A breath of fresh art


Located at the Headquarters at Seaport District, the Aaron Chang Ocean Art Gallery features a variety of fine art photographs from San Diego as well as examples from Chang’s journeys to other countries. Gallery staff are attentive and friendly able to answer any questions you could come up with regarding the art on the walls. Photo credit: Troy Orem

Paola Garcia, Life & Arts Editor

The ocean is often times a reflection of serenity and bliss, a host of many hobbies and also a source of endless inspiration. And this is the case for Aaron Chang, a photojournalist who presents his work in a dynamic and personal way.

Located in the heart of the Seaport Village District, inside the Mediterranean and colonial Spanish architecturally inspired walls of The Headquarters, The Aaron Chang Ocean Gallery showcases “The art of capturing life in motion.”

“My hope would be that my photographs cause the viewer to appreciate the beauty of the world that surrounds them and the simple joy of being alive,” Chang states on his website.

A San Diego artist, Chang grew up in Imperial Beach and occupied the senior photographer position at Surfing magazine for 25 years. He’s traveled to more than 40 countries around the world and captured the essence of these travels from behind the lens. However, it’s easy to see San Diego occupies a very special place in his heart and art.

“He’s a strong supporter of San Diego, does a lot of get back to the community, and so we like to present San Diego to a lot of the international foot traffic that we have. And locals as well, he does an amazing job at taking a familiar location and giving it a little bit of an exotic feel,” art consultant Matt Bruns comments as he leads a tour around the gallery.

Inside this ocean-themed gallery, the visitor is visually treated to more than 25 of the best photographs the artist has taken during his career. Not forgetting about the Sui generis surfboards wrapped in art. They fall into that category of things you didn’t know you wanted until you saw it.

“In this gallery we have a few more abstract images, and those have really been popular with his collectors, which are, collectors from all around the world,” Bruns adds.

The gallery offers a viewing demo of one of the pieces in exhibition. In this demo the collector is invited to a small lounge, where the photograph is presented against a wall and as the lights dim, the image comes alive before your eyes. As light is taken away from it, the new contrast and brilliance of the piece offers the viewer a new way of perceiving the image.

“What’s beautiful about art work is that when you see it, it speaks to you instantly and it’s an emotional connection, and that’s all it takes really,” Bruns says.

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The production process behind these creations is no walk in the park either. They’re printed onto Fujiflex crystal archive paper and cold pressed between two pieces of polycarbonate, using optically clear adhesive, locking the image in. This guarantees their brilliance will last for decades. Every piece is custom ordered and it takes four to six weeks in production. Chang inspects every single print before he hand signs and numbers it, before the cold pressing part of the process.

The talent and drive behind this images is imminent, but that’s only half of the job in this case. Creativity plays an enormous role in the delivery of the final product and through this production process, the bottom line is to present the image in a more dynamic way.

“I think it’s important if you continue to be dynamic, and sort of improve your work. He’s continuously, sort of finding new ways to present these beautiful images, so it’s important. You look at any artist throughout history, their ability to sort of adapt, if you will, to changes and people’s wants and needs it’s incredibly crucial to continue to be successful,” Bruns says.

All production process is done locally here in San Diego. “The Aaron Chang Gallery will have an open door policy with community engagement on all levels. Whether teaching students about photography, or championing the needy … We want everyone who comes into the gallery to leave inspired by their experience,” reads the value statement of the gallery.

“That’s what excites me a lot of the times, it’s just seeing people’s pure reactions to Aaron’s work,” Bruns says.