We had the good fortune of connecting with Aaron Novak and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aaron, why did you pursue a creative career?
As a child, my dad helped me build a shadow box for a book report project. We finished the project by wiring one Christmas light inside, creating light and shadow. It was at that moment that I fell in love with light and the use of it in art. This moment also helped to solidify my love for disassembling objects and finding new creative ways to use the parts. When I was older it was more about how black lights, lava lamps and car neon’s affected the world around them. At this time, I didn’t think of what I was doing as art I just thought it was cool. Art was this lofty dream, pursuing it was noble but not a “wise” career choice. This viewpoint was further cemented in my mind since my Father (the one who helped me fall in love with light as an art form) was also an artist and went to school for that pursuit. A dream that he gave up when he got married to my mother, as he pursued a career to provide for his family. So, I too gave up the dreams of being an artist. This decision was also impacted by my friends that were really good artists, and comparison of them kept me from pursuing more traditional art styles. As a young married man, I joined the Army to provide for my family. After medically retiring, left me in constant pain, I had financial freedom to return to school and study cinema. It is here that I feel back in Love with the arts, but once again it was light that I was most fascinated with. My teachers saw this in me and encouraged my use of light as an art form. Near the end of my bachelors in Cinema I was encouraged by the very same professors to continue on for my Master of Fine Arts. This passion of cinema, the love of light and the use of it as an art form, with the encouragement of my professors is what led me to pursue my MFA, and now a career as an artist.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As a disabled Veteran who lives in constant pain, I take the brokenness and the deterioration of life and present it in a new light. Found objects and unconventional techniques, present the viewer with more than just a piece of art, but a transformation of thought. The environments I create offer the viewer an opportunity to experience the art, not just see it. The creation of sculptures and miniatures feeds into my photography, which then take on a filmic nature through the use of stop motion. The stop motion then becomes part of an installation by being projected into a room. The use of light and shadows along with other similarly themed art, adds to the experience. Finally sound, music and audio cues are used to further immerse the viewer into the experience of the art. Believing that there is more to life than what we initially see My art speaks to those who feel outcast and broken. Light illuminates that they are seen and not hidden in darkness. Found objects show that discarded things still hold worth. Broken objects reveal that even in a broken state, we have use and value. Macro photography exposes that sometimes you need to look closer to see the true beauty just below the surface. Interaction with the art encourages people to learn to see the beauty within themselves, and by doing so, discover the art that is all around us.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Since I have such a large family, five kids (all homeschooled) I dont really get to see the city as much as I would like. One place I have enjoyed visiting is Galveston and the Bolivar peninsula where the old military base, Fort Travis, is. I find the ruins with the backdrop of the bay hauntingly beautiful.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to thank my Wife Sarah Novak for always standing by me and supporting me, even through all the struggles and hardship, she has always been there for me, cheering me on. I’m also grateful for the professors at HBU, for always encouraging me to dig deeper and find the art within that was always there.
All photography by me.