"Stillness" by Aaron Della Vedova
Each year mankind is presented with its own unique set of challenges. Some old, some new. Regardless we embark on a new adventure together, with no clear vision of what awaits us at the other end. Many would say it is an integral part of human existence. We experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in a landscape that we've never been, and in that sense we are all explorers.
In a recent conversation with Aaron Della Vedova, he talked about the first COVID-19 stay-at-home order here in California becoming the catalyst for his latest commissioned piece entitled "Stillness". Inspired by a young man's year long expedition to Antarctica, Aaron's new work of art embodies the spirit of the explorer and the dualism between the stillness of space and the explosive energy that is contained within all of us. He also shared with us a few snapshots of his creative process along with a poem written by him to accompany the artwork.
Keep reading if you want to see more. Also, click the link if you want to buy one of twenty limited edition stretched canvas prints we just released this week.
"In the expanse of never setting Sun, each breath can only be taken one by one.
And as the oxygen permeates every cell that animates our life, the world of polarity joy and strife. So then the stillness appears but was there all along? Life’s hidden chorus to it’s glorious song.
And in this moment the truth you will find, not loving, hateful, scornful or kind.
Far beyond these simple human gestures lies a truth only known by a few masters.
Breath in, breathe out and as all thought recedes, find your true sight, to the never ending horizon, of witch nothing can impede." Aaron Della Vedova
First, tell me about the commission part. It must be pretty awesome to have clients that request your art in other mediums too.
So, about a year ago I met and started tattooing a man by the name of Jeffery Palmer. Very successful entrepreneur who owns a lot of pharmacies across the nation. We hit it off right away and forged a great friendship. He is one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met and I truly mean that. Very eccentric wild and full of adventure. This guy doesn’t play by the rules and seems to create a life straight from his imagination without regard for what social expectations may dictate. My kind of guy!
Haha, very cool. Did Jeffery ask you for something specific? How does someone go about asking for a commissioned piece like this? What's the story there?
At one point during one of Jeff's sessions, a son of his by the name of Jonathan came by for a visit. The three of us went out front and chatted for a few minutes, and I got to know the son a little bit better. Fascinating young man. One of the stories he told me was about a year he spent in Antarctica. I guess he went down there for the adventure and also to be a part of the research group to get out of the normal day-to-day college grind and everything that comes with it. A lot like his dad, a true adventurer.
Anyways he was telling stories about the severe cold and the life-threatening situations that he and his other team members endured. Long periods of time without any kind of communication or media whatsoever just a vast white snowy cold. Very interesting story. At the end of the story his father looked at him and said if you could package that entire experience into one word what would it be. After a long pause Jonathan responded with the word stillness.
A few months later Jeffery called me up and asked if I would do a commission painting for his sons birthday. This was during the first shut downs of Covid so I was very stoked to have the time to do this for him. When I asked him what he would want he said remember the conversation between me, you and Jonathan? Of course I told him I did. He said remember when I asked Jonathan to summarize the experience and he told us in one word stillness. He said "I would like you to do a painting anything from your imagination that for you and bodies my son, his story, what you know of me and of course the over arching theme of stillness.".
So, off I went.
Stillness and adventure. Seems like the space theme embodies that perfectly. I'd like to know about the chrysanthemum. Can you elaborate on why you chose that imagery? That's what I think draws many of us to this piece.
Yeah, Jeffrey is a true adventurer. He has traveled the world to very remote places seeking out the true zest of life! His son seems to carry that same spirit. Anyways after some thought the idea of an astronaut kept coming to mind. An astronaut being the ultimate explorer willing to risk it all. Much like Jeffery and his son. Plus, I kept reflecting on Jonathan's story in Antarctica, and thinking about what that must have been like, the idea of space came to mind. Cold, dark, and vast. Just like his time in Antarctica must’ve been, to some degree.
As for the chrysanthemum, Jeffery and I had many long conversations about our spiritual beliefs. About how we are not technically religious but both believe there is a soul that carries on after death. The energy burst that is expanding out of the area where the astronaut helmet would be, for me, illustrates that energy source inside us all. In a way our human bodies are like an astronaut suit animated buy something beyond words.
(Above) Stillness finished curing on the day of the final test launch for Space X. A sign from the gods no doubt.