Aaron Hodges
Painter and tattoo artist, Studio, San Francisco

Can you give us an introduction on who you are and which path brought you to painting?
My name is Aaron Hodges. I tattoo by day at Idle Hand Tattoo in the lower Haight and paint by night in my garage in the outer Richmond. I have always been interested in art but took a round about way to get to it. I was in the United States Navy and was also a plumber before taking the plunge into art. I developed a strong work ethic from these very labor intensive jobs but also realized I wanted more from a career. So I enrolled in college to become an architect. After a few years of college and a lot of math I needed a break so my brother and I decided to open a tattoo shop and that’s where it all began. Through tattooing I revisited my interest in art and eventually went back to school and earned a BFA from CCA here in San Francisco. My mom is creative, crafty and so I always saw things being made in my house that showed me some of the process as a young child.

Your paintings are really specific, how would you describe them?
I would describe my paintings as figurative oil painting based in a classical renaissance approach with a modern twist. My recent work focuses on the idea of armor. These paintings are a way for me to examine class, uniform, conformity as well as the figure.
What inspires you? Do you need to be surrounded by art in order to be inspired?
I am inspired by everything around me, from the colors of a sign, to the architecture in the city. Nature is also a very big inspiration. Some painters that inspire me are painters like Rembrandt, Odd Nerdrum, Alex Kanevsky, Kim Cogan and so many more. Many tattoo artists also inspire me.

Is there one of your painting that you are super satisfied with?
Each painting I make I am satisfied with for different reasons. Some may be for technical reasons or they may be for just the simple fact that I persevered through the long hours of painting. I think the only painting I would never sell would be the Rembrandt master copy that I made in college because it is a constant reminder of how much work goes into a great painting.

Your studio is in your garage, is there a story you can share about this place?
When our daughter Madeleine arrived I decided to move my studio out of my house and into my garage. She needed her own bedroom and my wife and I needed ours back. Also I felt like having oil paints and solvents in the house was a bad idea with a baby around. Having my studio in the garage also allows me to make a mess, some noise and I have found these things are very important for me to be able to experiment and feel really comfortable in my creative space.

How do you start your day?
My day starts by making my daughter breakfast and then doing some chores. Followed by playing with her before I head off to work.

What do you think makes San Francisco special in comparison to other cities?
What makes San Francisco special to me is the size of the city. Being 7x7 makes it very manageable to navigate. It’s very condensed, but its not overwhelming. There is tons of inspiration packed into a small space. And the connection it has with nature. From the ocean to the park, there is still a connection with nature that is special.

Describe SF in 3 words.
Inspiration, Challenge, Home.

What are your favorite spots in town when you want to relax in SF?
Golden Gate Park, Legion of Honor, China beach.

What is your favorite place to eat in San Francisco?
To many to list, Pacific café, Miki, usually places in my neighborhood since I am out and about 5 days a week.

Please take 3 photos of whatever you want.  

Thank you very much Aaron for letting me have a sneak peek into your studio and showing me everything!

If you want to find out more about Aaron here is his website  http://aaronrhodges.com

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