We had the good fortune of connecting with Aaron Tucker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aaron, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Well, it’s really the only thing I thought I was particularly proficient in at the time. And by “at the time”, I mainly mean around the time of 12th grade when there’s a good amount of pressure put on students to figure out what colleges they want to go to and where they want to aim for in terms of their future. Over the years in grade school, I had considered a few options from being an scientist to going into philosophy or seeking some profession that involved computers or videogames. I figured careers in those areas might be possible for me, but for various reasons I waned from those ideas the more I considered them. I was generally pretty smart in high school, having taken a majority of advanced classes since 5th grade. So I felt that in fields of science or a linguistic heavy field like philosophy that I assumed required a great amount critical thinking, I’d be capable of learning what was needed in order to achieve a degree of success in any of those fields as long as I put the work in. However, being in advanced classes also let me know how ingenious people really could be, as I knew a ton of peers that I thought were incredibly smarter and quicker to pick up on things than I was. And in fact, a good amount of my friends did go into scientific and medical fields after high school and seem to be doing rather well currently. Having that comparative knowledge back then made it a bit more clear to me that when it came down to it, as far as my future goes, it would make a bit more sense to consider not just what you’re capable of doing and learning, but what you have a lot of passion for. Though I enjoyed science, philosophy, technology in general, and videogames quite a bit, art had always consistently been the one thing that stuck with me over all my years. I had dedicated the most time and effort into that field than any of the others I was interested in. It was the thing I was most proficient in and had the most experience with, and so that is one of the main reasons I decided to pursue an artistic career. And after getting into an art college, there wasn’t much choice besides to continue on the path I projected myself towards. Besides that though, art always came with a sense of self-expression that I never felt like I could translate through with the other aforementioned fields. To someone like me that often doesn’t express one’s self much in an outward manner, that’s something I value a lot. I often feel like as humans we seek to find ways of expression and understanding; It’s like a part of the fundamental core of being human. Whether it’s an expression and understanding of ourselves or an expression or understanding of the world around us, we all find ways best suited to each of us to achieve those two things. Or so I’d like to believe. I guess through that logic, in some ways you could probably call any career an artistic and creative career in a very loose sense. It just so happened that since I enjoyed drawing, that would be the vehicle and medium for me to express and understand things the most. That also touches on the very basic reasoning for why I decided to pursue art. I suppose I did touch upon this a couple times prior, but beyond the matter of proficiency and the idea of expression, simply put, I just like drawing in general. It’s fun. A lot of good memories I have in the past involve putting pencil to paper. Most of those memories stem from 5th and 6th grade before I even knew what a career in art even meant. Spending tons of time drawing from anime illustration books with my friends or drawing stickmen skateparks in those black and white composition notebooks everyday; those are arguably some of the best times of my life and had a big impact on me going forward. It’s partially because of those moments that even after those friends moved away that I continued to draw on my own. It’s that kind of memorable joy that I try to remember from time to time when things get rough and challenging. Art college definitely tried to do a number on my passion towards art, and though it was dually helpful and I learned a lot from it, college also made art seem more like work than I had ever felt before. Yet, in the end, despite any stress that might come from making art a career, I still love the craft. It’s a hard road and life’s not life without a few regrets here and there, but overall, I’m pretty glad my 12th grade self chose to pursue it. Heh, and luckily for me, as far as those other career options, I still get to find ways of incorporating them into my art as well, so all’s not lost on that either!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I personally don’t feel like I’ve yet gotten to the point where I can say for sure what sets me apart from others, as I still feel like I have a lot of room to grow and that I’ll probably be changing and evolving quite a bit in the next few years. Since I’ve been doing a lot of work for other individuals, I haven’t had too much time to really draw too much for myself to where I can look back and see exactly what expression of myself is identifiable and might be seen by others. For now, I’ll leave that for others to judge for themselves, and figure out things for myself organically before putting a solid statement of definition out there for myself. If I had to say anything about my artwork however, I’d say that I do draw with a very anime/manga/eastern influenced style as opposed to western cartoons and comics, though I do draw from both. Generally I like drawing things I think are either cool or cute or a mix between the two. I enjoy including other interests into my art like animals or games and so anthropomorphic and videogame characters can be seen in some of my drawings. I’ve had the pleasure of being able to work on some cool things the past year like the box cover art for the fighting game Them’s FIghtin’ Herds developed by the Mane6DevTeam along with some other character promotional art for them. I’ve assisted in the design of an animal based tarot card deck by Ambi Sun called the Oriens Tarot Deck. And there’s some other cool things I’m currently working on but unfortunately can’t speak about due to contractual obligations. But it’s some pretty neat stuff! Getting to where I am now…definitely hasn’t been easy and had it’s fair share of challenges. A lot of work, a lot of late nights, and lot of learning, a healthy amount of failure and mistakes, and a ton of hope with persistence. From where I am now, I can’t say I’m in much of a position to tell others how to become successful or build a brand or how to establish one’s self in the industry, since I’ve only recently felt like I’ve reached the outskirts of some of the art industries that are out there. I’ve gone through the work to officially copyright my business ALT ART as an LLC just earlier this year, and so I still feel very new to everything in a way. The one thing I can say that should be able to apply to everyone regardless of what field they’re in, is that you need passion. As far as I’m concerned is the number one thing (or close to) that allows people to reach incredible heights. Every professional I’ve talked to or any one that’s established for themselves a successful venture seems to say that they owe their position and success to the passion that they’ve put into their work to get them to where they are. Skills can be gained, knowledge can be earned, money can be obtained, but if there’s not enough passion and not enough drive, a person with all the skills, knowledge, and money, won’t be able to utilize any of it to the potential needed to get them to where they might want to be. Well, that’s my stance at least. You won’t know until you try I guess… I’ll add for those that are considering going to art college, that it’s becoming increasingly less imperative to attend a 4 year art college to learn what’s needed to become a professional artist. There’s a lot of alternative 1 year or less options that offer specific knowledge on art for less. There’s also a lot of free information on the internet given by professionals in art industries as well. So I do advise to really use the resources provided to you when you can. Keep an open eye and an open mind. There’s a lot I want to do with my art and a lot I’m looking forward to, like the creation of my own comics, books, and projects, but I’ll digress from that until I’ve gotten that far down along the road. For now, I hope people enjoy what I draw and that it’s able to inspire others in some way!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
To be honest, I’m the most boring person ever haha, I barely leave my house. I actually have no idea what places or events to check out around where I live. A few years back there was a nice jazz club that played on certain days right next to the Fox theater in Midtown Atlanta. There’s also the High Museum of Art and right next to it is a spot where the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra preforms. I don’t know too many places off hand I’m afraid.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My best friends from back in the day: Askia Mapp, Kevin Darnell, Marsel Khamidullin that helped keep me drawing and emotionally stable back in grade school. My awesome art teacher in high school, Miss Christine Hellyer who really pushed my artistic skills and knowledge to where it needed to be and put me in positions to have my art noticed publicly, helping fuel my confidence and work ethic. My best friends in college who I shared the struggle and stressed together with during those grueling all nighters: Darryl Smith Jr. aka DarrylPyon, Savannah Ikhmais, Natalya Gladman, Stephen Yu, and Olamide Daniel. The squad! And lastly my fam, that supported me from birth to now. Not everyone has that… Oh! And all the cats and pets I’ve had for the company. Friendship Is Magic, all species included.
Square Co., Futago-Shinobi, Mane6DevTeam, Pixel, Koyoharu Gotōge