Aaron Glasson / Rah Akaishi


Aaron Glasson AKA Rah Akaishi is originally from Aotearoa, currently gallivanting around the globe spreading his unique, beautiful and bizarre creations.  He’s a man of many talents unafraid of exploring any medium and quite frankly mastering them.

A painter, curator, sculpture, film maker, activist, and all round nice guy.

Here’s a little interview about what this fellow Kiwi’s been up to around the world.

Aaron, tell us a little about your background, where you’re from, and where you are now?

I’m was born and raised in South Auckland. I went to art school in Auckland then moved to Japan right after I graduated. That was 8 years ago and haven’t stayed in New Zealand consistantly for some time. I lived in numerous spots around Asia until moving west last year. I’ve been roaming around the US a bit and spent the past winter in Mexcio at an artist residency. Right now I’m staying with a friend in San Diego, California.

You’re a bit of a globetrotter, currently moving from place to place, why is travel so important to you and how do you think this affects your art? 

I do move around a lot. It’s important because it’s often out of necessity, though I do sometimes travel just for travelling and curiosities sake. I find it very liberating and at the same time grounding. By liberating I mean from delusions I could have had about my own existence and place in the world. I find it educating and perspective expanding which helps me grow as a person and art maker. I think it’s easy to live in NZ or some other comparable country and not truly realise how a majority of the world lives, how diverse it all is, and most importantly what’s happening to the earth as an ecosystem. That’s what I mean about grounding I guess. Seeing the broad spectrum of lives people lead installs a constant sense of gratitude and wonder. I’ve also seen a lot of pressing environmental problems first hand which motivates me to keep working in ecology. I’m really inspired my every place I visit which affects my art. The people, culture, and natural environment. I make a lot of sketches and photos that just document and interpret these places and my experiences in them. I publish them on my tumblr. www.aaronglasson.tumblr.com


Aaron Glasson_SKCSpencer Keeton Cunningham x Aaron Glasson – San Fransisco


Where is the most interesting place you’ve created art so far?

Everywhere I have been was interesting though I’ve been to India a few times now and it’s by far the most intense and challenging place I’ve worked. At the same it’s so culturally ancient, rich, and colorful.

Tell us a bit about your work, do you have any common running themes?

I work in a lot of different mediums though recently I’ve really into painting with watercolor and gouache. I’m also constantly making films, and often paint murals. There are common themes like the natural world, it’s creatures, and humans place amongst it. I make a lot of work about the sea and it’s fantastical beings.

You’re a big advocate for ocean conservation work, currently working as Art Director with a pretty forward thinking organization ‘Pangeaseed’.  Tell us a little bit about you’re role with them, what PS’s ethos are and when or how’d you first link up with these guys?

I’ve been working on PangeaSeed since the beginning in 2009. We met thanks to mutual friends in Tokyo.

Basically PangeaSeed is a collective of creative people working on ways to better our collective relationship with the ocean. A lot of what we do utilizes art and design to educate people and raise awareness about pressing environmental challenges. Over the years we have worked with literally hundreds of artist from around world who are concerned about the current health of the seas and it’s inhabitants. We are really trying to teach people that how they choose to live, what they consume and support does effect the greater environment. We make films, curate art shows, festivals, eco-tours, and even have a sustainable apparel line. It’s all about making idea’s around sustainability, ecology, and conservation as cool as what’s cool.





How do you view the NZ scene compared to what you have experienced internationally?

For a small place New Zealand has so much going on and so many talented people! If you took the great stuff to people ratio of New Zealand and applied it to anywhere I’m sure Aotearoa would come out on top.

Your style is amazing!  So diverse but distinctively recognizable as Aaron Glasson/Rah Akaishi what or who are your influences?  Has it varied drastically over time or a product of natural progression?

Thanks Cinzah, your style is amazing too! My work has been a natural progression. It’s funny because I work in a lot of different mediums with varied subjects I sometimes think my art lacks an aesthetic consistency. It’s cool to hear it’s recognizable, I guess you can’t escape your own style sometimes. I’m just really influenced by my friends mostly and life around me.

You work in an array over mediums ranging from paintings, drawings,murals, photography, film and even sculptural works, did you have any formal training to build this skill set or are you self taught? Any mediums you’re still yet itching to explore? 

I went to art school in Auckland but my course was really more about teaching the conceptual side of art making. I taught myself most of what I do, or learnt by observing others. Lately I have been thinking about things I could make in ceramic. I would like to take classes sometime soon.  I also like the idea of making things with reclaimed materials and foliage, like playgrounds and dwellings. That’s something I would like to explore someday too.


You’ve recently painted a mammoth wall at the latest Pow! Wow! In Hawaii, how all that go? 

It was so enjoyable. I painted Skinner and Spencer Keeton Cunningham who are both artists that I admire so much. We had a huge wall and only five days to paint it. Apparently we were the only artists in Pow! Wow! who didn’t plan their painting. We hardly sketched a thing, just went at it haphazardly for five long days with every color we could get our hands on. It was hilarious and an emotional roller coaster.  We all work differently and no one knew where the walls was going but it miraculously turned out sweet.


PowWow 2Aaron Glasson x Spencer Keeton Cunningham x Skinner -  Pow Wow 2014 - Hawaii

You seem to collaborate a lot, can you tell me about that?

Yes, I actually haven’t a painted a mural on my own for a long time. For me it’s much more fun to spend the day outside painting with friends than on my own. It’s also just cool to see my work integrated with someone else.

I paint with my friend Spencer Keeton Cunningham often. We recently did a road trip from San Francisco to Vancouver and back painting on abandoned structures and things. We are making a feature length film about it called Abandon the Northwest that will be realised soon. I lived in Sri Lanka nearly two years and painted with Simon Blackfoot there. I’ve painted a lot of murals with Celeste Byers. We have been working in this project together called Sea Walls -Murals for Oceans. We have been making murals that comment on pressing ocean issues local to the areas we paint them. http://pangeaseed.org/artivism/sea-walls/




tumblr_msdwydhvwT1rdnwobo1_1280Aaron Glasson and Spencer Keeton Cunningham – U.S.A

AaronGlasson_Snake4Aaron Glasson x Vexta – Mexico

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 4.51.51 pmAaron Glasson x Simon Blackfoot – Sri Lanka

CelesteXAaronAaron Glasson x Celeste Byers 

Seawalls HoChiMinh_smallAaron Glasson x Celeste Byers – Vietnam

tumblr_myc452kBcw1qdlom4o1_1280Aaron Glasson x Celeste Byers – Mexico

Any upcoming exhibitions, walls or artworks you have in the loop you can tell us about? 

For a limited time I have prints and some original works for sale with 1xRun. Those are on their website (http://1xrun.com/runs/The_Harbormaster). I’m also realising a series of thirteen small paintings through Grasshut in Portland. Those will be for sale on grasshutcorp.com as of April 16th. Next month I’ll be painting a wall in Honolulu with Celeste Byers and Wooden Wave. It’s to promote World Oceans Day Hawaii so will be a fun one. Then in July PangeaSeed is organising a project on an Island off Mexico. There are a bunch or wonderful artists involved who will paint murals on the Island about ocean conservation for the Sea Walls project. I’m really excited to work with these people. To name just a few Curiot, Hannah Stoufer, Nosego, and yourself!

 Beach or mountain?

Mountain top Beach.

Brush or can?


Meatcakes or tofu burgers?

Tofu burger please.


Here’s a few vimeo links of some of Aarons work, Pangeaseed Sea walls and other film projects –





To check out more of Aaron’s work head to his site HERE

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