Art has been a passion for me since I was a wee lad. I was certain that I would be an artist as a career.
I was so committed that I chose not to go to college with the anticipation of becoming this fully paid artist.
Foolish, I know. But worse yet, this was before the internet was a thing. Becoming a paid artist today is much easier. Not easy, but easier.
Life happened and I set aside my childish artistic desires- for the most part.
But then a couple of years ago while rediscovering Twitter and how to use more intentionally- I came across Aaron Aalto.
He became my art teacher and rekindled my love of art. Because of his inspiration I started drawing, sketching and publishing on a regular basis.
Tune in to todays episode of the Teevee Show Podcast where I have a conversation with Aaron about life, love, and art.
He’s an artist’s artist. Aaron is exploring and thinking about art and design in ways that many have not even considered. He’s obsessed with classical design methods of all the greats.
Hit the play button and and listen in.
Welcome everyone. My name is TV from the TV show podcast, and today we're with my good friend and teacher. He's my art teacher, Aaron Alto. Yeah. Would you say that in Spanish? Yeah. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Um, I could say a lot of things about him, but I, what I'm gonna, uh, do instead is allow him to introduce himself briefly and they could just jump into the conversation.
Sure. Um, my name is Aaron and I work on design and drawing. Um, right now I am living outside of New York City and yeah, I'm happy to be here. Fantastic, fantastic. Um, for some context, Aaron, as I said a second ago, is my art teacher Now, obviously, he wasn't my art teacher in school. School. I discovered him on Twitter a couple years ago.
How long has it been Aaron? About a year, I think. Years. Is it only a year, man? Maybe, maybe more, maybe two. It just. . I feel like it's pushing too. Yeah. Because I've easily been [00:01:00] drawing consistently. Yeah. Um, although not publishing as much recently for at least over a year. Yeah. A year and a half. Uh, we, I went a full year there where I was go, go, go, go.
Yeah. Yeah. But I discovered him as I was looking to learn more, to get back in touch with my artistic background. Um, I follow Jack Butcher, who is, uh, the individual behind, and I forget the name of that brand. So visualize value. , thank you. Visualized value, which is a pinnacle product, a pinnacle, uh, offering from him.
Um, and through that, I, I discovered you, I read an article that you wrote for him, uh, followed that track and then yeah, you were offering an art course. Yeah. So it was a perfect alignment. It was imperfect alignment with what I was trying to do at the time, which was draw more, get back in touch with that side of myself.
Um, then we'll talk more about that in a minute, but, about the course, obviously [00:02:00] befriended you got to know you well, and you've always been incredibly supportive, uh, through, I mean, you were giving above and beyond what I paid for. To be honest, I felt like I didn't pay enough for the product to have that much access to you.
But given your desire to completely serve the community and grow this movement, uh, it made sense. Um, so because of that, he's actually, Aaron has become a good friend. Yeah, someone I trust, someone I respect in the industry and who's always, uh, sharing valuable content in the world. Um, so having said all that, Aaron, what, what got you into art?
What was your, your first introduction that you can recall? Um, tell us about that. Um, I think I've always been drawn to images, um, since the beginning and. . I, I think initially it was just something that [00:03:00] was almost like, you know, when you're starting off in school, most of your books are illustrated and a lot of the, a lot of the way you kind of perceive the world comes to you through the, through cartoons and illustrations and animations and things like that.
And so I've never put that together. Wow. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So it, it was, it was one of those things that, that quickly just like, something was like, Hey, like pay attention to this stuff. And then, um, that sort of morphed into an interest in design. Um, and eventually it became something that, Wanted to study and learn more about, and that's kind of how it snowballed into what it is that I do now.
So tell [00:04:00] us, what is it that you do now? So right now, um, I do a, a a variety of things, and that's kind of a challenge to explain to, to people. . Um, a lot of people, uh, uh, find me through social where, where I, I've shared, um, art instruction and illustrations. Um, and so they come to me to explain ideas, to explain, um, tell their brand story through illustrations, through concept illustrations.
But, um, the, the, my background is an industrial design and user experience design, so I. I for a moment real quick. Yeah. If, if you don't mind me interrupting you. Sure. No, go ahead. Um, can you give a quick, uh, can you explain the difference between typical art and what you're describing just for the layman?
Yeah. [00:05:00] So there is like, like the difference between industrial design and, okay. So yes. When, when I'm talking about illustrations, I'm talking about, uh, drawings that you find in websites, uh, drawings that you find in presentations in social media assets. And when you were talking about art, we're talking about things like Leonardo da Vinci's paintings and um, you know, mi, Michelangelo, Picasso, Fria, kalo.
When I'm talking about industrial design, that is, The, that's focused on design for a, uh, for an object at human scale. So let it be like your phone, your [00:06:00] computer, um, your faucet, you know, your tape dispenser. All of these things were conceived by a industrial designer. And then your user experience designer is the person that's orchestrating your, um, ex mobile digital experience when you're checking your account balance or when you are navigating Twitter or, uh, uploading an attachment to your email, um, that kind of thing.
So there's a lot of design elements in virtually every aspect of our life, whether we know it or not. Yeah, yeah. Uh, your entire, anything that's manmade, um, has been designed, whether it's good design or bad design, that's another question. But everything, including art, like fine art, um, has been designed and that's been one of the biggest like realizations and discoveries for [00:07:00] me this year.
Um, I think it's, it's going to be one of those like, uh, um, it, it was a, it was, there's a before and after that realization, All of the paintings that you see from the Renaissance, all of those sketches that you see from Leonardo da Vinci's sketchbook, all of that has a foundation on geometry and design and just a vast knowledge of how things work, right?
Mm-hmm. . Um, so when, you know, the word design and drawing in English are separate, but in Spanish, in, um, Italian and all the romantic language, like French, it's one word. The same word for drawing is the same word for designs. Um, so I won't pronounce the, the ones in French, Deso Deso, um, [00:08:00] in French, it's Des Desen.
I'm not sure if I'm pronouncing that right. Um, French people don't attack us. Please. Thank you, . But it, it is, it is one word. And that one in the same, that goes to show just how intimately intertwined design and drawing are. And by definition art is too, because drawing is the foundation. It's the scaffolding of a trained painter's painting.
