noun || yəNG ˈhefā
Aaron Wheeler is an artist currently living in Brooklyn.
TA: What’s your current hustle?
AW: I work five part time jobs, so I would say everything is a hustle at this point. I’m an assistant to two artists, Rachel Mica Weiss and Bobby Anspach. Both of them are up and coming sculptors working in Brooklyn. I’m also a fabricator for a workshop studio that does a lot of environmental design and marketing events in NYC. Then I’m also doing freelance graphic design for an app based in Chicago, and in-house design for a small agency in Brooklyn. And I try to work on my own art whenever I can.
TA: Has what you’re doing now been a life-long interest?
AW: Yes. It was pretty clear at a young age I wanted to do something creative. Both of my parents are graphic designers, so when I was young I was always inspired when I saw their work or visited their studios. My grandfather and great grandfather were artists and some of my aunts, uncles, and cousins are architects and designers... so it runs in the family for sure.
TA: Who gave you the most memorable career advice?
AW: It's impossible to pick one thing. Aside from the advice I've received from teachers, friends and family, I get a lot out of reading. Here's a serious something from one of my favorite books: "For a while, Criticism travels side by side with the Work, then Criticism vanishes and it's the Readers who keep pace. The journey may be long or short. Then the Readers die one by one and the Work continues on alone, although a new Criticism and new Readers gradually fall into step with it along its path. Then Criticism dies again and the Readers die again and the Work passes over a trail of bones on its journey toward solitude. To come near the work, to sail in her wake, is a sign of certain death, but new Criticism and new Readers approach her tirelessly and relentlessly and are devoured by time and speed. Finally the Work journeys irremediably alone in the Great Vastness. And one day the Work dies, as all things must die and come to an end: the Sun and the Earth and the Solar System and the Galaxy and the farthest reaches of man's memory. Everything that begins as comedy ends in tragedy."
TA: What was your first “big job?”
AW: Working with Emily Jacir and William Kentridge in Rome last year was pretty amazing. Before I met them, I had seen and read about their work in classes that I was taking at RISD. And then to be working side by side with each them was a crazy feeling.
TA: Did you ever think you wouldn't make it to this point in your career?
AW: To be honest, I feel that I'm just scratching the surface. I’m thankful to be where I am now, and I wouldn't be here in New York without the people who have supported me. That being said, I’m not really a complacent person. I have a lot of big plans ahead and I’d say I’m only about five or ten percent on my way to where I want to be.
TA: If you could tell your younger self one thing about work ethic, what would it be?
AW: Some people work as hard as they possibly can and still aren't able to realize their dreams. So if you aren’t working as hard as possible (and on the right things!)- you most certainly are not going to get where you want to be.
TA: What inspires you most?
AW: Walking through an artist's studio and seeing a lot of great work. It's kind of intimidating, personal, and gives me a lot of energy.
TA: What has been the best moment in your career so far?
AW: Living and working in Rome for eight months in 2016. It was my first time being outside of the U.S. and I also had my first show there.
TA: What are you still looking to achieve?
AW: I hope to continue growing as an artist, and right now that means securing a studio in Brooklyn and making a lot of work. From there I want to start showing, selling, and scaling up studio operations by working on more ambitious projects. I have a lot of ideas and big plans for my art. At the same time, I have this desire to travel and live in other parts of the world for a while, and I'm also not sure if I'll go back to school to get my MFA. We'll see how everything goes the next few years.
AW: Black lives matter. To fellow white people: recognize and acknowledge your privilege. Act to construct a society that is actually built on respect and empathy. Stay conscious. Respect the LGBTQIA community. Respect and support women in the fight against misogyny and sexism. Educate yourself.
For more of Aaron follow him here.
*The artwork featured was produced by Aaron Wheeler.