These are some a couple of my favorite portraits from recent sessions with Los Angeles artist Aaron Axelrod. I first met Aaron through my girlfriend, who works with his cousin. I came across him again several months later while he was doing an live painting at Google, who were hosting the Venice Art Walk at their new offices in Venice. When I came across him he was covered in colorful paint splatter and standing in front of a wall he was painting in his signature dripping style, (seen in his Pot, Sex & Acid series on his website), as well as on buildings around the city and in a recent commission for Apple. If I had my camera on me at the time I would have shot him right then, but – oops – I didn’t. It was cool though, because what I was really envisioning was a lit shoot that would really make the color pop. I later contacted him through Erinn to express my interest in doing this and, fortunately, he was down. We met in person a few days before shooting and came up with the idea to sandwich him between a mural in his studio and a piece of plexiglass that he could paint on as we shot. The effect I was hoping for was that he would appear to be a part of his own painting. The bunny ears were entirely his idea, and I did not object! He had recently worn them during a successful live painting show at the Vortex Dome called Melting Rainbows, in which he dripped paint on a spherical projector, making it appear as though colors were melting down the wall. The shoot was fantastic and yielded tons of great images, none of which are repeatable. Since the paints are water-based, he was able to simply wipe the surface clean and start again.
At that time he was also working on a commissioned piece comprised of two life-sized reindeer, which he heavily spray-painted and adorned with giant neon antlers. The pieces were just installed in front of the Westfield headquarters on Avenue of the Stars in Century City. I hung out for an afternoon shooting him as he painted them in his garage and then came back a week later to shoot the portrait above. The deer are surreal and I can’t wait to see them in their intended space. You should go check them out too!