Right. It's composed like music. Um, those, it needs to have structure. Yeah. It needs to have elements in place to get the user, the viewer to actually flow through the illustration and tell the story exactly. In order. Da Vinci knew exactly where he wanted our eyes to flow. Exactly. Knew exactly how he wanted to sit.
Well, not exactly think about it, but at least get us to a certain point within his illustrations and his, his. designs cuz he was many things. And you [00:09:00] actually tell me about Leonardo da Vinci cuz this is something that I know you've, you're incredibly a person, you're incredibly passionate about. I love the man.
Yeah. So like most people, I was under the perception that he's some genius, you know, like, and he is, uh, but he was unreachable. He was just someone that was blessed with, um, an incredible ability, supernatural ability to represent and to de uh, sorry to design and create beautiful pieces of art. But as I've been sort of diving into researching the Renaissance and the people who were prevalent in that time, um, I came across a biography by Walter Isaacson called Leonardo Da Vinci.
And as I read this book, I came to realize that he was an ordinary human being. Just like us and no [00:10:00] possessed an extraordinary just appetite for learning and for, for exploring and for describing things that people during that time had no, like it, they didn't even register. Right. Like, for example, one of his to-dos was to describe the beak or the tongue, I believe, of a woodpecker.
And this was intentional because he wanted to learn like how it worked so it could influence something that he was working on, on the side. So he was constantly use it as a study. Yeah. Yeah. And, and one of the things that I loved about the way he sort of spoke to himself through his notebooks and his sketches is that he would, you know, like you and I, or maybe it's just me,
Previously I would write maybe, um, check in [00:11:00] with, you know, TV about X, Y, Z. Mm-hmm. Leonardo was more, uh, more like, um, ask tv, who's an expert marketer about how to build a brand online or something like that. Right. So it was very like, ask around, ask, ask experts about specific things. And in his case, he was, wow.
He was asking mathematicians, he was asking like, um, okay. All of these different types of people questions and, and really just trying to piece together things and figure out like how this disgusting thing worked. Right. So, so essentially he was really good at asking questions from the experts. Yeah. He was curious and he would go to the experts.
Yeah. Which brings, to me, it brings to [00:12:00] mind a book that I read and, and something that I've been hearing circle around a lot is it's, um, not what, but who finding the people that are actually subject matter experts that know their stuff in that particular realm. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, to get you to that shortcut, to get the answers directly from them.
Uh, yeah. One of the things though that I have to highlight, sorry, go ahead. Okay. No, no. I was just gonna say, it's, it's fascinating because I'm also curious to hear, which I, I imagine is probably true and you, I'll, I'll let you tell me here in a second, is because we're all still human beings living a human experience regardless of what era you live in.
Uh, and no matter, even if you're Leonardo DaVinci, Leonardo DaVinci, um, he probably had a lot of critics and probably was a lot of. Hmm. Probably struggled a lot to get his ideas across because I even, uh, I studied studying, uh, Michelangelo, and we think of him as a genius and he got all these things done, but to truly get into his history and how he was able to get the Sistine Chapel done [00:13:00] over time and all the other things he did, there was a battle along the way.
Not just externally, but internally, because we're still having human experiences. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Um, just to go back to, uh, uh, I want to come back to this, but one of the things that, that Leonardo did that, um, I definitely think that's important to note, is that not only did he go to the experts and ask, um, or, uh, you know, like get ask them.
Yeah. Ask them questions. Only learned through experience and experimentation. It was only later on in life that he was like, okay, maybe I can ease up a little on the ex on the experimentation and, and, um, the experience. And maybe I can ask because during, during his time, um, the Gutenberg machine or the Gutenberg press was just recently invented.
And so books were becoming, [00:14:00] publishers were sprouting around all over the area. So there were books just starting to come into, um, circulation. Um, so he was around for that. So he was around for that, uh, huge development and, uh, the spread of information, um, and, and knowledge. But going back to that idea or that.
these, these men, like these people, were going through very difficult times during their lives, and it serves us a lot of inspiration for us because you almost, I don't know, maybe, maybe it was just me, but I kind of imagined Leonardo being, you know, hold up in some castle somewhere, working for a patron, working for a wealthy person, and just focused on his craft and, and all of that.
That wasn't always the case. He, there's instances where he's getting sued by family for, um, [00:15:00] for a piece of land or something that his uncle left. Um, there's another one where war breaks out and he's got a flee and like, he's gotta like go pitch himself to someone else. And he's dealing with politics between these like warring states.
So there's a lot going on. Um, there's also this rivalry between him and Michelangelo and Oh, yes. And so that's why I think it's so funny when people are like artists, like artists shouldn't, like, be competitive or something. Like, it's like, it's like, what? Like we're human beings. Like human. You're asking us not to be human beings.
like, like it's, it's of course there's competition. I mean, when you look at the Beatles, there was like a competition between them and like the Beach Boys, but that was like a friendly competition, right? It's like, oh, they came out with Sergeant Peppers like. All right. Well, I guess we gotta step it up now and come up with pet sounds and stuff like that.
So, friendly competition [00:16:00] in the art world is, you know, even unfriendly necessary. Yeah. Even unfriendly competitions. Yeah. I mean, you know, it's , the audience benefits. It's unnecessary, right. They, they get a better product of the artist. If you truly committed to the art will get back into the lab and put something together.
Take a new spin. Yeah. On a, something that maybe is trending right now. I know for you it is something that you started to do as you have grown in the last year or so, from the moment that I discovered you, is your style has evolved and growed and has grown in a different direction, which I'm really fascinated by.
But before we get there, I do have a, a congratulations. Congratulations on the cover. Oh, thank you. To the book. Yeah. Uh, I saw it. And then I saw your, I, I haven't been on Twitter much recently. , uh, I've been in my, my own head and got client work and whatnot. Makes sense. Um, but I saw your, actually I saw your design.
I'm like, is that what I think it [00:17:00] is? I've been so confused. I just, I'm running and gunning. And then finally I put the pieces together and realized that you designed the cover to p Bellas saying his name, right? Yeah. Yes. Uh, to his, his recent book. So congratulations on that. Thank you. How did that come about?
