Norm Maxwell and Justin Bua are two of the dopest artists I know; beyond that, they’re two great men who stay connected to the youth and lend a helping hand to those trying to get better.

One of my favorite pictures you have on your website is the Marley one because his eyes and smile have so much life. What inspired your artistic direction with that picture?  
I was really just trying to do a good job capturing his likeness.  I was looking at a black and white picture of him online and wanted to convey a happiness and freedom he represents, using the colors of Jamaica.  At the time, I was more worried about being able to paint it on a large canvas. (40in.X30in.)

As an artist, what challenges have you faced?  
The biggest challenge is being an artist! There’s no blueprint for being an artist; at least not in my opinion…not the road I traveled.  I’m the kid who wanted to be an artist/cartoonist and my teacher said my work wasn’t art.  So, I got my degree, got a job and worked in the corporate bubble working magic in Microsoft Excel…there’s a blueprint for that.  The one for an artist is a lot like Hollywood…juggling life and struggling.

What is behind the Phatty Bee book collection? How did it come to be?
Phatty Bee Scribbles” was originally intended to be an animated program based on a young bee’s artistic vision to create and explore a fun world for learning.  I worked with Interactive Touch Books to bring him to life and put him in the hands of kids with access to iPads and iPhones.  There are more books in the pipeline; they will be just as much of a game as a tool for reading and learning.

Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Not really. I thought I did because my dad was a graphic artist… but I didn’t know what that meant.  I have never really felt accepted as an artist; there are people who are extremely skilled and educated in the arts and can speak all kinds of fancy, but in a lot of ways I feel like I’m still on the outside looking in.  I can’t stop what comes out of my brain, pencil, paintbrush, fingertips, etc. Its all very much freestyle for me; Phatty B. Scribbles.

Carey’s work will be on exhibit at his alma mater, UC Santa Barbara, from Jan. 16 through March 22, 2013. He will be appearing there on Jan. 31.


Courtesy Images: Aaron Carey 

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