I met Aaron for the first time the night of my 31st Birthday. Some friends and I were doing a video scavenger hunt and one of the items to capture was someone dressed up, singing a song in public. We headed to Aaron's vintage shop at the time, dressed him up, and he played guitar and sang in his shop on Sunset Boulevard. I thought, "I'm going to like this guy."
Later our circles merged and I went on to volunteer at the opening of his shop, Ballard's Artwork Framing in Echo Park, we worked on a couple of films together, I have hung out countless times with his lovely family, and had many discussions on politics, fair trade, hemp, and education, centered around a glass of whisky. I've never met anyone like Aaron. He is an old soul trapped in a modern, young body.
I wish everyone had an Aaron Ballard in their life, but since that is not possible I wanted to take a few minutes to let his thoughts and outlook on life inspire you. And if you are in Los Angeles and need something framed, his store is worth the trip, not only for the quality of his craft but also for the interactions.
foxLOR: What is your outlook on the human race?
Aaron Ballard: We are so impressionable. Even so, after listening to testimonies from ALL walks of life from ALL over the world over the last 3 decades & readings from the last few thousand years, I am convinced that deep inside, like Darth Vader, we can be saved from darkness. I love the human race. My hope is that more folks can be exposed to & influenced by the idea, as Jesus said, "love your neighbor, love your enemy" That's everyone! We are one race, deal with it!
foxLOR: If someone has a bad attitude, how do you deal with them?
AB: Calmly. Sometimes it's a challenge to see if I can get a smile out of them by being overly, still genuinely, kind & interested in their story. My Grandfather said "you'll never regret being kind." Although there are times when being NICE is the wrong and damaging/unhealthy thing, I have yet to find a situation when being KIND is the wrong action. Practicing being kind will allow you to be firm, confident & natural in your kindness...in fact practicing ANYTHING helps you develop into a certain person, socially, artistically, physically, (even practicing it in your mind, since your true self will come out one way or another).
foxLOR: You are a man of many talents: Actor, musician, crafter, entrepreneur, and activist. What is your current passion?
Been reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I love dialogue and I love the fullness of a balanced perspective. He has the chops of an intellectual, musician, working on the streets like pre-Paris Van Gogh, and a solid faith to stand against Hitler when other churches went along with Status Quo. I've been pondering on American Missionaries and how they could have mission trips to any church in America that don't get the concept of LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES. I love Daryl Davis, that is TRUE missionary work. It was unintentional, yet became so. If you think homosexuals are taking down America, then get involved with them, get to know them, love them. If you think environmentalist are anti-your-faith, go find out why they are so pationate, listen to them, love them, learn why they place so much worth in the planet that you want all kids to grow up in who would have been aborted. Guess it comes down to DIALOGUE, that is my passion.
The fair trade movement's dialogue is like the abolitionist movement in Wilberforce's time, like a Fredrick Douglass & John Brown or Woody Allen & Billy Graham, like Michelle Alexander or Dambisa Moyo showing a new side to an old issue.