Aaron Nagel RUNs Us Thru Signals

In a bit of a departure from our typical 1xRUN Thru Interview, we instead turn the page over to Aaron Nagel as he highlight his latest RUN Signals. Read on for a beautifully detailed step by step from Aaron written while working on the  30″ x 40″ oil on canvas painting “Signals” in late 2010.


1xRUN Thru Interview
Signals by Aaron Nagel


1xRun: When was the piece drawn/created?
Aaron Nagel:  Late 2010.


1xRun: Anything immediate you would like us to highlight?
Aaron Nagel:  This is a companion piece to “The Calming“, where I was still working through combining a messy light background with a refined figure. I kept a very detailed journal of the process of this painting, and did my best to document each step. (Those entries start here.) This was my third “Step by Step” journal series and as someone who really values this kind of writing from other artists, I felt I should pay it forward — hopefully good painting karma. (Read on for Aaron’s Step By Step


1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Aaron Nagel:  The idea and execution came about much like most of my work; which is basically just a search for what is aesthetically pleasing, but with the right mood. I was particularly interested in working out the light background, which was something I hadn’t done much of. Also, it was the beginning of many (and ongoing) attempts to combine a loose background with a gradually more refined figure, from the outside in.


1xRun: How long did the piece take?
Aaron Nagel:   A few weeks I think. I don’t remember this one being too problematic, but I did do a lot more glazing and layering than I do these days.


1xRun: Describe the piece in one gut reaction word.
Aaron Nagel:  lighting.


1xRun: What else do you have in the works?
Aaron Nagel: I just now started working on a new series for my first solo show in New York City.  That will be with Lyons Wier Gallery in Chelsea, opening in October.

Read on for Aaron Nagel’s Step by Step

Words & Images Courtesy of AaronNagel.com

The idea of documenting the process and my thoughts on a painting from start to finish initially sounds exhausting, and as usual, I’m always wary of providing too much information. Not that I have some top secret painting techniques or anything, but more that it generally feels a little more personal than just posting a finished piece and allowing people to process it their own way. (there’s a fine line between being a private guy and keeping a blog on the internet for the world to read…and that fine line was likely crossed years ago so I should probably stop worrying about it). And of course I’m constantly asking myself if people really want all this information? which is another moot point — it’s my own blog, and if people weren’t interested,  they wouldn’t read it right? why worry? Besides, I’ve done ‘step by steps’ three times before, [here] & [here] & [here], and people seemed to enjoy them. I also read other artists blogs constantly, and find them entertaining and very educational — if anybody gets a little of that from anything I post here, i’m happy.So there you have a very abbreviated version of my thought process on these entries, and a preview of the meanderings to come. Am I aware that I felt the need to justify posting on my ownblog? yes I am. You’d think with a couple websites, a facebook page, a decrepit myspace profile, a half-ass Twitter account, and who knows what else, I’d be comfortable with the presumed ego one needs to self-promote. Which is not to say I don’t have an ego, because I do, and it’s awesome. But I digress…I’m ready to get serious now.

there is some progression of glazes [above] I promise, a couple of days worth. I make sure never to glaze lights with too much white, even in the harshest highlighted areas,  as I find it kind of screws up the temperature and can make things unintentionally cool (with the exception of the black painted areas which reflect a much cooler light).

i’m almost finished with the glazing [above], and while the figure looks close to where I want it, the background is looking a little too flat — so I re-painted it. I was looking for a more uniform look at the top of the piece, and a more layered look for the bottom where the figure degrades into the background to give the whole thing a little more depth.  It’s lost a bit in these pictures (as usual), but I think the change, though subtle, makes a big difference.

almost done, final pictures in the next post!

And it’s done! This was a fun piece, and I’m very happy that I didn’t ruin it with all the experimenting (there’s been a bit of that recently). Unless anything changes, this piece will be part of the Arts Fund Expo at the W Hotel, for this year’s Art Basel in Miami.

– Aaron Nagel View These on Aaron’s Blog Starting Here

Warholian Profile : Aaron Nagel Courtesy of Aaron Nagel/Warholian


1xRUN: When did you first start making art?

Aaron Nagel: I’ve been drawing since I was in kindergarten. I remember drawing a jet on a pillowcase we were making and being pretty excited about it. I can still draw it. I didn’t get into painting until my early twenties when I started experimenting in my garage and doing album art for bands. ( Below check out a behind the scenes look at the artwork for Gavin Castleton’s latest album done by none other than Aaron Nagel.)

1xRUN: What artists inspired you early on?

Aaron Nagel: Early on, H.R. Giger was my dude, and I really liked Alphonse Mucha.

1xRUN: What artists inspire you now?

Aaron Nagel: This list is endless, but here’s a few: Rembrandt, Ingrés, Pasini, Sargent, Jenny Saville and Sean Cheetham. (See Aaron’s blog where he writes about seeing works of several of these artists on his site.)

1xRUN: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?

Aaron Nagel: Actually, never. I listen to audiobooks, always have.

1xRUN: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be?
Aaron Nagel: Damien Hirst, then I could fund the rest of my art career and go back to working by myself.
1xRUN: If you could collaborate with any deceased artists who would it be?
Aaron Nagel: Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. (See Aaron’s blog post about his recent trip to Chicago and Ingres here)

Signals by Aaron Nagel

The Calming By Aaron Nagel