Aaron Vazquez: artist, creator, filmmaker, and today's Monday Muse inspiration.
Aaron has directed a variety of projects including the BKLYN1834 Collaboration, Deux North, Six Sisters (Written by Thom Browne, Narrated by Diane Keaton), Mizaru and music videos for artists such as Pharoahe Monch, Foe Destroyer, denetia and sene, Little Simz, Live Footage, and Ro James.
Simply by reading this interview, it will quickly become apparent to you how passionate Aaron is about what he does. His work breathes talent and excitement and a true love for art--he gets as jazzed about education as we do, and he's got jokes too!
Aaron with his Poppins Schoolyard Backpack in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.
Are you an artists? If so what kind?
I am a filmmaker.
Have you always considered yourself an artist?
I haven’t until recently...like less than a year ago! I started making music videos for a couple of friends a few years ago with a camera my best friend bought me. I always considered what I did as an enhancement to the existing art, but never as art itself. I’ve had a lot of self-worth issues early on--I saw other directors, with connections, with film school education, and got down on myself for not being at that level. I was also the only person around my friends who did video, so I felt like I was the default director, not because I was good, but because I was there. After making videos for a few years, getting more experience, I became really comfortable with artists. I have a solid handle on how to do a good job making a music video. But now, I want to make visual pieces that transcend.
What does our slogan "carry hope" mean to you?
Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. Shawshank.
What do you like most about your ESPEROS backpack?
I always feel like backpacks never have enough pockets. Little things need their place too. I can store little things like notebooks, batteries, or lighters in this bag and not have to dig for them at the bottom of big pockets.
What inspires you?
People, I suppose. People who are trying to bring everyone together. People who have self-love. People who give others love. People who are passionate and sacrifice to pursue that passion. People who can make others laugh. Kendrick, Kanye, Seinfeld, Fey, Nolan, Trash, Nabil, those are all people who inspire me.
Do you have any hobbies, talents, near death experiences?
My hobby is photography. I don’t think I’m talented enough to make a living on it, but I do want to keep doing it as I get better with film.
One time, my buddies and I were rear ended by a drunk driver on the FDR. He tried to drive away, and I jumped in front of his car hoping I had the strength to stop him. After he pushed me 20 feet into the highway, I decided to jump out of the way and not be run over. I had done like 50 push ups earlier that day so, you know.
Ha! Yeah..we totally know...
Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I was born in Austin, TX but went back and forth between Austin and Mexico until I was 15. I moved to Brooklyn in 2012 when I was 24 years old.
Why do you think education is important? Do you think it always comes in the form of formal training?
I could go on and on about this. Education is important. Keeping our brains active and finding new things to learn is important to humanity. However, not everyone learns the same. Not everyone has the capacity to learn each subject at the same pace. I feel like “education” has become a political talking point, but they don’t actually care about the overall environment and culture in education from top to bottom. I hope every kid, and every adult is trying to learn a little bit more each day (with or without a teacher) because they value learning.
Is there a song you can't stop listening to?
Alright, I got a few...
Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly (The entire album)
Where can we follow you?
Tumblr - aaronisnot.cool
Insta/twitter/vsco/steller - @aaronisnotcool
Side note: though Aaron's humble demeanor led him to create social media handles that state how he is "not cool" -- be fully aware that this is reverse psychology. Aaron is actually very cool. Believe us. Or, go to www.aaronisnotcool.com to find out for yourself if Aaron is really cool or not. Comment your findings below!
Thanks for taking your time to share your story with us, Aaron. Any lover of Shawshank is a friend of ours! We always love to see the different ways that people around the world like to carry hope, its the source of our inspiration - and certainly makes Mondays a little easier.
How do you carry hope?
We would love to know how you, our readers, carry hope as well. Comment what carry hope means to you, or shoot us a message on Facebook. Happy Monday, y'all!
Written by Grace Mueller
Spring 2015 Intern