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    Aaron Scott

    Aaron Scott

    1. Where were you born and where are you from ?

    I was born and raised in the woods of Southern Oregon, near the California border. I lived there until I went to college.

    2. What is your first memory connected to the art world ?

    When I was nine or ten my grandmother gave me a book of M.C. Escher drawings. I was fascinated by Escher’s use of distorted perspective and optical illusions. The idea that perceptual laws could be bent to create a more expansive or imaginative notion of space appealed to me and made me want to experiment with the limits of perspective, volume and form.

    3. Have you always worked in the art/design field ?

    I have always made art, but it wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I realized I could earn a living by making ‘functional art’.

    4. What led you to the design creation ?

    I studied art and philosophy in school – I never took a single design or architecture class. I didn’t pay much attention to design during the the first ten years or so I lived in NYC, and the objects I made were exclusively for art. My sculptures, which were sometimes used as elements in installations or conceptual art pieces, had gradually started to resemble utilitarian objects. Around the same time, people started asking me to build them things. I realized that there might be some overlap between the so-called artistic and the utilitarian and that my thinking about space and form was well-suited to design. Establishing limits is important in art, and I discovered I liked the constraints imposed by design: that the object, no matter how eccentric or expressive, still had to be capable of performing a function.

    5. How would you describe your creative process and it influences ?

    My creative process is organic and non-linear. Drawing and sculpting are important to my practice, but these often occur fairly late in the game. I spend a lot of time walking, reflecting and daydreaming; I try to open myself to ideas that occur through randomness and chance. Concepts born from these more aleatory moments usually bounce around in my head for a long time before I sit down to actually sketch them out. Occasionally a specific idea motivates research in a new direction – for instance, recently I became interested in the geological process of erosion, and I needed to learn about the geomorphology of erosion before embarking on design ideas.

    6. Could you describe a typical day of your work ?

    I usually spend my mornings at home, reading, writing, and working on my computer. I arrive at my studio in Dumbo in the early afternoon. I’m often occupied with multiple projects at once – for example, right now I’m working on a couple of different commissions while at the same developing a new design for a lighting piece. Because many of my pieces involve a lot of gluing and clamping, I tend to jump from task to task in the studio. I might set something up to glue and then work on sculpting or sanding a piece that’s further along. I also take breaks to play the drums.

    7. Why did you choose the specific materials you work with ?

    I have always had a deep appreciation for wood – its colors, textures, patterns, smells, along with its structural/engineering possibilities. My father was a builder, and working with him in his wood shop gave me a hands-on understanding of the material characteristics of wood. For me wood is a plastic medium that lends itself to infinite design possibilities. I consider it a great privilege to be able to work with such a rich, beautiful and endlessly fascinating material on a daily basis.

    8. What are the technical particularities of your creations ?

    Since the early 2000s I’ve worked almost exclusively with stacked-laminate construction, a technique that relies on the careful laying- out of alternating grain patterns on parallel pieces of wood, overlapped in successive layers to build out a form. This is a process that is both additive and subtractive: once the layers are laminated together in a stair-like or topographical form, they are sculpted with handheld power tools to obtain the final, smooth surface. If engineered properly the stacked-laminate method can achieve outstanding strength and stability, while at the same time allowing for delicate curves and sinuous lines.

    9. What advices could you give to beginning artists who would like to create sculptural design works ?

    I think it’s important not to rely too heavily on computers. 3D rendering programs are a great tool for aiding in the design process, but I worry that they can short-circuit the development of an idea. I’d also encourage young artists to take risks and not be afraid to make mistakes – it might seem like a cliche, but mistakes are the best way to learn, and breakthroughs often come by way of accident.

    10. If your works had to belong to a design movement, in which one would you define it ?

    I don’t believe my work belongs to any particular design movement.

    11. What designers and artists have influenced you ?

    Gerrit Rietveld, le Corbusier, Carlo Mollino, Eileen Grey, Franco Albini, Gio Ponti, Lebbeus Woods.

    12. What contemporary designers do you appreciate ?

    Wendell Castle, Verhoeven Twins, Charles Treyelyan, Mauro Mori, Amorph Design.

    13. What contemporary artists (in any kind of art) have you been inspired by ?

    Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, Guiseppe Penone, Ruth Asawa, Olafur Eliasson, Ron Nagle, Louise Bourgeois, Martin Puryear.

    14. If you had to summarize your creations in one word or sentence, what would it be ?

    Dynamism

    15. Is there anything you would like to add?

    Even though all my pieces are made in my studio, following my own inspirations and techniques, design is always a collaborative process in some respects. Working with clients who understand what I’m doing with my work and want to use it in new or challenging ways on a project is something I enjoy.

    Proust Questionnaire with very short answers (one or a few words) :
    (The Proust Questionnaire is a set of questions answered by the French writer Marcel Proust. Other historical figures who have answered confession albums are Oscar Wilde, Karl Marx, Arthur Conan Doyle, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Cézanne…)

    1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

    Not sure it exists

    2. What is your greatest fear?

    Ecological collapse

    3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

    Overly-analytical

    4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

    Hypocrisy

    5. Which living person do you most admire?

    Daniel Dennett

    6. What is your greatest extravagance?

    Shoes

    7. What is your current state of mind?

    Reflective, distracted, unfocused

    8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

    Confidence

    9. What is the quality you most like in a man ?

    Honesty, kindness, intelligence

    10. What is the quality you most like in a woman ?

    Honesty, kindness, intelligence

    11. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

    ‘On the other hand…’

    12. Which talent would you most like to have?

    Better mathematical skills

    13. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

    My name: I’d like to try being ‘Scott Aaron’ instead of Aaron Scott for a while

    14. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

    Writing a novel (unpublished)

    15. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

    A tree

    16. Where would you most like to live?

    Iceland

    17. What is your most treasured possession?

    My library

    18. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

    Addiction

    19. What is your favorite occupation?

    My own!

    20. What is your most marked characteristic?

    Self-discipline

    21. What do you most value in your friends?

    Honesty

    22. Who are your favorite writers?

    Wallace Stegner, Phillip Roth, Max Frisch, Thomas Bernhard, Heinrich Böll, Emmanuel Carrère, Witold Gombrovicz, Magda Szabó, Chris Kraus

    23. Who is your hero of fiction?

    Gantenbein, from Max Frisch’s Mein Name sei Gantenbein

    24. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

    Medieval craftsman

    25. Who are your heroes in real life?

    I’m not sure that I have ‘heroes’ per se, but I admire people who chart their own course in life and don’t pay attention to what others think

    26. What are your favorite names?

    Dagmar and Hansel (two of my cats, now deceased)

    27. What is it that you most dislike?

    Ignorance

    28. What is your greatest regret?

    I don’t believe in regret

    29. How would you like to die?

    With my foot on the (metaphorical) gas pedal

    30. What is your motto?

    Nietzsche said something like, ‘All great thoughts are conceived while walking.’ This is my motto too, only I would add to this: ‘…or while doing nothing.’

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