The Aaron Doctor Interview
by Wednesday Black
An amazing artist with a beautiful sense of creep and style! Aaron Doctor aka Dr. Morose. I have a hard time not coveting everything this man creates! If you have not seen his work, where the hell have you been?
Dr Morose is the other half of the Morose & Macabre duet of Creeps behind the Morose & Macabre Atrocity Exhibit. You can find out how to attend HERE
GTS- Who are you and what do you do?
--My name is Aaron Doctor, or sometimes "Dr. Morose", when it comes to signing my artwork, as that's the moniker I've been creating and working under for the last five years or so with Morose & Macabre. I do lots of things, artistically speaking... or I try to do lots of things, anyway.
GTS- Where were you born and raised? Family?
--I was born in Butler PA, and that is where I grew up. That's where I spent the majority of my life, right up until moving last year.
My family is great. My dad and I have some big differences, but my mom and I are really close, and I have a younger brother and sister who I couldn't be more proud of. And most of my extended family isn't completely batshit crazy. MOST... So, I'm not doing too badly in the family department. Oh! And of course all my friends who are family to me and my furry babies (all dogs!) who I'd be lost without.
GTS- Were you a spooky child?
--Yeah, I was always this way. My mom has a bunch of stories she could tell you, and it's funny because I think she kind of knew that it wasn't "just a phase" all along. For example, when I was in kindergarten, aside from drawing skulls on EVERYTHING, which is worrysome to your teachers, there was a particular incident that I still laugh about, because it's so stupid. It was Valentine's day or something and our teacher was asking us to write a card to someone we loved, so I wrote mine to Satan. My HORRIFIED teacher sent my ass to the principal's office, my mother was called and told that there was some awful thing I did and they needed to see her and when they explained what had happened, she had to explain to them that Satan was the name of our doberman. My dad named that dog and I wasn't raised in a religious house so I didn't understand what the Hell I did wrong. So, I started the business of spooking my teachers early.
My mom sorta perpetuated all that though, because she knew it made me happy. She bought me monster toys and let me watch horror movies and just let me grow up to be a weirdo and loved me anyway, cause she rules. She still buys me goofy Halloween toys and monster movies as gifts.
GTS- What medium do you most enjoying working with?
--My preference changes a lot. If you asked me that a year ago, I'd have said acrylics, because I was still painting more than anything else. Right now, I'm enjoying exploring different mold-making techniques, which my very patient fiancee is trying to teach me, and casting and sculpting things and trying to figure out ways to best employ what talents I have in several areas at once. so, it's a mixed bag.
GTS- What memorable responses have you had to your work?
--I've had some great ones, some bad ones, and some funny ones. People in Cleveland at this art-walk we (Morose & Macabre) tried to vend didn't seem to respond well. We ended up putting up a page on our website with quotes from satisfied customers and putting in some of the "what the fuck is THAT?" comments we've had too. Overall, though, I find that most people respond positively, even if it's not their "thing".
GTS- My Personal Favorite! I just missed getting the original.
GTS- What inspires you? or gives you ideas that you want to create?
--Alot of things. other artist's work, of course. Architecture, the concept of an afterlife, even though I'm uncertain there is one... Anything macabre, mad collectors, nature and natural history, urban decay. Death, obviously... Life, sometimes. HALLOWEEN, horror films, ghosts (actual or metaphorical). Specific moods of my own, but those can make or break me and are quite often detrimental to me rather than helpful because sometimes I'm not careful and don't properly manage them.
GTS- What is the last book you read?
--I'm almost always involved in several books at once, and they're usually short story anthologies and they're always horror. But, at the moment, I think I'm just about finished with Clive Barker's 'Mister B. Gone'... I've not been reading a lot lately.
GTS- What is Goth?
--The reason I got beat up in high school.
I could give you the lecture I give to everyone else and the textbook definition, but it seems to be something different to everyone. It is a counterculture movement that grew up around a specific type of music, like most other subcultures. For me, it will always be 80s bands with big, fabulous hair and androgynous singers dripping with layers of fishnet and looking for all the world like they just crawled out of some spooky German expressionist nightmare... But that's just me. A friend of mine recently said something about how we live in a "mashup culture", which is both exciting and disheartening at the same time. It leaves a lot of wiggle room for interpretation and new music and fashion and ideas but it also means that every time I go to a goth bar I hear Lady Gaga (I'm looking at you, Bar Sinister! Why?).
GTS-Aaron once posted these works as his rejects! I LOVE that moon especially!
GTS- What are you working on at the moment?
-- I've just begun a series of skull-faced mixed-media dolls that I'm pretty excited about. As usual, i've got a zillion ideas and my problem is managing the rolodex in my head and keeping everything in order... Like I said earlier, I've been trying to work more on sculpting and creating some more mixed media pieces, and I've recently started drawing again. Drawing was my first love when I was a kid, and I lost track of it for a while because I was concentrating on other things, but I've been trying to train myself to do something creative every day, and drawing is an easy way to exercise your art-muscles when you don't have the time or energy to devote to a more demanding project. So, you'll likely see more illustrations and mixed media stuff and less paintings from in the near future.
GTS- What are you doing when you’re not creating? What (other) hobbies do you have?
--Hunting for and collecting strange things. Lots of bones and medical equipment and vintage photos and taxidermy - just endless stuff. I could ogle at and shop for weirdness like that for hours.... Mentally cataloguing and lusting after amazing things that I usually can't afford. I'm a huge horror movie nerd so I watch tons of movies. I also kind of enjoy cooking even though I'm not very good at it. It's nice being this close to such a major city now, so I taking weekend trips to L.A. to see friends, as well.. or just relaxing at home and spending downtime with Guytano and our pup, Belladonna.
