Hustlin’ with Aaron Noble
Los Angeles-based artist Aaron Noble has spent a considerable amount of time in Albuquerque over the past nine months–so much in fact that he jokes about it being his second home. After finishing up his largest and most ambitious mural to date in February as part of an exhibition and public art commission, he has since returned to collaborate with local artists Roberto Reyes and Faustino Villa–most recently on, “The Cuckoo’s Nest or, What You Hustlin’, Brother?” located in East Downtown Albuquerque. – Claude Smith Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor
For “The Cuckoo’s Nest”, Noble collaborated with Albuquerque-based artists Roberto Reyes and Faustino Villa, who over the course of several days, worked on background fills by blending and masking aerosol to achieve a complex array of textures and hues–an approach Noble usually accomplishes himself by hand mixing acrylic paints that are then applied by brush. Upon completion of the background, Noble took over adding the detailed line work in black using brush.
Noble derives the core of his work from cutting up and collaging comics (his preferred source material are comics published by Image during the 90s). Using isolated portions of weaponry, musculature, armor, explosions and anything else he finds compelling, he creates completely new amalgamations that while referencing their comic book origins, become part of a completely new narrative invented by Noble. These collages essentially become “sketches” that are often reworked into larger drawings, paintings and murals.
When describing inspiration for the title, Noble had this to say: “The Cuckoo’s Nest is a surrealist meditation on the mongrel soul of what Greil Marcus has called “the old, weird, America”; the mural combines a jury-rigged totem pole of pareidolic rock formations, fragments of lost Atlantis, threads of witchy hair, fabulous loot and Spanish leather surmounted by red and blue streamers and a colonial tricorn hat. The subtitle, “What You Hustlin’, Brother?” was specifically inspired by our daily interactions with street people working to get money from us for such items as a folding knife, a tube of two-part epoxy, or just because it was Father’s Day.”
If you’re in Albuquerque, be sure and check it out in person here.
Aaron Noble is the co-founder of the Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) that was formed in 1992 to create and facilitate opportunities for artists to paint murals on the Clarion Alley between Valencia and Mission Streets in San Francisco. He has painted murals all over the world in cities like London, Beijing, Djogyakarta, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. His work has been shown in museums and galleries including, the Torrance Art Museum, Hammer Museum, Blum & Poe, Morgan Lehman Gallery and the Guerrero Gallery.
Claude Smith is an arts administrator and educator living and working in Albuquerque, NM