Alite Ambassador: James Tucker

Alite Ambassador: James Tucker

Our latest Alite Ambassador James Tucker developed a passion for the sea from his years a youngster on the Jersey Shore. Read on below to learn more about what he likes to do outdoors and about his print shop and gallery, The Aesthetic Union.

Where are you from?
I grew up on the Jersey Shore in the 80's. Think Springsteen and Soprano's with a lot more Hawaiian Tropic.

Do you have any epic memories of being outside as a youngster?
My grandparents began watching me when I was young and they made it a point to raise me outside. They have a Christmas tree farm that had woods surrounding it and creeks throughout. Mucking about in those creeks with my grandmother was my first classroom. She taught me to respect nature since we rely upon it to live. She's the equivalent to Edward Abbey to me.

What are your current passions in life and how do they help inspire you on a daily basis?
Passion drives me in life. Being happy is number one. To be happy for me is to stay busy with the things I hold most important. Most important to me is to leave a mark on this world. Whether through a community, art, education, all these really matter.

We heard you own a sailboat and cruise the bay frequently. What were the steps in acquiring your boat, and what’s her name?
I'm in between boats right now. I owned and lived on a 35' 1926 fishing boat for 3 years. Famgilia Santa is her name, and she's fully diesel powered. I'm actually looking at getting a 15' open sailboat right now for bay exploration.

How do you incorporate the outdoors into your everyday routine?I've worked and volunteered for the San Francisco Maritime Museum for 6 years, now a little less that I have my own print shop. They taught me how to sail and maintain traditional and vintage boats. So more often than not I'm sailing one of their historic vessels out on the bay.

Tell us about Aesthetic Union. What were the steps in becoming small business owner, and how do you keep on keeping on?The Aesthetic Union is a print shop, gallery, and retail space. We use letterpress as our printing method to create custom correspondence, business cards and packaging. Our gallery is filled with limited edition prints that we work together with other artists and letterpress here. And our retail space is stocked with paper items - PapaLlama greeting cards (which are printed right here in the shop), pens, pencils, and notebooks. Locally made and also from around the world. All top quality and like no other.

Everyday is a new challenge at the shop. I love being a leader and calling the shots. It also means a lot of responsibility, but it also means freedom to do whatever you want with the shop. We've had experimental dance performances here, poetry readings, and amazing shows featuring awesome artists. That's what keeps me going, its not knowing what’s coming next and having people really appreciate the shop.

What five things come with you on every sail expedition?

  • A wool watch cap
  • A heavy wool sweater (SF bay is cold)
  • My sailing knife and marlin spike set
  • Sunscreen
  • Whiskey

Any trips coming up this fall?
I'm spending a lot of time up at China Camp State Park where the SF Maritime Museum has a few boats. That place is a gem of the bay. I'm headed down to LA to scout out some locations for a show for my own personal artwork. I'm also headed up to the Sierra's foothills so I can experience a little real fall weather, something I miss from the Northeast.