Yeah, so, um, that came about through a friend who recommended, um, recommended me to their team and mm-hmm. , they were actually holding a contest to see, uh, if, because they already had the placeholder cover with kind of the concept that, that they, they, they were kind of looking for. And so I, I sent them a few concepts and.
They liked them. And, uh, we then proceeded to, to work on it for, for, uh, several weeks. And, um, yeah, it was [00:18:00] a, it was a really, really great, uh, experience getting to work with Bolaji and, and the 17, 20 19. They're doing some amazing things. I'm, I just bought it yesterday. Yeah. So I need to dig into the book itself and it's amazing.
I'm fascinated by the idea. I'm fascinated by the idea, cuz I feel like there has to be some change. Yeah. Uh, things have to, there has to be some new ideas presented and I, I like this. Yeah. Man. From the concept that I understand at, at the high level, it's a, it's a fascinating read. Uh, one of the things that , after finishing it, um, it, it, it made me realize just how little I, I, I truly know about history.
Um, and Biji does a good job of, of just. really showing you the different perspectives. You know, when you're growing up in the states or whatever country you're from, like the [00:19:00] country is going to give you, uh, a version of their history, right? And that version is not always 100% accurate. Um, so it's, it's really, it's a really great book.
Um, it, it makes me very optimistic to know that there's very intelligent people out there working and getting together and, um, finding solutions to these, like these, these soci, these problems that we have in society that, um, seem to just. Get hot potato to from one administration to the other, um, one generation to the next one, and Exactly.
Um, and so it, it's, um, I think that there is a huge opportunity for us as human beings to leverage technology and, um, and what we, what, you know, what [00:20:00] we, what we've learned from what doesn't work. And, and try to, you know, uh, attempt at designing and creating our, our own, uh, our own future, our own maybe our own new country.
That would be fascinating to, to witness. Hopefully I'm around for that. Um, it's coming just yeah, for real. Like, I think it's gonna be in, in my lifetime, but hopefully I'm, I can witness it like in real time as well. Oh, for sure. Um, I wanted to touch on something, uh, that's really important to me. Um, just to kind of transition a little bit and, and also to kind of circle back to one of the big reasons, one of the big topics I like to talk about or think about and having a fellow artist.
I think I know where you will go with this because we're artist, but I'm an artist. I've been an artist all my life. My story is I started, I remember vividly the person that introduced me to drawing in a sense, and, and I was in third grade. [00:21:00] Uh, this kid in the class was drawing superheroes. I didn't even know what superheroes were then.
I was a little immigrant kid. Uh, but he drew ninjas and all types of stuff, and superheroes, capes, loved it. And that's when I first got the bug. Mm. Um, and throughout my entire life, it's been something that I've wanted to do. And my backstory is that, . I have no degrees. I have no certifications. I'm actually, you probably shouldn't listen to me.
If you're interested in teaching your kids about parent or you're interested in learning about parenting, I'm probably not someone you should listen to. However, I have been the father of the two. Um, and while I didn't go to college, because I intended on being an artist, this is 19 94, 19 95, which is crazy what it's like almost 30 years ago.
Mm-hmm. . I wanted to be an artist. Um, five years later, I wasn't an artist. I started a family not long after that, but art has still been something that I've always been passionate about. So when I told you, when I told you that, you helped me get back around to that, you [00:22:00] did. Because I spent a good 10 years of like, I wanna say from 1990 to 2000, like really trying to develop my skills as an artist.
Mm-hmm. with, uh, I wanted to be a comic book artist. I was an airbrush artist. I printed t-shirts, I did anything and everything revolving around that. And then I became a father. I got married, and that kind of got tossed to the side. And I realized that it's a really difficult job if you're trying to make this a career, especially back then.
I was ahead of my time. I tell people, um, but art continues and continue to be something that I was passionate about and I instilled it in my daughters. It was part of my parenting strategy. Um, we've always had paints, colors, crayons, markers, paper walls. I believe that art was an essential element to life.
And for me, realizing, well, I hear this all the time, like they, people want creative people. They want people to be problem solvers and to be creative, but how do you [00:23:00] teach that? Mm-hmm. , how do you teach creativity? Um, like proactively. And I think for me, that was one of my big ahas and I just did it. Um, they're incredible artists now, both of them.
Um, and I feel like it's, it's usually. People usually shit on the arts. And I get it. It's, it's, it's a little difficult and whatnot. Uh, it's, it's, it's, uh, seen as if it's not good enough. It's not, you know, a doctor or lawyer or whatnot, but I find it discouraging because at the end of the day, you still need art everywhere you look.
There's art without art where, what would our lives look like? Yeah. Yeah. I think there's a beautiful scene in the film, the Dead Poet Society where Robin Williams's character, love that movie, um, takes the class and, and kind of, you know, brings, brings, it brings the point home, you know, with regards to, yes, you know, me, uh, [00:24:00] being a doctor, being a lawyer, being, uh, a surgeon, you know, a, a police officer, whatever you want to name career-wise, that is, has a clear function in society.
Right. Um, , those are noble things, but like, without art, without literature, without, you know, um, music, like what else is there? Like, that's what gives life its flavor. It. Um, and, and I think, and I think, you know, there's a, there's a, a, um,
personal experience. When I was growing up, I was going to a public school and, uh, I would, you know, overhear things about like parent teacher conference stuff about like budget cuts and all this stuff. And, um, it wasn't a very affluent neighborhood. So, um, start, you know, Art [00:25:00] classes were the first things they cut because it was like, you know, it's expensive.
Yeah. You know, there's paints that you have to buy, there's canvases, you have, you, there's so much stuff that you have to have and for all of these kids, and, you know, it makes sense. But the, the, the issue that arises from that, it just seems like a lot of people, well those people in charge were like, yeah, let's cut this out, um, to save money and focus on math and whatever, everything else.
But the issue is that, um, you lose that fundamental quality of, um, that you mentioned, which is learning how to solve problems through creativity and um, through, uh, educating critical with critical thinking, like looking at a piece of art and, and seeing what is. , why is it working? How does it work? Um, you know, [00:26:00] uh, did the artist succeed in, in their mission?
