29, A Work of Art, by David Aragon

Have you ever had a death scare? Did you ever think that what you are doing now will be left behind for future generations? The latest masterpiece from David Aragon, the brains behind www.therosejournals.com, has created a book called "29" that stemmed from the idea that his time on earth would be coming to a close. The work vibrates with life. It's authentic. It's beautiful. It's moving. Sometimes death can get us to start moving and start living & expressing the way we truly want to. The time is now. 

Q+A with David Aragon about "29"

Q: What is this book? What is it about? Why did you make it?

A:  “29” is a compilation of short poems and abstract art.  

If I had to define a theme, it’s an exploration of the longing for something you know you already have.   

I made it because I thought I was dying and my top concern when I was engrossed in that thought was that I didn’t feel like I had anything to leave behind that defined who I am now.  Art, for me, is a form of communication that feels direct and clear, not in the sense that other people understand it (in the way you intended) - but in the sense that you share unfiltered, without the need to make sense.  I think that this makes producing things worthwhile - as you have gotten to say things in a container where context or understanding is irrelevent.  

Q: What inspires you?

A: I am in love with creation.  Creating is my social buffer — it’s a means of exposing myself and connecting intimately with people that feels comfortable for me.

Q: What do you do if you are having a creative block and need to get back into the flow?

A: I was once interviewing Amanda Chantal Bacon of Moon Juice and asked her how she made things happen and she said something like “there isn’t a constant stream of energy or inspiration - it’s just about getting up in the morning and doing it”.  That has definitely been resonant with me.  A lot of times it can feel like we have to wait for a spark of inspiration in order to do something, but life is one endless stream of infinate inspiration and experience.  So, it’s really more about becoming a vessel for that inspiration to channel through,  rather than waiting for a something outside of us to do it.  

I also think that a big block for creatives, or people in general, is the thought that it won’t be perfect or people won’t like it.  What has helped me get over this block is to understand that I’m not responsible for the perceptions of someone else.  I think that this is the most nourishing thing about art, it’s nothing more than a mirror…a medium for reflection.  The art in itself is neutral and actually irrelevant…it’s the viewer that brings the art to the creation.

Q: What were some of you favorite foods/drinks to snack on while making this book?

A: Endless herbal tea and infusions (most recently - nettle infusion on ice) and chocolate.  Marine phytoplankton in water.  Moon Juice fermented crisps with raw Wisconsin goat cheese.  

Q: What tools or programs do you make to use your artwork?

A: For the art in the book, I painted with acryllic on paper which is then scanned and digitally manipulated in Photoshop.  The poetry is also handwritten, so it is produced on paper and then made digital. 

Q: Could you describe your creative process to us?

A: A poem typically begins as one or two lines coming to me, or a series of words - and I just expound on that concept or feeling.  I always have a clear mood or thing that I’m trying to define.  

For the artwork, there really isn’t a process other than just being present with the paint and trying not to judge what happens.  I never have a concept of what I want made, I just go with the flow.  

Q: What are some of your favorite art books?

A: Anything by Miranda July, Louise Bourgeois, Tim Walker or Jesse Kanda

Q: What is your intention/dream/wish in putting this book out?

A:  My intention for this is to hopefully touch someone in a way they have never felt….to feed a part of the soul that was previously unknown.