Aaron “Angry Woebots” Martin was born on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu with an ethnic background is Chinese Filipino, but spent most of his childhood growing up and moving from Southern California to Nevada. More interested in life experience then the big shows Creator of Army Of Snipers crew he continues to network and do shows internationally, meeting up with artists with the same passions and ideas. If you’re a fan of Angry Woebots’ work but want to know more about the man behind the panda, we tried to cover all bases by digging up the dirt on his creative process, his new and future projects, and more. Read below for the full interview…
How has your 30’s changed your perspective on your art? Are you a different artist then you were in your 20’s?
Angry Woebots: As with everything through experience and traveling meeting other artist being exposed to different styles ton’s has changed, its been a great path since I never went to art school. It’s always been a DIY life style and sorta street so this career has been my school so to speak. So yeah, just through time and gaining life experience has made me a better and wiser artist, as far as my personality its exactly the same as I was when I was 19 [laughs], I just make mature decisions now!
Most artists don’t really go past their comfort zone, but you branched out to glass bottles, shoes, skateboards, denim skirts, vinyls and costumes. What prompts you to tackle so many different mediums?
Angry Woebots: I’ve always been pretty diverse with my art since I immerse myself in a lot of different cultures so I think that’s where it comes from. I collect toys, I watch cartoons, [and] love different genres of music. I always been part of a Hip Hop, Bboy, Skateboard, sneaker scene which pretty much are all part pop culture pretty much so I think that reflects onto my art. Also I paint an Iconic type character so changing mediums brings some balance.
Henry Chalfant once said he had a mentor growing up, but he didn’t have a mentor for his art work. How important do you feel it is for a creative to go to formal art school versus hustling as a freelancer?
Angry Woebots: Henry Chalfant rocks. Very cool quote! I see the gain in both paths, I come from that hands on DIY approach and it definitely teaches you something that you don’t gain in school. Thats the life experience part of the art industry, a lot of cat’s go to school to learn how to paint and become better artist some don’t even have the skills yet until school breaks them into it. I’ve been learning on my own and there is nothing like freedom in learning what you really want to focus on , you can build from there and get better at what you really are into. In school you have to learn all this other stuff before getting into or finding want your into, sometimes you lose that passion you had before during the process learning in art school. After all these years I don’t hate on that shit, I would love to go to art school and join all my knowledge I gained, to learn the new and modern techniques they do teach in schools now. I am glad I never went to art school in the beginning, I learned so much in the last 10 years and would never go back. Life is good but I know my potential if I could go to school again. I know I would be motivated to focus on learning what I need too and that’s only because I learned so much in [my] career up to this point.
I’m not going to beat a dead horse and ask you where your obessions with Panda Bears came from. What I will ask is if you’ve ever met a real life Panda before, and how do you piss one off?
Angry Woebots: [Laughs] That’s cool, I’ve seen them at the San Diego zoo but that’s it. The thing thats scary about Pandas is that they have no facial expressions, so mad or not you can’t tell. Like a grizzly bear, he snarls and shows his teeth so you know exactly what’s gonna happen.
Yeah, I ask because your Panda drawings are usually aggressive. I think taking an animal that is symbolic for peaceful, and turning it on its head is a radical idea.
Angry Woebots: Thanks, ever see that clip on Youtube where the Panda is trying to pull the dude through the cage bars? Next time look at his face, he looks peaceful as fuck [laughs], he’s so happy when he gets homeboy’s jacket. So I took the characteristics of a grizzly and slapped the colorway of Panda on it. They are dying off, people label them as an icon of cute, I think they would be pretty fuckin pissed off. I liked flipping that concept of the Panda being cutesy and peaceful. They are always on cookies, candy’s clothing, cute and happy. I rocked this concept since 2003, [so] anything you see after that I would like to believe I influenced all similar concepts that has popped up in the last few years. I’ve seen a few tee company’s, artist and even major TV commercials.
As an artist, how does your culture inspire you in your creations?
Angry Woebots: My blood and ethnic background is Chinese Filipino, but my culture is Hawaiian Island Culture, which is a mix of a bunch of different backgrounds. It inspires me through travel and learning more because of the mixture of people I grew up with. Art is universal so that speaks for itself, Hawaii’s pretty universal. Throughout the years I stepped back and asked myself, “Should I be doing something that reflects my ethnic culture?” After awhile I noticed doing me and painting whatever I wanted to it connected people no matter what. So again, I really don’t know much of my Filipino background, [since] I grew up Hawaiian. Yeah, I guess growing up in Hawaii just made me want to travel more, I kept painting and through hardship and hustle it’s been taking me around the world and I’ve been painting with sick artists from all types of backgrounds. Its been fucking awesome.
This past summer you worked with Luke Chueh, how was that?
Angry Woebots: I been friends with Luke since 2003, also been in a few shows with him. So recently he joined up in my International crew Army Of Snipers so we decided to collaborate on a couple pieces. Luke’s a great guy and also very inspirational. Thats the homie! Always on that ChingChong shit, [laughs].
Could you tell us something about your creative process that many people don’t know?
Angry Woebots: Before painting or starting on a project I have to clean up until every things perfectly in place. It has to be absolutely super clean. It’s sorta like clearing my mind, I guess. Just so I can destroy it all in the creative process of finishing. I don’t really paint in a studio because I think from being on the go I got used to painting in small clean spaces, so that would be my bedroom. I hop between books, comics, video game breaks, movies and listening or making mixes to listen too for my paint sessions. Of course browsing the net and chatting with homies all in between is part of my creative build up, so you can see how and why it takes so long for me. Some would call it procrastinating but it’s how I been working for years [laughs].
We’re big anime nerds over here so I have to ask. Have you seen Panda! Go, Panda!? He’s not as badass as your drawings but it did help to give panda bears some shine in the animation realm.
Angry Woebots: Nice, I haven’t been caught up in anime for years. As far as Panda I use to watch Ranma 1/2 [laughs]. I gotta check it out. Just so you know I was sorta into anime. My favs would be Ninja Scroll, Akira, Jinroh, Fist of the North Star, Macross Plus series just [to name] some. As a kid, I collected Robotech and Kikaida toys.
What kind of plans do you have in the woodwork for the duration of the year and into 2012? Could you share any future exhibits, galleries, or projects?
Angry Woebots: So for the ending of this year, huge projects first would be making a presence at Miami Art Basel. I’ll showing original art with Art Whino out of Virgina also doing some massive Murals out there on the streets with my crew Army Of Snipers. So expect myself with Luke Cheuh, Scribe, Sket One, Pixel Pancho, and few other sick individuals from my crew. That will be Dec-11 to the 4th in Miami.
The biggest project I got coming will be Humanitarian work on the Thai/Burmese border in the town of Mae Sot thailand. Myself and a few of my crew members are going up there to inspire migrant children who have fled from Burma. There will be 12 artist all together to go up there and help out at their schools. Army Of Snipers crew is Joining up with Little Lotus in efforts to help kids and their family’s. All artist are doing fundraisers to help get out there so myself and three others have created a Kickstarter to help us make it out.
One of the artist coming along is Daniel Zana a film maker who created the film “Vinyl Frontier” and has also worked with bands like Tahiti 80, Death Cab for Cutie, and Seppy Sol Daniel will be traveling with us and shooting a documentary of the whole project. Please check out the Link and make a pledge, there alot of rewards for pledging from original art, toys and prints from myself and my crew. If we dont make our goal we won’t be able to go out and help.
Please check out the site for full information on how to help. LINK – Click Here
Mucho Aloha to Japan Cinema, you guys rock!
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