Um, these kind of questions. What is art? You know, that question brings up, uh, a lot of, uh, you know, a lot of thought. So it, it, it is quite sad to see, um, there being this ignorance, um, this visual illiteracy, if you will. I, I think people don't realize that when you design or draw something, there is a lot of problem solving that's involved in it because you, you start off with this idea that you want to put down on paper Yeah.
Or illustrate, but inevitably you're gonna run into obstacles in. , paint that thing, illustrate that thing, right? And then lay it out design wise in a way that's more compelling. And it, it makes sense and it, it gets the story across. And that critical skill of problem solving, which you wouldn't connect with drawing [00:27:00] one wouldn't, but it is essential.
Like, do does, do the arms work? Does the look fit? Is it their perspective? Does this person, this character, look like it's actually sitting in that space? Yeah. So there's a lot of problem solving and thinking throughout the process. Yeah. And I think there is this conversation now that's, um, taking place in Twitter and I get to see it on my, on my feed.
Uh, cuz the algorithm knows what ticks me. Um, , tell me about this there, I'm sure you've probably heard of all of the recent developments with, uh, image generating a artificial intelligences like a, um, Dolly and mid journey and a bunch of other different, um, stab stable fusion or diffusion. I don't remember what it's called, but there is a lot of very smart people out there talking about how this is going to eliminate the artist or eliminate the need [00:28:00] for, it's just revolutionizing art and all of this stuff.
And I'm actually working on an essay now, uh, to address some of the points that they make because I think that I'm probably the one of the few people in the intersection of like this world of tech and Twitter and the traditional. Art making process that actually gives a shit about this stuff. So, um, it, it, it bothers me greatly to see smart people talk about this because, or, or saying that that AI is going to replace art because it, it just shows in enormous ignorance to what an artist does and what art is.
Right. And people think, people think, you know, this is the issue. The underlying issue is that people think that it's what they see. Like [00:29:00] that's, they see a painting that's, that's like, that's art. Or they see an illustration or something else, and that's our, and they don't know how to distinguish. what they're looking at.
They, they don't know that that painting has layers. They don't know that painting was composed. And how could they, they don't have the education, they don't have the training. How can you see what you haven't been trained to see? Right. And so the, the underlying issue here is that, um, there is a lack of education.
There is a, a, a, there's visually literacy. That's like a, that's a plague in, in, at least in this country, from what I've seen. Um, people don't know what the artist does, and they think that the artist goes into a room and expresses himself and just yada yada. They don't take it as seriously as they [00:30:00] do.
They would take a physicist or a mathematician or a doctor, and that's a problem because. A, the traditional Renaissance style of making art, um, that practice, I shouldn't say style, the practice of, of, of creating, um, art and design is, man, it's what it, it's what got Leonardo to see and document, um, like an, i, I don't know how to pronounce this correctly.
Anato anatomically correct, uh, uh, representations of the human body. Um, in the book, if, if you read it, uh, you, you, yeah, I know you suggested it. I need to get around to it. You'll discover that. Um, if Leonardo Da Vinci had not done anything else, his studies on [00:31:00] the human teeth would've been just like it was the first time.
people or someone had documented accurately what all the teeth that we had. Imagine that, you know, it's, it's, it's wild. Um, and so art has always been at the cutting edge. That's why, you know, when, right when, when, uh, cryptocurrencies, uh, last year, uh, or, uh, NFTs, NFTs started to take off, artists are always there.
They're always open to that new thing. You know, that, uh, new ways, new canvases, new applications. And by the way, I'm not against ai. In fact, I use it. Um, what I think of it is, it's like, it's like a, a tool to me. It's a tool. It's, it's a magical pencil there. Um, yeah, it's, I was, I'm a, go ahead. I, I subscribed to this newsletter and I forget [00:32:00] the name of it.
I found it on Twitter. It's about pessimism. I forget what it is, but what they do is they collect old newspaper stories and old things that were being said about anything. Yeah. Where they pretty much doubted this would ever be a thing. Yeah. Somebody, somebody, uh, I forget who was, there was a clipping of how Elvis was killing, killing it all he was doing, no, it wasn't Elvis.
I forget who it was, but it was a musical artist who, who went on to become an amazing human being and, and, and performer. But he is like, ever since Elvis rock and roll has been dead, this guy should just give it up. Rock and roll as a whole is about to die. Mm-hmm. . Um, yeah. And recently to the subject of AI and Dolly, it said the same thing.
Apparently back in the day somebody said that photography was gonna kill. , um, that prince were gonna kill art. That it, it's always something supposedly killing art. You're not gonna kill the artists. You're not gonna kill art. [00:33:00] Now, there may be digital, like I think software can, can create quote unquote art, but if it's not an, a human being creating it or telling a story, um, spending the time, cuz a lot of our art comes from personal experiences.
Um, I, there is no robot that can mimic that. Um, there's still the human element that you can't strip away and give to. I don't know. I, I'm a big believer in that. Maybe I'm overly optimistic, but it is not the end of the artist. Um, there's photography, like a Photoshop is supposed to have killed photographers.
Lightroom should have killed photographers. All these other platforms supposedly leaves no room for those individuals. But it makes those, it actually makes photographers, real photographers that are out there in the field, much more valuable because they actually know how to do it well with a. , big piece of equipment and compose and whatnot, that art in and of that is art in and of itself.
Yeah. I think what happens is, again, that lack of education [00:34:00] lacking, um, the knowledge of, of what, what is art? You know, there's a lot of people who are like, art is subjective, and that's not all the, that's not, that's not the entire truth because, um, as I've been researching and trying to get, uh, better at drawing, um, I have come across a lot of classical texts in books that were written a hundred years ago that talk about the practice and, um, you're becoming a historian in all of this.
One, one of the, one of the things that stood out to me is just how clearly, uh, a gentleman named Harold Speed, uh, talks about this and. He, he mentions that art is a combination of unity and variety. So the artist is constantly [00:35:00] balancing those two. Unity is designed. Unity is order too much, unity becomes lifeless.
