Like time itself, Aaron Hubbell waits upon the South Florida landscape – the mangroves, shorelines, and brush – to tell him what his art will be. Or will become.
Sometimes, the waiting is just for the materials. Driftwood, with its enigmatic and untamed countenance, is a particular favorite of his patrons. Other times, he waits for nature to reveal itself.
“Sometimes, when you’re floating through the mangroves, you see a pattern – something you’ve never seen before. It’s all about seeing the familiar, but differently.”
It’s in that unique ability to see the possibilities that Aaron’s true gift lies. It’s no exaggeration to guess that millions have walked past or even kicked aside the elements of his sculptures: Fallen leaves, knotted and sand-covered wood, even dead fish or crustaceans in the surf. What is flotsam to everyone else is an opportunity to him.
“I’ve been making molds for most of my working life,” Aaron said. “One day I picked up an Arica palm and thought, ‘Hmmm…I wonder what this would look like as a bowl.
“It looked terrible,” he adds with a laugh. “But the idea of using natural elements stuck, and the next attempt worked. Now I’ve got an entire line of naturally-inspired molds.”
Like his molds, Aaron’s paintings have an eerie, nostalgic quality. It’s as if the images of Southwest Florida wildlife have been re-imagined into something distant, but familiar.
“I want to reveal just enough so that you know what the inspiration was, but leave plenty of room for your imagination to transform the rest into whatever your mind wants it to be,” says Aaron.
If recent activity is any indication, Aaron’s art is starting to gain a strong foothold in others’ imagination, indeed. Art by Aaron Lane – Aaron’s studio name – has found its way into the Apple Lounge, a one time high- end eatery in West Hollywood, CA; the Hyatt Hotel McCormick Center, Chicago, IL. And in Season 7 of the popular AMC show, “Mad Men,” one of Aaron’s sculptures is prominently featured as part of the chic setting of Madison Avenue.
It’s all very gratifying for this Southwest Florida native, who spent his childhood fishing along the Gulf Coast of Southwest Florida, and who considers his art, primarily, just a love letter back to the setting of so many happy days.
“Southwest Florida, before the condos and car dealerships, is so much a part of who I am,” says Aaron. “I was just looking for a way to express how it inspires me. It’s extremely satisfying that others want to share that vision.”