By Ben G. Rowin
We met up with Aero at the Cloud 9 Co-Operative in Ocean Beach where he had just completed a mural. Shout out to the guys at Cloud 9! Thanks for having the NUG crew in for a visit. Then we rolled over to the Seedless Outlet around the corner and sat down to chat. This was the perfect place to sit down with Aero; he seemed right at home, printing t-shirts by hand while we chatted. Everywhere you turned there was color, murals, skateboard decks, and Seedless gear everywhere! I felt like a kid in a candy store! This place is an artists dream. My favorite piece in the warehouse was the giant Ganesh that sits high above the warehouse looking down. Massive and extremely detailed, it only took him two days to paint it!
NUG: Tell us a little about how you started, were you drawing on everything as a child? How exactly did you come to choose spray paint as your favorite medium?
AERO: I was a very curious kid, spraying stencils or drawing on things. I was taught by my older friends who decorated or personalized everything like school book covers and surf boards with logos from companies like T&C, GOTCHA, and Quicksilver. There wasnâ€™t much to draw on in Kauai, mostly just ditches and skate spots. When I hit the mainland, thatâ€™s when it took off; paint for days, walls for miles and public transportation. Those were the days! I canâ€™t even begin to tell you what Iâ€™ve witnessed to give me the drive to get my name up. Iâ€™m seduced by aerosol in a way most will never understand, but if you watch me paint I can show you. This love has brought me around the globe, allowed me to paint for kings and queens, and got me put in jail. I think itâ€™s fair to say, and anyone who knows me will agree, that Iâ€™m just a regular dude, but when I get my hands on a spray can I become someone with a purpose and a message.
NUG: The first time we met you were doing a Blubber Promo mural on the old Amplified Image building. We have all seen your many murals all over San Diego; my favorite is either the Seedless building or Pokez downtown. I know each one is a different love for you but do you have a favorite mural in San Diego?
AERO: San Diego has become my interactive gallery, though other artists love to spot jock my locations for their own self promotion instead of enhancing the communityâ€™s spirit, I like to still think I run shit in this town. One of my favorite pieces is hidden from all of San Diego; it is off of Washington Street and was commissioned in a garage back in â€˜97. Itâ€™s where I started to expand into this dynamic way of seeing the city as an electric field of frequencies. It was during my laser experimenting phase. We would light up hotel rooms from a mile away and watch the reaction of the people in the room. Well, that mural in the garage was inspired by my curiosity with argon lasers.
NUG: It is amazing that you do so much for the community; can you tell us a little bit about what you are doing with your charity Aerosol Art Association?
AERO: Sure thing. The community efforts and planning behind the Aerosol Art Association is finally gaining full momentum with the help of private and government assistance. Now being recognized as a non-profit in several states, the Aerosol Art Parks is closing in on its first real estate launch on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Coming from the islands and achieving certain validations has granted access to land where we can host these creative hubs and events. Aerosol Art Parks is one of the many focused on relearning the aerosol art form in a new light for society to acknowledge. Raising awareness is always the challenge, right? Unfortunately, most organizations do not have a founder who is a street marketer, and a mother who is world renowned for marketing some of the largest fashion campaigns worldwide. AAA has and will continue to partner with global entities that provide the proper structure to flourish our concepts in communities. Aerosol Art workshops and paint tours have opened new doors for PR and charity fundraisers; like all visions this grand, it has become an ongoing project intended to create results years from now. My job is to lay the ground work and protocol so youths can transition into the real world utilizing their talents.
NUG: I know it is a tough subject and one you donâ€™t like to talk about, but I know you get a lot of inspiration from your brother who passed away. Can you tell us a little about what happened and how this affected you?
AERO: My younger brother, Emery Kauanui, passed due to a combination of alcohol and ignorance. I thought long and deep about unleashing my thoughts on the walls around the city and feeding off of seeing peopleâ€™s reactions or sparks of interest. Instead I opened a way to communicate my thoughts through a more strategic vehicle, one noble enough to make my existence echo for eternity in the minds of generations to come. I call it BCE -Blubber Colors 2nd Edition, titled â€œMagicâ€. Itâ€™s the worldâ€™s first ECO friendly spray paint. This way every aerosol artist will feel my pain and joy when they create their artwork without harming the environment. That is one demonstration of the many ways my brotherâ€™s death made me re-think my A.E.R.O. equation of being alive on this planet and my legacy.
NUG: Your murals are so massive. Is there any other way that people can purchase Caleb Aero art in smaller forms?
AERO: Thanks! Massive is why I fell in love with this artistic medium, when youâ€™re a kid things are 10x larger and 10x more inspirational. I never thought about offering smaller prints until recently. Small paintings require no body movement, I hate sitting still, secondly small paintings are painted in studios, I hate being indoors, so there are some reasons why I donâ€™t paint small. Small paintings sit in homes for only homeowners and friends of the tenants to enjoy. The walls on the street welcome all race and cultures, public walls do not close after hours or open before hours, public walls will be seen 1,000,000 to 1 over a small painting if properly placed in a high traffic area. I didnâ€™t become a well known artist by making small paintings that sit in a small room. I create paintings for everyone, and I still canâ€™t find a wall big enough to get that message across. Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™ll break soon and create mini prints to entertain kids.
NUG: Whatâ€™s up with your signature characters â€œThe Gruntsâ€ I see them everywhere! Can you tell us a little about how they came to be?
AERO: The Grunts AKA Poop Squad is on hold till the script is complete, so for now, youâ€™ll catch them popping up around as a pre-introduction to how we plan to release them as an animation. I had a lot of grunts in my life and in dealing with every negative situation, I decided to manifest a fun cartoon character to help reflect on those disgruntled moments. Life is art and we create grunts after every meal, so Grunts demonstrate the artist in everyone, whether we like it or not. Gotta have a daily dosage of humor to keep the soul warmed up before starting a day.
NUG: How about the glass? Hand Blown pipes next? Tell us how you got into that!
AERO: Working on a limited edition of custom Sherlock standing bubblers with Washington glass blower DOC. Together we are designing five limited pieces to showcase at the Champs and A.G.E. trade show in Las Vegas this March 2nd-4th 2010. Available through HolyWatersstyle.com, who linked us up and gave me a chance to use my graffiti influence on some glass sculptures. The Aero Art Toobz was a medical marijuana collection concept for cancer patients to utilize the most sophisticated and artistically designed smoking tools to date. Glass itself is such a fun medium, and the chemistry is another fun aspect to research. There will be lots of time to be Aero the glass blower, for now, Iâ€™m still really learning what not to ignite.
NUG: Caleb, again I want to thank you for your time. Please tell us about all the events you have coming up and where our readers can see you next. Also, give any shout outs you would like to and tell us what to look for next.
AERO: Thanks again for sharing my dream with your readers; I appreciate any feedback or concerns about the aerosol art movement. Feel free to visit our sites and get a feel of this movement weâ€™ve got going.