The internet rules when it does what it does best, which is bringing like-minded people together.
Aaron Firestein is the co-founder and chief creative at BucketFeet, a shoe company that makes very cool kicks covered in artwork from creatives all over the world. I've been fortunate to have designed two shoes for them over the years. But, I credit my admiration for the company to Aaron's passion for connecting with artists, and the inspiring story of how he got things started (read this feature by Inc. magazine detailing it).
Aaron is a casual, curly-haired dude who I initially met on Instagram, but we've since hung-out a few times - sharing beers and stories during his Art Basel visits to Miami. I'm a huge fan of his artwork because of its freeform and improvised style, which is what doodling is all about.
Check-out the interview below as he shares some insight and recent snaps of his artwork, and be sure to follow him on Instagram.
OKAT: There seems to be so many types of pens, markers and colors in your arsenal, from brush pens to metallic inks, are you carrying these around with you all day? Also, do you have any favorites of the bunch?
Aaron: I am certainly not carrying everything around with me at all times, but I almost always have some sort of marker with me. I don’t really plan ahead, nor do I have favorites - I do almost always combine brush and ink types though. As far as favorite brands go, I’d have to highlight Prismacolor, Posca, Sharpie, Pentel and Krink.
OKAT: How did your style develop?
Aaron: It’s really a stream of consciousness that has become more refined, clean and deliberate. It’s more about layers now than ever before. Over time, as I’ve gotten to know more artists and spent much more time looking at art, I have allowed my work to take shape into what it is now. It will likely continue to develop and change, but in the end, it all stems from this long history of doodling. I’ve really gotten more into developing my own take on typography, with most words either paying homage to a time or place or to some sort of inspiring or thought-provoking quote.
Another thing I’ve been doing quite a lot is what I call Fuego Photo Remixes. I have a long history of doing photography (the marriage of photography and art was what led to the original BucketFeet idea in a lot of ways), so I thought it’d be fun to alter past photos I’ve taken by taken paint pens straight to the photo paper. I also remix photos by other photographers I admire, but the vast majority of images are mine.
OKAT: Do you have a favorite habit, ritual, or formula for when you draw (i.e. music, band, album, time of day, specific location, etc)
Aaron: The spark can hit me at any moment. I think one specific place I’ve been able to spend more time creating art is on airplanes or waiting in airports. I really try to disconnect as much as possible when I’m traveling to or from a place, and there’s nothing more analogue than pens and paper.
OKAT: What's the average time you spend on these drawings?
Aaron: They are super quick - I don’t usually spend more than 20 minutes on any one piece, unless it’s very large (which is something I do infrequently).
OKAT: If we hung these drawings in a gallery, what would you call the art show/exhibition?
Aaron: Organized Chaos. That’s the best way I can describe it. There’s an underlying feeling of randomness, but at the same time, they’re deliberate. They are most definitely not planned out though.