It's too perfect. It's, it's right. Too much variety is too is chaos. It's disorder. It's just, there's no sense in there. And so you have to use design and unity to construct the expression. Like for example, you can teach someone how to draw like an academic, like I can teach you basic arithmetic. I can teach you geometry.
What I can't teach you what The science kind of stop. It stops at a certain point. , you can't teach someone how to feel. Hmm. You can't teach someone how to use their, like you said, their life, [00:36:00] their soul. Like you can't teach someone how to play with soul, basically. Like that is something that is, you're on your own.
Like you've gotta go and figure it out. It's intrinsic. Yeah. Right. So, um, it, it, this is another concept that I picked up from this book, which is called the Practice in Science of of Drawing. He talks about there being scientific accuracy and there being artistic accuracy. When you look at a painting, for example, by Michelangelo and you see a torso, um, in his sketchbook, that torso is not a human torso.
It's designed because Michelangelo had such an intimate knowledge of human anatomy. He was able to use geometry and, [00:37:00] uh, proportions to stretch, elongate, exaggerate the human body to make it look herculean or to make it look delicate or whatnot. So what drawing is, is not a direct copy of reality. It is the artist's knowledge of how things work.
and expressed through a structure and expressed through a, um, through, um, through taste and expression, right? So copying things from the real world is boring. That's why Dolly is just a glorified Photoshop filter because it's only taking everything that has already been made and just mixing it up. And that's great.
That's fantastic. I have a use for it. If Leonardo of Da Vinci was around, if Michelangelo was [00:38:00] around, they would find a use for it. It would be like a fancy new chisel or fancy new pencil. It's like in the hands of a true artist, it can be used to inform, uh, what you do. So that's why art, you know, a lot of people think, oh, you know, artists are just upset that you know, this, this thing can now create what they create.
Like, you don't get what we do. , you don't understand what it is that we do. I think I've even heard that there. I think I've even heard that there's an AI for raps, for rap music and for music in general. And at then it doesn't, it doesn't fucking matter. , I mean that, that's great. Like that's great. Look, that's great.
If Kendrick Lamar, uh, you know, like I doubt he would want to, cuz he's so great. Um, like if he wants to see what word rhymes with, I, I don't know what the, his process is like , but like in his hands, it, [00:39:00] it's, it's probably like, you know, just another, uh, keyboard or another plug Right, right, right. For, you know, his, his music producing software, whatever, you know, it's, it's, it's a tool that he can use.
It's a tool to really create even bigger, better art. Yeah, yeah. Whatever that looks like for him. Yeah. Like, you need consciousness. There's nothing to be afraid of. Like, you need consciousness to, to to, to make new things. Un un like, When we figure out how to code consciousness, , then, then we're like in a new territory.
But we, I haven't seen, I haven't seen that happen yet, and I don't think it will happen. I think we're okay in our lifetime. I think we're okay. Yeah. Uh, possibly, possibly in my daughter's lifetime. So let's, um, let's change the course a little bit and tell us a about, a little bit about your, uh, what you're working on right now, specifically, because I know you have a couple of projects.
One that I actually, um, ran into [00:40:00] yesterday. Like I said, I haven't been on Twitter much and I'm sorry. I'm usually one of your biggest fan boys. I don't apologize, um, , but I think you have something called Frames. What's that about? I, I didn't have a chance to read. It was late last night, but, uh, it looks fantastic as always.
Yeah. So the idea behind frames is it's really an experiment to see, um, what comes in. Isn't it all ? Yeah. Everything's an experiment. Um, . So essentially what happens is it's very similar to what we are having here. We have a conversation. Uh, you book a time with me and you come to me with your ideas. Uh, you come to me with maybe challenges that you might have.
We talk and I offer perspective, but that's not all. Um, I also, uh, draw and design in front of you. So, um, during our call, if there is an idea that we need to look at and examine, um, let's say that you, [00:41:00] you're working on a, uh, a new website and you would like to tell a story on this website. So we would. And I would illustrate them for you.
There's a lot of things that can happen. If you come to me with an idea for a robot vacuum, I can also, you know, draw those things. So leveraging industrial design training, um, it's basically just like, uh, if your business challenge or vision or whatever it is that you are working on, that needs to be in the, uh, uh, visually represented, it's like you sitting down for a portrait, right?
And, and having that. So at the end of the call, I give you these frames and it's been really fun. I've been getting to meet interesting, uh, really interesting people working on great things. And it actually makes me very optimistic for the future because, um, [00:42:00] someone that I spoke to yesterday, um, is just like using all their resources and their success.
to help those in need to help, like, uh, to help kids who, like, for example, he, he's, he's helping children who don't have, uh, uh, to, who don't have resources in at school with, uh, with free lunches. And that's just, that to me is like, it, it's like making your corner of society better instead of just like, you know, knowing there's a problem and hoping someone else fixes it.
There's a, i, I, uh, operate on the fundamental belief that despite as shitty as it looks, because of the crap that we're being fed in our algorithms, there's a lot of good being done every single day. Yeah. There are people like who you just mentioned Yeah. Who are out there creating, providing, [00:43:00] um, giving away, like they're putting.
putting a lot of resources into actually helping. Unfortunately, we don't do a good enough job of promoting that, excuse me. And on top of that, we as human beings suck at actually paying attention to that because we tend to gravitate towards the negativity. So all these platforms are feeding as the crap that we kind of like, so it's all kind of backwards, but point is people are, there's actually people doing good work that are thinking of solutions to the problems that we have.
Um, that's pretty neat, man. I love that project. You're giving, you're essentially illustrating helping sketch what's in their head that they have been unable to maybe wrap their minds around it, and you kind of help put it together. Here's a, here's a few frames I guess you would call them. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
That's fantastic. Yeah. So in real time, . Yeah. Yeah, it's, uh, nope. It's really, really fun and, uh, I'm enjoying it and we'll see where it goes. . [00:44:00] Okay. I'll make sure to link to that in the, the show notes later. Um, but it's, it's something that I, I'm curious to learn more about. Um, what else do you have going on?
