River + Bay: Who are you? Where do you come from?
David Forest Aragon: My name is David and I am a human. I was born in Tennessee.
R+B: Can you recall a moment in your childhood that, looking back on it, foreshadowed your present day/future?
DFA: My consistent obsession with making things. When I was 11, I got a camcorder and started making movies. Every time I got together with friends, I would make sure our time was spent making a movie. When I was spread thin on friends, I would make movies with myself and use stuffed animals as the supporting characters and do the voices for them. I haven’t thought about that time in a while, and looking back on it, I’m surprised and proud at how unconcerned I was with others’ perceptions and feedback, despite my obsession oftentimes alienating me. And I’d say that, while I’ve certainly lived through vicissitudes, I still hold and experience the excitement of creating as an 11-year-old video-maker. There’s always been a greater part of me that says “keep going” and I’m so grateful for wherever that voice is coming from.
R+B: Tell us about your exhibition in Take Me to the River.
DFA: I exhibited three prints. The prints were pages from my book, WATER.
R+B: What is WATER? Take us back to the moment you knew what you were about to set out creating.
DFA: WATER is an art book. The intention is to deliberately create a large body of work that only a few people will get to fully experience. Twenty copies of the book will be distributed around the world and available for free at randomly mapped out pick-up points. First come, first served. I think internet culture has made exclusivity sacred. I just received two handwritten letters from some friends and it made me feel so important and loved. I hope WATER does that for the people who get to experience it, because they’ll (hopefully) know I made it specifically for them.
R+B: What have been the challenges in its creation, and what have been the sweet surprises/satisfiers?
DFA: The only challenge is finding the money to get the books printed. Originally, having self-published an art book before, I thought I knew what I was going into in terms of budget, and was prepared to self-publish again. But, WATER is a 380-page, full-color, monster-sized book being printed at an extremely small run, and that brings the price up considerably. I’m glad I didn’t consider the specs or investigate pricing before I began, because I likely would have never started if I knew the cost. The best part about this project, like every project, is making it. Even if it doesn’t get printed, it soothes my soul to know it’s been made. If I die tomorrow, it’s what I would want everyone I love to read.
R+B: What other projects are you currently involved in, or what do you have in the works?
DFA: I’ll be going into pre-production on my feature film, Current Events. It involves pretzel-making, a bizarre love triangle and a celestial transformation. I also run a site called Jewelbox Fortress, where I photograph and ask people questions.
R+B: Do you have a juicy hour? You know, the time of day when you feel a fire in your chest and/or you do the best work.
DFA: I’ve always romanticized mornings, but I’m a night hawk. However, I wouldn’t say things innately get juicy post-midnight. I usually feel caught off guard by inspiration. Whenever it comes, I try and honor it by acting on it however I can in that moment. One of my favorite inventors and scientists said that one time he resisted an idea that came to him and he didn’t get another idea for two years. That’s always in the back of my mind. I protect creative agency like a diamond.
R+B: What do you daydream about? Give us your latest…
DFA: There’s a poem called “Last Night As I Was Sleeping” by Antonio Machado that I think represents my answer better than I can.
R+B: Compose your six word memoir.
DFA: Listening to myself saying thank you.
R+B: Current obsession (can be anything).
DFA: The shot at 4:30-4:31 in Rihanna’s American Oxygen video.
Nov. 9 – Watercolor Demonstration by Lee Mothes
Nov. 16 – Storycatchers: Write + Open Mic
Nov. 17 – The Mindful Artist
Nov. 30 – Fashion & Frets with just beau
River + Bay will feature other TMTTR artists throughout the month, so don’t be a stranger!
Text: Alison Mayer
Photos: Justus Poehls