“As a Brooklyn resident for several decades, I witnessed many of his cons and blatant exaggerations which Trump referred to as ‘truthful hyperbole’.”
Seattle to New York: Gary Aagaard’s Artistic Reawakening
During his formative years in Seattle, Gary Aagaard found solace in the sanctuary of his home, where the city’s frequent rain showers encouraged him to hone his drawing skills. Immersed in the world of comic books, he developed a profound appreciation for the works of eminent artists such as Carmine Infantino and Jack Kirby. Though high school saw Aagaard primarily focused on athletic endeavors like football and track, it led to a brief hiatus in his artistic journey.
It was at Western Washington University, within its esteemed sculpture program, that Aagaard’s fervor for art was rekindled. Later, his dedication to the craft deepened when he undertook courses in illustration and painting at the New School of Visual Concepts in Seattle.
In a bold move in 1983, armed with a savings of $7,000, Aagaard and his girlfriend, Sophie, relocated to New York City. Following a brief tenure in Riverside, CA, working for The Press-Enterprise, he found his way back to Brooklyn. Armed with an impressive portfolio of editorial illustrations, Aagaard secured esteemed commissions from illustrious publications such as The New York Times and Village Voice, among others.
From Tragedy to Transformation: Gary Aagaard’s Post-9/11 Evolution
The harrowing events of September 11th served as a pivotal moment in Gary Aagaard’s evolution from an illustrator to a fine artist. This transition saw him delve into expansive oil paintings enriched with conceptual depth, drawing parallels with his illustrative years.
When reflecting upon his source of inspiration, Aagaard’s foray into the world of art was driven less by a fleeting moment of epiphany and more by an undeniable necessity. During his academic tenure in college, he became acutely aware of his profound passion for drawing. Today, his artworks frequently encompass themes of political satire and social commentary, imbued with a surrealistic nuance. He has aptly termed this unique blend as “satirealism.”
Artistic Influences and Political Satire: Inside Aagaard’s Creative Mind
Influences on Gary Aagaard’s artistic pursuits include eminent figures such as N.C. Wyeth, Brad Holland, Bernie Wrightson, and Edward Hopper. Among the pantheon of his creations, “The Lone Danger” and the series addressing Trump stand out, reflecting a poignant critique of perceived deceptions and overstatements associated with the former President. This inclination towards political commentary is further accentuated by his residency in Brooklyn, a locale from which he channels his perspectives. Additionally, while “The Absinthe Drinker” by Edgar Degas may not be Aagaard’s original work, it profoundly impacted him, leading to the inception of his piece, “Sambuca & Cigarettes”.
In the nascent stages of his career, Aagaard dabbled in a plethora of mediums, from watercolor to pencil. However, it was the introduction of the cobalt dryer and its synergistic relationship with oil paints that cemented his fondness for the medium during his illustration years. He abandoned the cobalt dryer once he started producing larger gallery pieces because tight deadlines were no longer a concern. This shift allowed Aagaard the freedom to explore and master techniques such as wet-on-wet and glazing.
The Heart of the Studio: Aagaard’s Inspirations and Dedication Amidst Adversity
Over the past decade, Gary Aagaard’s workspace has undergone a transformative evolution, coming to be illuminated by the soft glow of two skylights. Nestled within his studio, one can find quintessential tools of his craft: a grand wooden easel, a classical drawing table, and a meticulously curated collection of brushes and oil paint tubes.
While distractions have often posed challenges, Aagaard has adeptly navigated them. Yet, the delicate health of his wife, Sophie, necessitated a poignant two-year hiatus from his artistic pursuits. His current project, “GQP: The Imperfect Organism”, serves as a poignant reflection of this period. Sophie, who graces many of Aagaard’s canvases and has been his muse for nearly four decades, now battles Alzheimer’s. With unwavering dedication, he aspires to immortalize her once more on canvas, encapsulating their cherished memories before the progression of the ailment dims their shared past.