What else would you like to plug? Well, um, I, I'm writing a newsletter now called Still Life, and in this, in, in this, uh, weekly email, which I'm, I'm a little behind on, uh, , but it's, it's, it's worth, it's worth it. Um, it's a, a space where I can talk about at length, um, the things that I'm reading about, the things that I'm learning about, um, in regards to art and design and everything in between.
So, um, it's a good place to go if you're interested in art, if you're interested in design. What I try to do is, Really [00:45:00] take all of these concepts and, and, and kind of simplify them in a way that's accessible to, um, the larger audience and kind of do it is kind of like a public service in, in a way because I, I want to, I want to keep, keep spreading the curiosity for art, for, for these things that make life worthwhile.
And I'm hoping that it attracts the right people who want to build in these areas because there's so much need, there's so much opportunity for us to, um, just provide this valuable education. This tradi, this 45,000 year old tradition of making art. To, um, all [00:46:00] of them, all of those who are interested in, in, you know, working at it or, uh, just enjoying it.
Um, and so that's what I'm working on now, but I'm also working on a web comic for the nouns doo called Oh yes. Pronouns. Now that one sounds fascinating. Yeah, so I've been working on that for, for a few months. We won a proposal a few months back with the Nouns Doo, um, which is an incredible, uh, incredible doo, um, that funds the, the arts and they have an amazing just community of people.
And, um, I heard someone describe it as an open source Disney, and I love that because it's very true. , you have an opportunity. Anyone has the opportunity to contribute ideas to this dow. Okay. And if you have, for example, uh, like us, [00:47:00] we, uh, Sandy and I, uh, my girlfriend, um, who is a copywriter and brand strategist, we submitted a proposal for this web comic called Pronouns, which is going to, um, tell the story of, of a young person that is discovering what it means to be malish.
So what, what, what is the, okay, what is the experience like in the noun world? Um, so we are really excited about that. And additionally, how's that? Yeah, go ahead. What's the, when do you expect to publish or release? How does that wanna work? I'm curious. Yeah. So, um, we are aiming to have things wrapped up by Friday.
This Friday actually. Okay. This a few, so a few days. Um, but it's going to be a wordless story. So it took us a while to kind of get there. But in order to make it universal, we're going to, [00:48:00] uh, depend fully on images and I think it's going to be something that, uh, wow. That people will, will like. I will be on the lookout for that.
That is Sounds crazy. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. , it's, it's a cha It was a challenge. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Um, I can't only imagine, but, okay. Fantastic. You started to say something else. I'm sorry, I had to ask that question cause I was curious. No, no. Um, I was just going to add that, uh, another sort of thing that we have going on is, uh, relearning how to draw, um, going into.
the tradition of drawing everything by hand, uh, designing things, uh, with geometry in mind. So mm-hmm. basically excavating what [00:49:00] the training that Leonardo and, and Michelangelo received. Um, back in my early college life, these classes were that, the classes that I received touched on this stuff, but it was very watered down.
It was very, very watered down because, um, the tradition of drawing, when you see it in the, in Renaissance, like the Apprentice who would go and study under a master would spend about 10 years. Learning geometry, learning how to, uh, uh, the fundamentals. Yeah, learning the fundamentals of drawing. So, wow, I'm dedicating myself to, to learning that tradition so that not only I can improve and grow, but I [00:50:00] can also, um, share that tradition with others.
How, where do you get that? Is it, who teaches that? Is there someone out there that is well versed in that? Yes. There, there, um, there are several people out there, but it, it's, it's mostly like a collection of. It is. A lot of it's, it's been a lot of research, a lot of books that have kind of gone into, um, someone gave me kind of like a, like a, like a book list.
And I've started reading these books on drawing it. It's really interesting because a lot of this instruction is give, is given to you through words, um, and mm-hmm. and, uh, there's an image here and there, but it's, it's, it's just, it's, the more I go into it, it's like the more I realize that it's, it's [00:51:00] about learning how to see, um, like in combination with like, you first have to learn how to see in order to learn how to draw, right?
Because visualize. visualized value. Sorry, . It just came to my, you had to that. Wow. Yeah. This w You have some cool projects, man. Um, you're definitely someone that I admire in this space and someone I look to for direction in this kind of stuff. Cuz you have a different way of approaching it than anyone else I know.
Um, I can't wait to see that because I, I haven't really studied art in years. I'm trying now obviously through your course and a couple of other people, but you, you touch on something that, I read an article today, I forget his name. Uh, he, he said something along the lines of the information. Somebody has already discovered this.
It's been taught for [00:52:00] thousands of years, but it's been lost. Now there's new books, but it's been lost. Yes. It's, and and that's the point. Like, it's lost. It's, it's lost its value. Uh, to think that it hasn't lost, its, there was an apprentice. Yeah. It hasn't lost its value, but it has. It, it, it, it's been lost access in the, the public's mind.
Um, you know, this is stuff that's even, it's not even taught in college. You know, it's not even taught in major universities. Um, it's a practice that is hard work. It's not 10 years. If, if, if, if someone had to be an apprentice for 10 years in that era to become under their, their master, their, their teacher to become, I guess, prolific proficient enough to pass.
Like, yeah, that's a lot of time . It, it's a lot of [00:53:00] time and, you know, these, these guys were, or these people were, excuse me, they were, um,
they were nameless, you know, for, for a, a long time. Like, there's a story where that, um, Duer Duer, I, I think I'm pronouncing that right. Albert Duer is, is, is, uh, coming to a studio, uh, I think it's Raphael. Um, he's coming to visit from, I'm not sure where, where he, I think he's German. Uh, but he was coming to visit and he's going into the studio and he's looking at this student or this, uh, uh, the, the Apprentice, someone drawing something and it's beautiful.
And he's just like, this is so beautiful. And Rafael was like, do you want it? And he was like, uh, he was like, okay. Um, he just kind of stood there. He just kind of stood there like, what do you, what do you mean? Like, do I want it? And he and Rafael takes [00:54:00] the drawing signs it and gives it to Albert Duer. Um, just goes to show that that drawing didn't belong to the Apprentice.
It, it belonged, it. It was a Raphael, like that apprentice spent 10 years learning how to draw, how to design like a Raphael, like he spent mm-hmm. that, uh, they spent that time, uh, learning how to, uh, how to design according to their master. So these, these apprentice like really were like working hard for 10 years.
