An Interview with AOK.
Who is AOK?
AOK is my frame of mind as an artist while creating
from an independent perspective. AOK is my
personal approach to art making and being an artist
at this point in time in history. AOK is the only reflection
of me as I am what I have created in this world
and what will live on after I am gone.
Where are you from and what inspires you?
I grew up in Georgia where I took an early interest
in folk art and creating from scratch. The lessons
I learned there are still with me today as I have a
very DIY and experimental approach to everything
I make. Sometimes, I feel inspired just by combining
the older folk traditions with the newer digital stuff.
Something about raw paint, even used house paint,
and the deconstruction and breaking down of material
is what drives me.
I’m really focused on application and the artist’s
approach to that. So, sometimes the subject of a work
is really what happened while the art was made and
how it was made and your relationship to that.
More and more, I am inspired by the process in art
and not necessarily the conformities of what is
considered sanctioned art. I always wanted to create
something never before seen as my goal which can
be a tough approach. Imagine an isolated evolution
-- is that even possible? I think every artist
struggles with this. In a way, I want to catch people
off guard and make them question rather than gain
their instant acceptance. I try to influence the space
not just the viewer by creating something rich and
intense that cannot be overlooked.
What’s the last song you listened to?
Spank-a-Lee by Herbie Hancock
How do you feel about the art scene
currently in the bay?
I think it’s at that point of post-adolescence where
growing pains and struggles of identity seem to take
center stage. We have some great institutions and
some great working artists but we still seem disconnected
from the world market. I feel the City and
the industry here has some work to do in bringing
this market into maturity beyond the murals and
street art scenes. I think SF has its shot to make a big
splash in the US art market but a lot of people have
to agree to work together. More and more, I see a
lot of that happening which is a good sign.
Mark Bradford, Chris Ofili, Frank Stella, Charline
Von Heyl, Garth Weiser, George Condo, Chris Johanson,
really too many to mention. So many different
ones for different purposes.
How do you feel about gallerys closing
in san francisco?
I think it’s tough, as everyone feels the pinch
of the economic demand there will be increased
pressures. Galleries cannot afford rent any longer
and I think the city officials really don’t get that art
is a major reason why tourists come to this city. It’s a
major competition out there. Best advice from my
perspective would be to start embracing different
styles of art and to showcase more art.