Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Lunch: Aaron Meshon
Aaron Meshon grew up about a mile from Andrew Wyeth's compound in southern Pennsylvania. As a student in a Quaker boarding school Aaron much preferred the art classes to math or science and being the progressive school that it was they were happy to cater to the young student's desires. The Quaker influence serves him well in dealing one-on-one with clients who sometimes demand more for less.
There's a genuine sincerity to this man with a self-deprecating wit that will have you in stitches in no time with story after story of home-life growing up, his early days in New York, the way students are convinced that he must drive a Ferrari to things Japanese: taking communal baths with his new father-in-law, the way trains run so efficiently or how many different languages there are inherent in the Japanese language which he is trying to learn--though he'll tell you that the writing part is easier than the speaking part. Being a visual person helps. Having a Japanese wife certainly helps.
A graduate of the RISD illustration program, he and his fellow artist, Chris Buzelli landed in New York in 1994, living together on the upper eastside on little of nothing. The moves to the East Village followed, Chris on 9th, Aaron on 10th and then Aaron on 9th and Chris on 10th, now Aaron calls Carroll Garden's home but Chris hasn't made the leap to Brooklyn...yet.
We talk about his lessons learned working with a rep, now without one, his sojourn into the licensing area--he brings gifts of self-designed tumblers, holiday cards and zipper pulls--it almost feels like Christmas. There's a excited, kid-like quality to the conversation--did you see this, have you gone here--the energy that you also find in his work. He's curious, he wants to know more about you and he makes you feel at ease in opening up. An only child we talk about the advantages--bikes and horses when you ask for them--but also what is missed, we both wished to have siblings though it might just be a thing of the grass is always greener.
As the lunch winds down you can imagine the conversation continuing into the wee hours with more inside stories of an artist who you can tell loves what he does and loves life as well.