And I think , that's not very attractive for universities. Uh, or, uh, yeah, for the students. For the students. I mean, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Um, what's the timeline on that project? You said you're working on that or is that something you're just doing for personal desire or is that something that you're doing to also share?
[00:55:00] Um, it's a personal desire of mine, um, to. man, I like, I didn't even, like, where do I even begin? It's, it is just almost like, I feel like I uncovered a conspiracy or a big scandal not knowing this stuff because, um, I used to think that art and design were separate things. And a lot of designers like to say that, uh, you know, art is about expression, but design is about solving problems.
And they, like, they express so much ignorance when they say all of that because they don't realize that they're, there's one and the same. Um, right. Like I, I, I understand that industrial designers are, There to solve a, a, uh, business problem and, and to create business opportunity while [00:56:00] maybe, um, you know, Leonardo was creating a painting that was commissioned, uh, which is kind of the same.
He's fulfilling an, uh, somebody's commissioning, somebody's painting for it. There's a, there's a design that's happening. Um, but anyway, it's, it's kind of a, that's, that's for another, another chat. But, um, it's really something that's coming from within. Um, because I realize something this in May that I felt like, um, I felt like I had just like no room anymore.
Like, you know, I started sharing drawings online on, on Twitter a couple years ago. . And, uh, suddenly it just felt like that's what I was doing, [00:57:00] um, uh, for two years and it got boring. And, and so I started to ask myself is like, is there more? I want to go a little deeper. And yeah, I discovered that it's infinite.
The more I learn about it, the more I realized I'm not gonna live long enough to figure this thing out. It's infinite. It's infinite. Like how much you can learn, um, about, about drawing it. And I just want to, I want to take it all the way, you know, I want to be the best that I can be. I wanna explode that potential as, as much as I can.
Because, you know, it's a funny thing. I, my mother sent me a, uh, she was going through some of my old things from a. Uh, from my childhood, and one of the things that she sent me was an application. I think you, you may have commented on this when I shared it, but it was an application to receive [00:58:00] art instruction, um, when I was drawing instruction when I was like 11 years old.
And seeing that and reading through that application and looking at where I am now is just like, this has been the longest project I've ever worked on getting better at this. And it's an ongoing pro process. It's something, it's never good enough. Yeah. Yeah. It's like, it's like it, if you really want to be great at something, you are working on it every day constantly.
It's like Jro dreams of Sushi. Have you seen this documentary? . Yes. It's been a while. It's about a sushi chef. But the the amount of time Yeah. That it takes to like the education, the work, thinking, the pro, like always, it's always on your mind and you're always working on it. Right. And he's still working and his sushi shop, and the way the documentary opens [00:59:00] up is kind of him telling you his philosophy.
It's like once you discover that thing that you love, you just do it every day. You just show up every day. Mm-hmm. . And you just give it your, your all. And I think that for a long time, and maybe you, you identify with this, um, to a degree, it's, it's like drawing was kind of like this thing that I did, but it was like, you know, it, it's part of my job.
You know? It's nothing special to me. Really. I, I had almost forgotten or taken it for granted. The, the, the. Ability to, well, I think the only thing that's a gift, gift is the desire to learn, because learning how to draw, learning how to draw is hard work. Okay. It's practice. And I, and I, and I will argue with anyone who claims that it's talent because it's not, [01:00:00] it's hard work.
It's, it's hard work. Oh, no, I don't believe that at all. Yeah. I don't, yeah. It's in one specific, uh, thing, which is illustration, drawing, storytelling, whatever. It's an ongoing process. You're right. If they want to anybody pick it up, it's really the desire that, the hard work you're born with or maybe you develop it or whatever.
But once I, I kind of, it, it, it's been like a, a 10 year click for me to, to realize that this is something. that I want to dedicate my life to and that I want to, um, get really like, just pour myself into it and, and hopefully it, uh, it, it brings people who are also on that mission who also want to get better at it and not just like, create stuff for the [01:01:00] feed.
Like I wanna make stuff that, that matters. Yeah. Timeless, yeah. Time stuff that, that lasts as a staying power. Um, that is something that I've seen you, you start to do in the last few months. Um, and I truly appreciate, cuz it, it, it gives me a sense of direction as well at this. You still are teaching from a distance.
You still are giving me some direction in a way that you may not even be aware of. Um. Because for me, you're, you are someone likewise. I, I put thanks. I appreciate, I have high esteem, so thank you for that. I, um, you, yeah, you said something earlier that, um, it reminded me of this, um, line, this bar from Tib Quali from back in the day.
He's one of my favorite rappers of all time is that he said that the more I learned, the more I reali, the more that I realize I don't know anything at all. Because there is an infinite amount of [01:02:00] knowledge that's readily available. And like now it's, you can have a good chunk of that knowledge of thousands of years possibly at your fingertips.
But then sorting and sifting through that, which is actually useful, beneficial, um, now that's the challenge. So I'm always fascinated when I have conversations with people with, when they share stories or, or, uh, reveal things that they've learned. Like you, you've done several times today to realize It's fascinating to realize.
And learn from people. Uh, cuz you're kind of like, you've done your studying, you're, you're reading, and I get to kind of, uh, pick up on that. Yeah. Through your, through your filter. Uh, and I didn't have to read that book or . Hopefully you can share more and more. Um, thank you, thank you for this conversation.
It means a lot. Um, so the course, do you still sell, the course that I bought from you called Sketching Sales? Um, the, the course evolved into draw in business. So just [01:03:00] to kind of give context to folks who, um, may have not heard of this, um, the, the course was designed to basically give visual communication skills to people who, um, were making stuff on the internet or, uh, just need, needing to explain concepts in their, in their everyday business.
Um, for now. I, I have, uh, discontinued the course. It's going to kind of, it, it, it's gonna evolve probably later on. Um, okay. But yeah, it, it was, uh, it, it was a good, good experiment because it connected me with people like you, yourself and, uh, a few others who were actually, who are putting this stuff into practice.
