I believe my preferred personal aesthetic is the beach cowboy style; a mix between a mountain cabin/house and a tropical or seafaring style. I grew up near the coast of Venezuela in South America; I was an hour away from the beach and fifteen minutes away from the coastal mountain. My hobbies  related mostly to outdoor-type activities such as hiking, camping, surfing, fishing, and SCUBA diving. My parents bought an apartment at the beach, it was decorated with all sorts of tropical ornamentation: clamshells, palms, bamboo, sea-glass, fish designs, etc.

Me sleeping in a hammock at my family’s beach apartment in Venezuela

It was a nice way to relax and get away from the modern and urban lifestyle of the city. My parents, especially my father, have always been very passionate about art. However, unlike me, my parents are into modern art. I believe it was the overwhelming modern style decoration in my childhood home that strayed me from modern and post-modern art. As a child, I could not understand what value or appeal my parents saw in those pieces. Growing older, I tried to better understand the appeal, but the style would not capture me. I had also acquired a better understanding of money, however, I could not understand why my parents would pay large sums of money for a piece of art that I could not find in any way appealing; some of the pieces even scared me. As I mentioned, the tropical aesthetic of our beach house was in its own way an escape from the modern style which I could not understand nor come to like. Here are some of the works of art in my home in Venezuela.

Ciclista by Cornelis Zitman featured in a gallery, now at the main entrance of our house
Lagrimas by Carlos Medina
Mano Grande by Jimmy Mathison (left) sculpture by Elias Toro (middle) and sculpture by Cornelis Zitman (right)
My family’s fingerprints on metal by Francisco Ascanio (with the artist and my mom in the picture)
Nidos by Victor Becerra, and the red piece in the back wall is by Manolo Valdez
Tirapiedra by Cornelis Zitman
Dolls by Mariana Monteagudo (these are the scariest in the house in my opinion, I can feel negative energy emanating from them)
Cabezas by Alirio Palacios
The house’s patio and its modern aesthetic
Painting by Nick Georgiou
Sculpture by Franciso Narvaez

You can see how as a kid I was scared by all the sculptures in my house and grew to dislike modern aesthetics. As the years passed and I moved to the United States, I kept liking and preferring the tropical aesthetic; even with other aspects of my life, I would integrate the tropical aesthetic into my lifestyle. I was that person walking around in flip-flops, a tank top, and swim shorts even though I was not going to the beach or a pool; I had a shark-shaped bottle opener on my keychain and my favorite type of beer was a Corona Extra with a lime wedge. After a few years living in the U.S. and boasting about my past as a fisherman with Guy Harvey and Columbia shirts, my friends recommended I tried hunting as a hobby. I became obsessed with this new sport and decided to make it a part of my lifestyle as well. I was now captured between two worlds: the mountains and the sea. My apparel consisted of swim shorts with flip flops in the summer and in the winter it was jeans, cowboy boots, and flannels. My allegiance to both sides made me realize I prefer the beach cowboy aesthetic. I don’t even know if this aesthetic has a formal definition, I tried finding things related to it on the internet, but nothing came up. The best way of defining this aesthetic is with the style represented by country singers such as Kenny Chesney, Zach Brown, and others like them… In a way, I am a flip-flop cowboy!

Here’s Jonny Waters & Company better describing this personal aesthetic.

Furthermore, a video by Kenny Chesney describes the No Shoes Nation’s way of life:

Here is a link to “Uncanny: The Dolls of Mariana Monteagudo” a documentary by Film Maker

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Natalie Jagelski
    Natalie Jagelski
    March 14, 2021 12:24 pm

    You captured your aesthetic very well! I’ve never really heard of a “beach-cowboy” aesthetic before, but the way you described it makes it very clear and gives a good understanding of what the aesthetic is. It’s clear that where/how you grew up and the hobbies you enjoy have had a strong influence on your personal aesthetic. I grew up in California very close to the ocean as well, so I am very familiar with the beach/surfer aesthetic – I wear flip-flops a majority of the time, even during winter. It’s also very interesting how growing up surrounded by modern decor has really turned you off to that style. Have you grown to appreciate it any more as you’ve gotten older, even if you don’t particularly like it? Nice post!

    Reply
  • Hey Gary,

    I like like your description of your own aesthetic, and I think its unique in that you have a draw to two very different types of places (The beach and the mountains) which a lot of people don’t have. I think maybe you must be drawn to both because they both invite exploration, a closeness to wildlife, and are places that can seem separate from every day life, which are also a part of fishing and hunting (but I would like to know your take on this). I for one love both places myself too growing up near Vermont and the Long Island Sound in New England. I get what you mean with the creepy modern sculptures, a lot of them seem like they put weirdness in the forefront.

    Reply

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