In Los Angeles, the culture of celebrity practically runs in the

water supply. I’ve recently moved to a studio space directly

below the Hollywood sign. As I’ve been working on this new

body of work, I constantly hear police sirens going off warning

tourists to stay away from the sign. This got me wondering

about what it is exactly that would compel a person to risk

injury and arrest for the chance to get next to and touch a

very simple structure of metal and wood. The sign promises

something, an association with something larger than life.

Something that represents stardom, talent, dreams…the cult

of celebrity. It was this that got me thinking about the idea

of cults.

California has a long history with cults. From the Merry

Pranksters, to Charles Manson, to Jim Jones, this culture runs

deep. But it is not these cults that I have been contemplating

so much. Those groups have been mined over and over

in contemporary art and I am not interested in rehashing.

I’m thinking more about the cults of personality, the cults of

particular social groups, the cults of belief systems, cults of

love, cults of acceptance, cults of success. This is what drives

people to risk life and limb to touch the Hollywood sign. This

is what interests me.

In thinking about this I’ve realized that there are small cults

all around me, and in all of our daily lives. While to some, this

word might evoke a negative connotation, I feel quite differently.

My close friends, other artists, musicians, filmmakers

and even my relationship with my wife are all CULTS. The

works in this show pay tribute to these groups, using graphic

elements rather than traditionally representational imagery

to produce graphic portraiture. These elements include

hand-lettering, symbolism and numerology, various pieces

of vintage clip art and simple shapes.

For many years my artistic practice involved the use of

graphic elements, u sually non-representational forms executed

in such a way as to blur the lines between high and

low cultures. I almost exclusively painted on found objects

as a way of literally going to war with the idea of a canvas.

However, over the last year I’ve reassessed this idea and have

begun creating wall works. This will be my first solo exhibition

where these works are shown. Art is much more than the

sum of the parts of its construction. Great art succeeds not

just because of the image, but also as the result of the cult

that surrounds it and gives it meaning.

Being that this will be the final exhibition at Circle Culture

Gallery in its current location, I cannot think of a more touching

sentiment. My exhibition is a tribute to all of the artists,

gallery staff, collectors and fans who have passed through

those doors on Gipsstraße. An entire community of people

dedicated to this strange cult that we call art.

Aaron Rose