"I love working with chalk pencils because you can mix the colors with a high degree of sophistication. The effect of these pencils seems to evoke a beautiful vintage quality"
Aaron Kasmin was born in London and studied at Chelsea School of Art.
Kasmin came by his gallerist connections genetically. His father John Kasmin became a revered dealer in London who championed David Hockney and his brother Paul Kasmin had a small gallery empire in New York. Their great-grandfather was Ben Nicholson, the abstract landscape artist and contemporary of Mondrian and Picasso.
His recent work is inspired by mid-twentieth century original matchbooks. Kasmin brings new life to these ephemeral objects with his bold coloured pencil drawings. Deriving from his penchant for America’s chic post-war prohibition era, these miniature drawings reflect the rise of America’s consumer culture. Each highly evocative work reproduces a three-dimensional scene or object, transporting the viewer back in time to a liberal & glamorous bygone era. These works offer an enticing glimpse into the romantic world of America in the era of F Scott Fitzgerald & Humphrey Bogart. They are small ephemeral vestiges of Americana.
"My work at first glance appears to be very simple, just bands of colour; but these bands are imbued with subtlety and balance. I use a variety of textures; flatness, depth, shiny and matt surfaces, opacity and clarity to try to achieve a certain balance and harmony. For these pictures to look so simple takes a surprisingly long time; many layers of paint are built up and often removed before I achieve the completed final image. The painted surface contains many subtleties and slowly the picture begins to determine itself, maybe one colour which then dictates the course of the whole, one large area leading to smaller ones, one part scraped and complex next to many flat simpler areas, or maybe painted with broad sweeping brushstrokes or small feathery ones."
Although much of of Kasmin's earlier work is known for being abstract, he has also made figurative still life drawings. As he told Wall Street International in 2013 "Really the chasm between abstraction and figuration is not so huge, because one is dealing with the same concepts - composition, scale, size and colour. It is just the finished pictures that are radically different."
Kasmin is comfortable with these different appearances because his underlying desire is produce work that provides an aesthetic journey for the viewer.
As he told the Elephant Magazine’s Emily Steer “I have had quite a few shows recently of still life drawings. I love working with chalk pencils because you can mix the colours with a high degree of sophistication. The effect of these pencils seems to evoke a beautiful vintage quality.”