And, um, it was a, an amazing learning experience to kind of like distill what, what, you know, what we [01:04:00] know into, um, into, into a curriculum, if you will. Um, but, but it was, it was actually during this process that I realized like, Hey, you know what, I actually, I'm actually a lot more interested in, um, the actual craft itself versus using it just as a means to an end.
Right. To just like. Communicate an idea. It's just something that comes very easily. I, I find, uh, the, the design part of it a lot more challenging and a lot more fascinating, right? Because that, that's, that was one thing I was telling that I was talking about yesterday. It's like, eh, and I tweeted about it earlier today, where once you learn the drawing as a practice drawing, meaning design, drawing design, it's the same word.
Um, you once you go in deep, you [01:05:00] meet with mathematics, you meet with geometry, right? You meet with science, you meet with uh, biology, you meet with all these other things. Cuz if you want to do figure drawing, you're gonna have to learn the muscles. You're gonna have to learn the bones. When, when classical artists.
Uh, like Michele, Leonardo and, and all of these people, even Picasso, uh, to, to, in, in the early times, um, when they, when they draw someone a figure, they start with the bones. They start with the bones, and then they add the muscles and then they add the clothes. That's why everyone in the sketchbooks are in their nudes because they're, they're drawing it from the, the structure upwards.
Right? And that's kind of how I wanna approach things now. Like, I want to learn the base, the, the first principles of things and kind of work my way up [01:06:00] to understand. Cuz can you imagine, you know, being build on top of someone that's teaching how to draw and you don't like, you're not fully trained yourself.
Um, or, or imagine just like, claiming to be a doctor , and, and not understanding, uh, you know, not understanding the things that, uh, not going through that training. Right. Um, it, it's just not something that I, uh, that I wouldn't want to be caught doing. And another thing too is that, um, th this is a 45,000 year tradition, right?
This idea of making art, if adding to culture, of contributing to the conversation, Hmm. There is, um, a league of people, uh, that came before us. And in order to [01:07:00] form part of this group, you have to, you have to operate, you have to be trained. Like this group was trained. And that's one of the motivations for me because.
I deeply admire the, the artists that came before the things that they created. Um, and I, I, like, I just think that there's so much richness in there, um, that, that you, like, why not? Like, why not push oneself to reach the heights and even beyond what they did, because that stuff, the, the, the training, the, that, Michelangelo and Leonardo, all those, like all the artists, I'm just using them because that's kind of like who, who is in my mental frame right now?
[01:08:00] But there is so many artists. I just recently bought this book called the, uh, lessons from the great Masters, um, on drawing. Um, and there's countless, countless, but. That stuff is not interesting to many people. It's very few people who, right. It's a select few. And those select few, most of them select few are not in social, they're not in like the N F T space.
They're not, they're, they're in their studios working on their craft. Yes. And so I'm in this awkward position, , where I have one foot in that world now that I'm learning and one foot in the digital marketing entrepreneur Twitter space, um, having to figure out like, okay, how do we bridge these two worlds?
How do we bring it together? Um, and that, that I think is a fascinating, uh, problem to have and a challenge to have [01:09:00] because, um, I wouldn't, I wouldn't want it to. I'm curious to see you solve it. Uh, I wouldn't want this stuff to. To, um, to, to get lost. And I know there's a lot of people out there who are working on this right now to conserve it.
Um, I'm meeting a lot of them through my research and, um, it's, it's, um, it's important because a lot of these books that are just classical texts, I have one book here that's a hundred years old, uh, from like 1930 or 1920s, something like that. 19, 20. It's rare. It's out of print. Um, there's PDFs floating around maybe, but, um, it's on, it's on landscape painting.
Okay. And I ha I bought it and I'm working to, uh, PR preserve these [01:10:00] pieces, um, so that they can be shared with others online. Um, I'm actually working on a rare book library. Um, also, um, that. I, I will be sharing more about in, in the near future, but this kind of ties into like family, right? Like the human family.
Because if you go to the Met, if you go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you get to see a panorama view of human history. You walk into the Met, you see the, the ancient, uh, you know, stone tools that helped us, you know, uh, catch larger game that helped us get the nutrients that we needed to develop a brain that was like capable of more than just, I'm hungry.
How do I find food? You know, it led to the Greeks discovering, you know, geometry or, uh, the theorems that they did and all the [01:11:00] observations. So you look at that and you realize that w. We're all just one big family, and we have this tradition that is the longest tradition that we've had. This, like the, the, the pictures came before, I think the written language, right.
It came before so many different things. The words is that innate desire to, to say, Hey, I'm here. Like I was here. Like this is what I saw. And um, right.
And even the written words are supposed to be art. Like they're, they're, they became letters later. They became letters, which became words, but they were symbols that Yeah. Of some sort. Yeah. There were pic they they were pictographs. Yeah. Like, like hieroglyphics and, and a bunch of the, yeah. Uh, it's, it's really, it's quite fascinating.
It's fascinating to, to [01:12:00] connect it all together. For sure. It all comes together, it all is part of the greater hole. Yeah. Brother. Uh, having said that, um, I really we're gonna wrap it up. I really appreciate your time. Absolutely. Thank you for sharing your, your studies, what you're working on. Yeah, thanks. As we say, bye to people.
Would you like to share where people can find you? Uh, what they can find your work, uh, sure. Online so that way, uh, hopefully we can, uh, get some more people to follow you in your work. Yeah, so you can find me at a alto on Twitter. It's spelled A A r a a l t o. And you can also find me on the web a alto.com.
Um, and that's a pretty good place to start. Fantastic. I'll make sure to include links to all of this in the show notes. Cool, brother. Um, thanks so much. It's nice to talk to another artist. It's nice to talk to a historian. I didn't realize just how much. So, uh, curious to see where you're at in the next 10 [01:13:00] years.
Um, in your work and in your studies. I think you, you will be a, if you basically are, but you will be much more of a thought leader in this space. Um, a lot of people are influenced, have been influenced by your work. Um, I've seen them , they're friends, they're colleagues, myself, but others are like, they're, they're, they're, they're watching you and, and what you do and what you, the way you're moving.
Um, I appreciate it. It's super neat. Thank you for everything with that guys. Uh, talk to you later. Bye-bye.