Sunday, February 18, 2007

Art Space Talk: Brian Andrews

I recently interviewed artist Brian Andrews. Mr. Andrews is a part-time instructor at the Art Institute of California and the Course Director for Ex'pression College of Digital Arts. He is a very well-respected educator in his field. He has a firm belief that artists and cultural producers must possess the abilities to evaluate and adapt their ideas in the constantly shifting world of art, and develop their reasoning and production techniques with breakneck evolution of technology.

Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A. "I went to my first real contemporary gallery opening on Valentines Day in 1997. It was a very good day."

Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art?

A. "It is a goal of my work to question the boundaries between contemporary culture and the construct of nature, and to inquire as to how elements of artificiality and technology compound and distort these relationships. I like to confront the viewer with images and objects that reside on the uncomfortable line between natural and technological, the living and the automaton."

Q. On average, how long does it take you to create a piece?

A. "As I get older my works seem to get more detailed, and therefore more time consuming."

Q. Can you share some of your philosophy about art and artistic creation?

A. "I see art as a process of continual redevelopment and examination of ideas. My studio practice is a practical investigation into what and who we are as animals and cultural beings, as well as what an artwork can be. My pieces attempt to get the viewer to ask the same questions I’m asking myself."

Q. What was your most important exhibition? Care to share that experience?

A. "An inconsequential group show in 2001. It was the first time I felt that people were engaging with my work and understanding what I was trying to do."

Q. Do you have any 'studio rituals'? As in, do you listen to certain types of music while working? What helps to get you in the mood for working?

A. "I wish. My studio process is as disjointed and unpredictable as it can be. Usually I’m highly distractible during the early phases of conceiving a project. Once a piece is rolling in production, I like to hermit myself and just power though and get it done. In those moments multi-tasking is overrated."

Q. If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who collect your art, what would they be?

A. "Dark senses of humor and a keen eye."

Q. Discuss one of your pieces. What were you thinking when you created it?

A. "In Bunny (Chimpanzee) (image above) and Tiger (Chimpanzee) juvenile chimpanzees are discovered in their environment clothed in animal costumes. The photographs ask the viewer to inquire into the cultural personifications imbued in our ideas of the animal and the human, as well as the living and the technological, as they observe these atrophied primates clad in children’s costumes."

Q. Do you have a degree or do you plan to attend school for art? If so, how did it help you as an artist? What can you tell us about the art department that you attended?

A. "I have an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a bunch of other degrees form the University of California San Diego. I liked art school so much I began teaching so I wouldn’t have to leave."

Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?

A. "I choose the medium for a piece based on the audience experience I wish to engage with for that moment. I mostly use photographs and video because I like their directly mediated presentations."

Q. Where can we see more of your art? Are you represented by a gallery? Do you have any upcoming exhibits?

A. "I am represented by 40000 in Chicago and have a show there coming up in May, I also have some work up at Rio Hondo Art Gallery in Whittier as I speak. Otherwise visit"

Q. What trends do you see in the 'art world'?

A. "I can’t wait for this shitty low-craft proto-nostalgic drawing movement to end."

Q. Any tips for emerging artists?

A. "Get rid of any romantic notions of the artistic process. Making good work is an everyday job. In the end the tortoise beats the hare."

Q. In one sentence... why do you create art?

A. "Because I live in a world where I can."

Q. What can you tell our readers about the art scene in your area?

A. "San Francisco has a very horizontal rhizomatic art scene. There are some great artists and institutions here, but very little real cross communication. On bad days I think there’s a lot of style over substance. On good days it’s full of neat hidden nitches."

Q. Has politics ever entered your art?

A. "I think politics are useful in a work only via implication. Otherwise it tends to become didactic and dated."

Q. Does religion, faith, or the lack thereof play a part in your art?

A. "No, although my work does ask the viewer to pose foundational questions of themselves and our species as a whole. The viewers personal beliefs become part of there framework of that investigation."

Q. Is there anything else you would like to say about your art or the 'art world'?

A. "See you out there."
I hope that you have enjoyed my interview with Brian Andrews. Feel free to critique or discuss his work.
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin

1 comment:

Alexa D said...

stumbled onto this b/c one of your photos from a google ref bank caught my eye, and I read on... refreshing to see an honest view of everyday things without the overloaded "see what I see" bullshit. Satirical humor-always welcome... Nice job, and thanks for the break from work