GTS- Do you admire any artists / photographers? (Famous or not!)
--This list could be endless. I admire a lot of people's work. Some artists of note whose work I drool over: Joel Peter Witkin, John Holmes (the surrealist painter, not the porn star, though I do love porn) for all his pulp and horror inspired work that appeared on all the weird paperback books I spent so much time reading, Pierre Et Gilles, Jessica Joslin, Liz Mcgrath, Zdzisław Beksiński, Giger, of course... The list goes on and includes more than just visual artists. I'll leave out the list of homoerotic artists whose work I fawn over. And then there are all the people I've been blessed to know who have taught me tons of things and who I find really inspirational - Kelly/Macabre Noir, obviously, because we've spent a lot of time feeding off of each other and working together, Zach/MCXIII for his whimsy and sense of humor, Ryan Flowers [whose work is a must-see], Cheryl Adamson who paints a mean horror portrait, Guytano Kalicicki for teaching me how to sculpt and work with different mediums, Spinestealer, whose work I've ogled forever... Tony Cupstid [another many-talented person I've been really lucky to get to know].... just to name a few. That's another never ending list. Please feel free to familiarize yourselves and ask for links and I'd be happy to point you in the direction of any of these talented people.
GTS- Morose and Macabre? How did that come about?
--It was born of a love for similar things, and a hatred for retail. Kelly (Macabre Noir) and I both used to work a retail gig together and started hanging out and painting and stuff together and decided to try to get our stuff seen, enjoyed and ultimately sold. We were going to start printing t shirts at first, but somehow we never really ended up doing that. So, we built a website, got some shows with the help of our friend Zach, and that was the beginning. A lot of shameless self promotion and support from friends later and here we are.
GTS- The Atrocity Exhibition? What is it and Why?
-- It was, and is, an avenue for us to show our work. That's how it began... However, it's grown (well, mutated is a better word) into something bigger and more all encompassing. We've always had friends involved since the beginning, because we happen to have a lot of friends who are artists or performers or both, but our contacts have multiplied and the show gets a little bigger every year. It is always themed, and usually involves a lineup of burlesque dancers, drag, fetish demonstrations, sideshow acts, flesh suspension, fire-breathing, live music, and other things. Any talents that can be molded to fit the bill of what we're doing that year. We've had the pleasure of working with some big names and great people over the years, as well. Jarboe, Nicki Jaine, and last year, we had Alaska Thunderfuck from this season of Rupaul's Drag Race (TEAM THUNDERFUCK for the win!!!), to name a few. It has become one of the biggest dark events in the area, and brings together a great group of creative minds, presenting them with a venue to show their talents. The turnout is better every year. Atrocity Exhibition is also mainly funded by donations from the general public. We have used kickstarter to bring this event to Pittsburgh for the last four years with pretty amazing support from people who genuinely love what we are trying to do... To entertain you and rattle your bones, show you some great art... And maybe get you a little drunk.
With Macabre Noir
GTS- You moved here to California fairly recently. How do you like it?
--I did! I moved here in December of 2011 to be with my man Guytano (who is a talented artist in his own right and is constantly showing me new tricks) so, I've been here over a year, now, and I'm still sort of adjusting. It was a huge life change for me, and 2011 was a really chaotic year. I am enjoying it here, though, and have had a lot of really magical experiences since I've been here and am really grateful for the opportunity. Now, if I can just move all of my friends and family from PA here, I will be totally set.
--I had never been until I visited Los Angeles for the first time in June 2011 but have been several times since. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Of course, you know I have to go on the Haunted Mansion like ten times before I can call it a day and leave the park.
GTS- What do you dislike?
--This is a really dangerous question. You're a facebook friend of mine so you see first hand how I am cooooonstantly pissed at something. A VERY truncated list: homophopia/bigotry/racism/sexism/ageism/size-ism/etc. When people are rude, especially to people in the service industry. The news, in general... It's funny how much more relaxed everyone on the west coast is. And then there's me, all aggro and mouthy and irritated. I don't know if that will change over time or not... Maybe the longer I'm here the softer I'll get? People who know me are rolling their eyes reading that bit, surely.
GTS- Biggest misconception about you?
--That I want to see photos of people's babies. Ha!
Or that I'm mean. This has always been a thing. I'm sorry that my resting face looks like a scowl, but I'm not really mean until I have a reason to be, I promise. Just put that picture of the baby away and we'll be alright. I'm a huge softie, I just happen to have a big mouth and a protective shell... But if you peel back all the layers of broken glass and rusty metal and poisonous corrosive toxic waste there's a mushy gooey center in there somewhere. i don't know what it's made out of though... it might be poisonous too. It isn't FDA approved or anything.
GTS- OK I really want this one!
GTS- If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be? Why?
--Trading places with someone who's dead seems like an unfair trade. But seriously, without totally overthinking it... I want to be David Bowie for a week. In the 70s. Ziggy Stardust era. He is a hero of mine. I love him and have always wondered what it must have been like to live that life of excess and glamour and makeup and big shoes and orange hair (not that I didn't do it when I was a teenager, but I want to do it in a bigger budget). I guess I'd have to get over that stage fright, though. And this sort of kills two birds, because he was real and fictional all at the same time, and technically while David is still alive, Ziggy is dead now, so that covers all the bases here.
Aarons artwork is available HERE
So, what are you waiting for?
All artwork used by permission and copyright of Aaron Doctor.