Interview: Words and Bourbon with Aldis Hodge

Currently, the name Aldis Hodge may occupy the “where do I know him from” section in your headspace. The actor has been grinding in Hollywood, starring in no less than 20 productions in the past few years. Whether it’s MC Ren in Straight Outta Compton, Levi Jackson in Hidden Figures, or, my favorite, Jack, in the
Black Museum” episode of Black Mirror, you’ve seen him on screen. However, after spending a few hours with the actor during Bulleit Bourbon’s #FrontierWorks activation during Frieze Art Fair, I’ve learned that there is more to this actor than meets the eye.

Currently, Aldis is the brand ambassador for the brand’s #FrontierWorks project, which encourages everyday people to find the artist within themselves. We caught up with Aldis for a quick conversation during a special Frontier works dinner during New York’s Frieze Art Fair earlier this month.

So many people may know you as an actor, but for me, this is the first time I’ve heard about your artwork.

This year is the first year I came out publicly to display my work. I was working with my girlfriend [Afro-Cuban artist] Harmonia Rosales. She’s ridiculously talented and we’ve worked together for about a year on our collection. We premiered two pieces from our collection of ten pieces from a collection called Through The Looking Glass that we debuted at the LA Art Show.

So you’ve always had a love of art…

For me, I love art. art has always been my passion. I’ve been painting since I was yay high and been drawing on things since I before I knew how to walk. But I never got into the world professionally because I did not know if I would have anything to give to the world of art. But my girl inspired me and gave me the confidence to go ahead and do it, so I was like, you know, I’m going to go ahead and step out. And this opportunity with Bulleit is pretty awesome because it is inspiring people to find the artist within themselves. Sometimes they don’t know what it is, or sometimes they do not see what they do as art. Art is not just drawing, painting, sketching, etc. There are people who work in board rooms, there are people who work in ad agencies, there are lawyers. Being a lawyer, being able to negotiate is an art form in itself. You just have to understand what it is and see it as such.

So as an artist on many levels, how does your art influence your acting work?

It’s not the art directly. It’s the art in it’s totality. For me, everything is an art form. Art is my language and everything [that I do] is just a different conduit for executing it. Acting is an emotional form of art, painting is an ascetic form of art, watchmaking is my scientific form of art. It’s expressionism, and it allows me to be free and be happy. When I paint I’m fully focused, I’m happy, and I’m involved, and it helps me realize what I do and what I love, so when it comes to acting it’s the exact same application. It is what I do and what I love, and when I am in my element [artistically], I can fully enjoy it.

Disclaimer: Bulleit Bourbon provided drinks, dinner, and transportation for this event.