Aaron Cobbett | Art Jobs

Aaron Cobbett

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Name: 
Aaron Cobbett

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The transformative power of costumes, hair / make-up and stagecraft has been the driving force behind my photography, film and performance since the mid 1990’s.

In 2013, feeling the need to shift towards a more tactile practice, I started developing techniques of merging photography and textiles, eventually making lens based quilts.

These works reflect my history in New York’s underground queer nightlife, its inhabitants and stories . Using queer vernacular, remnants of past drag, old sets and costumes, along with repurposed clothing and hand-me-downs, these works physically and metaphorically stitch together the detritus of a queer life lived.

As a survivor of the AIDS crisis, the repurposing of memory to foster healing, renewal and a sense of purpose is a function of daily survival as much as it is an artistic practice.

The events of the past year are a stark reminder to those of us who survived AIDS. As the structures and systems we took for granted break down we are once again forced to confront the ephemeral nature of reality.  With the ground shifting beneath our feet, we acknowledge the need for a ‘higher’ practice, one that recognizes interconnectivity between ourselves, our fellow beings and the Earth.

Fiber is an apt medium for the exploration of these ideas. It's woven strands echo the hidden structures of nature and the universe.  The act of stitching, sewing and joining together of materials fuses craft and memory.  The residual life energies stored in worn and used fibers are focused and distilled and the story is passed on, a ‘Spirit Object’ is created.
Each one imbued with energy and emotion, as well as an oral history and cultural
provenance.

Keyon
2017, 111" x 96" Quilt, repurposed men's suits
Work Credit: 
Aaron Cobbett
Cutler X
2018, 48" x 36" Photo printed linen, hand dyed and stitched
Work Credit: 
Aaron Cobbett, Cutler X
Bio: 

Aaron Cobbett spent his late teens and early 20’s working in high fashion, as a window dresser at Bergdorf Goodman by day, and in underground East Village drag scene by night. These disparate but connected worlds, along with navigating AIDS Crisis as a young gay boy in New York, would form the foundation of his aesthetic.

In 1989 he decided to pursue photography, eventually earning a BFA from The Tisch School of the Arts Photography Program at New York University in 1994.

In the mid 90’s, he became known for his stylized, color-saturated images of nightlife personas, transgender performers, drag queens, sex workers and porn stars. Going on to shoot over 100 covers for HX Magazine, his images became an important and immediately recognizable part of the contemporary queer cultural canon.

His work has been shown in New York at The FIT Museum, The Leslie-Lohman Museum, The New York Historical Society, Debs & Co. Gallery , Envoy Enterprises, Wessel O'Connor Gallery, and The Louvre, Paris, among others.

He’s had two monographs published: COBBETT in 2008 and Super Eros in 1999.
His work in photography has been featured in Vanity Fair, Vogue, Glamour and Interview Magazines among others.

Creating costumes and fabricated sets has been the mainstay of his process from the beginning. In 2014 he shifted his focus towards textiles, developing techniques of rendering his images in fabric, eventually making lens based quilts.

For his textile practice, Cobbett has been awarded residencies at MASS MoCA, Instinct Berlin and Yaddo and shown at Village Berlin Gallery, the MCLA Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, North Adams, Massachusetts, and the Tisch Institute of Emerging Media in New York City.
Working in New York’s LGBTQ+ community, Cobbett has represented queer and trans New Yorkers in mainstream and queer media since the mid 90’s.
He currently lives and works in Brooklyn.

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