I’m someone who likes to experience things, live life, make music, and have fun with my friends.
One look around the home of artist Aaron Grimshaw is enough to tell you he doesn’t conform to the “disorganized artist” stereotype. A stone’s throw from Saanich’s Uptown Shopping Centre, Grimshaw’s well-appointed studio apartment is generously furnished without being cramped or cluttered, something the 39-year-old musician and now painter says he works at steadily.
“I try to keep it this way,” he says. “It makes it easier to work with, especially now that I have a few projects on the go.”
Having multiple projects on the go is something the Victoria native is used to by now – in the last few years he has, among other things, composed original music, gigged with his blues-rock band The Ghostbirds, run a successful Kickstarter campaign for a card-based resource management game of his own design, created hundreds of custom “Magic: The Gathering” playing cards, and taught himself to paint, all while working weekends for a local designated-driver service.
Painting is his newest venture, something he taught himself this summer in his downtime.
“It’s always been scratching at the back of my brain, that it would be cool to have a studio, paint, be creative,” says Grimshaw. “But I always asked myself, how do you paint? Where do you even start?” In this case he started by sketching characters and scenes from popular media, which he would then use as the basis for his paintings.
The canvases hanging on the walls of Grimshaw’s apartment give fascinating insight into the evolution of his style, from an early work depicting the “Toad” character from Super Mario Brothers to a scene from the Sony Playstation game Bloodborne to an experiment in abstract which, at least to my eyes, has a distinctly First Nations feel. Perhaps his most striking piece is a mash-up – a character from the classic Sony Playstation game “Shadow of the Colossus” depicted in the famous style of 19th century French cabaret Le Chat Noir.
Though at first brush Grimshaw comes across as a sober, serious type of fellow he has a wry sense of humor which sneaks up on you; when asked how many instruments he can play he stops and thinks for a moment before replying, perfectly deadpan “How many instruments are there?”
“Usually I write guitar and vocal stuff but I can also play the bass and piano. I learned to play through classic rock like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath but I can play anything.”
With the Ghostbirds, who won a 2013 Vancouver Island Music Award for their “Love is a Con” music video, currently on hiatus, Grimshaw feeds his musical muse playing at My Bar, a popular Gorge Road watering hole.
“I jam there once a week,” he says. “It’s a lot of fun. The people who work there are really nice and it’s a great space for live music.”
With all this going on one might assume Grimshaw doesn’t have time for a romantic life but the currently single says that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“I’m looking for someone who has a good sense of humor, because I like to laugh and to make jokes,” he says. He describes the modern dating scene as sometimes challenging but adds, “I’m someone who likes to experience things, live life, make music, have fun with my friends…so I’m not in a hurry.”
If you’d like to further explore Aaron Grimshaw’s art and music, check out his website.