Introduce yourself and tell us what you do!
My name is Aaron Schwartz and I currently spend most of my time tending to the creative endeavours of a boutique snowboard brand called KORUA Shapes.
Tell us about where you grew up and how it influenced your creativity.
I was born in Vancouver in the 80s and grew up between North Van and Switzerland, where I currently reside in the small mountain town called Flims Waldhaus, next door to the resort of LAAX. I was fortunate to grow up in two beautiful places, surrounded by mountains and nature, but also the nearby influence of the city in Vancouver. Also having a Swiss mother who was an avid skier, she had us enjoying the slopes from a really young age which planted a seed that has grown into a love for winter 3 decades strong.
Sideways culture plays a significant part in your work, tell us more about your connection to snowboarding and skateboarding.
Like many kids in the 90s, it was music and skateboarding that shaped me. Influenced by the cooler older kids of the town who showed me skate / snowboard videos and their respective soundtracks, magazines, deck graphics, rock albums and album artwork – all of this gave way for a profound fascination for sideways culture and the underground that has carried on throughout my life.
What has been one of your favourite travel destinations and why?
Japan is always a highlight. Hokkaido is known for its consistent cold temperatures in the winter with abundant snowfall, perfect for high volumes of the lightest powder but also fairly low risk of avalanche danger. On top of that, the country, nature, food, cities, people and culture make Japan a wonderful experience each time I visit.
What do you do to maintain a healthy mindset and balance life with work?
I like to read my book down by the lake in the summer, or go for early morning swims. Walks in the forest. Good food in good company. Skateboarding. And therapy.
Tell us more about your involvement with Korua Shapes!
I met the two founders right when they first launched the brand and went into the first winter of sales in 2014/15. I was still freelancing at the time and shot a lot of photos with them that winter and worked on a few project-based graphic design things for them. Over the last (nearly decade) that developed into part-time and then full-time work on all creative / visual endeavours of the brand, involving anything from photography, graphic design, social media, filmmaking, marketing, events, art projects, creative direction, brand management, etc. while also being a core part of the admin and business side of things. We’re a small team so everyone wear a lot of hats.
What is your favourite subject matter for photography?
Snowboarding / mountains and nature, people, and urban / street / cities.
What has been one of your favorite creative projects? Why did it mean so much to you?
I think KORUA as a whole is my favourite creative project, but maybe that’s too easy an answer. The artist series graphic I made for Lobster Snowboards is another favourite, and being included in Vol. 03 of Club Sandwich amongst an incredibly talented cast of snowboard photographers was a huge honour.
How do you begin your day? What motivates you to wake up and be creative day after day?
I’m usually up early, around 6:30 or 7. Coffee first, then shower, followed by granola and a side of lemon water and / or orange juice, some multi-vitamins and currently a plant-based anti-depressant. Occasionally if time and weather permits I like to start with a walk in the forest and an early morning lake dip to wake up the body. Sometimes that’s an after-work kind of thing though, depends on the day and weather, and how I’m feeling. Maybe this winter I’ll try to tie this program into ice baths.
How do you end your day? What self care routines do you practice?
I like to cook, so usually my day ends with some kind of dinner (I’m a sucker for Italian food and cook a lot of pasta dishes), followed by some light reading and / or watching a movie or show, listening to records or seeing friends. Final step before bed is brushing my teeth, drinking a glass of water with magnesium, and currently an evening anti-depressant.