In one of the two bedrooms in a small apartment on Belmont Avenue, a short walk from campus, the decorative style is minimal but punchy.
On the right side of the bedroom, a golden pine desk stands, while a low bed equipped with a bookshelf underneath sits on the far side. A black Spurling Lakes backpack hangs from a hook on the white wall. Unpacked boxes, a Mac laptop and a couple of pens wait on the desk.
It looks as if there are some additions to be made, but the place is still homey. After all, the apartment’s occupant, Aaron DeVera, FCRH ‘16, is still adjusting to his new space when I joined him and a few friends for tacos on a cold Friday night in January. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, DeVera is broad-shouldered and thick-necked, but not intimidating. He sports slick lenses, which compliment his Asian-Pacific features. His hair is cut short (for now) and his style is usually urban-inspired, but unapologetic in its aura of authentic West Coast cool.
DeVera is somewhat a jack-of-all-trades. If you were to tell him that, he would probably smirk and just shrug his shoulders, but a look at his digital archives (a tumblr blog) shows otherwise. Displayed on a minimalist theme, called “cinemagraph,” the site boasts his array of interests (music, photography, film, writing and design) and adds a personal touch, as he discusses his inspirations and acknowledging his collaborators (often friends or family members).
Under his own name, he has posted a handful of EPs, notably Educated Mess and Summer Candle. Both consist of low-fi tracks that are as funky as they are playful. Beachy influences admittedly keep many of his songs from wandering off into obscurity. Each of the two EPs feature DIY album art, drawing inspiration from DeVera’s photography of California beaches. Neither fails to escape the brightness of West Coast inspiration.
Just as he has spent some time creating his own music, DeVera has ventured into various niches of journalism as well, mostly politics and culture. He is International Affairs Editor at Fordham’s Political Review, a student publication at Fordham. In his published pieces in the Political Review, he displays an ability to focus his creativity into more serious pursuits without sacrificing any of his inventiveness.
He is also a contributor to “Earwax,” a music review section in The Paper’s Arts section. “It will no doubt be making the rounds from the blogs of tween teenage girls to hipster remix artists alike,” he writes of The xx’s Coexist.
On the Friday night I spent interviewing DeVera, we talked everything from concert venues to furniture as he prepared a Mexican dinner. In a green beanie (all irony intended) and a plaid shirt, he seemed to maneuver the kitchen as if he had been there for far more than a week.
With a small notebook by his side, he kept penning all of the things he would soon need for his kitchen (cutting knives, more tabasco sauce). “Are you a Moleskin guy?” he asked me as he scribbled onto the lined pages.
He told me about some of his courses, like his Terrorism class, and his general fondness for Lincoln Center classes. DeVera, as most Americans should, also has a great deal of faith in Ikea (“Always trust the Swedes”).
We gathered around his small coffee table, laden with taco necessities (beer-battered chicken, flour tortillas, peppers, beans, rice and cheese), for a simple but welcoming dinner.
In any other place, it would have felt odd, but with Dr. Dog filling in the spaces devoid of conventional furniture, DeVera knew how to make an empty space feel just like home.