Catching up with Andy…

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If you’re at all familiar with Andy’s work, you’ll know that his style is precise, incredibly detailed and often looks like it’s been created according to a complex mathematical formula. Perhaps that’s why he often gets commissioned to provide for scientific publications. His work can be vibrantly colourful, kaleidoscopic and, if you stare at it a while, you start to wonder if it’s got more than two dimensions. And even his black-and-white pieces can give the impression that they’re moving. Speaking of which, recently Andy has started to produce animated pieces, where the movement you see isn’t just an illusion. Not that these geometric works are the only way Andy displays his artistry. A few years ago, we showed some of his beautiful drawings of birds and animals, rendered in pen, pencil and chalk rather than computer graphics.

So, exactly how does Andy create these pieces and what are his inspirations? We thought it was about time we asked him to find out.

Have you always been artistically inclined?

I was always inclined to draw and be interested in all things drawn – from cartoons to comic books to animation and illustration – all things illustrated from medical, botanical, biological, architectural, typographical, and editorial illustrations. I’ve always been fascinated by drawing as this incredible human capability that I wanted to harness in myself. 

How did you find your way into a career as an artist?

It’s a long story, but it started when I was 10 years old – Monday through Friday – rain, sleet or snow – I delivered newspapers door-to-door in feet of snow. At 15 I started working at Wegmans grocery store – pushing shopping carts under the same conditions. 

I always had to work. I resented it, but it made it very clear what I would rather be doing, and that was drawing. By the time I graduated high school, I was all about drawing, playing bass, and skateboarding. I declared Illustration my major at the University of Buffalo and that was that. I was going to be an Illustrator. I got my first professional commission 15 years later. 

Did you start out with paint, pencils and paper before moving into computer graphics?

Mostly pencil-coloured and graphite and later assorted pens. I ink with a brush but I’ve done very little painting. Someday. 

Did you grow up in Rochester, New York?

Yes, Rochester, New York – born, raised, and resides. I’ve lived within these city limits for most of my life. Mid-size city living suits my family and I. 

Where do you recommend in Rochester for food, drink and culture?

Rochester has had quite the restaurant boom in the past decade. My favourites are Vern’s, The Saucey Chef, Voula’s, Good Luck, and Rio Tomatlan. For coffee – Ugly Duck and Fuego. 

You’re a musician as well as an artist – what do you play?

I play guitar – 10-string acoustic primarily. In recent years, I haven’t been playing as much as I used to but I still use it to align myself and realign myself.

Has music and sound influenced your art?

Definitely. Everything I know about colour and geometry I learned from being a musician. 

Where else do you look for inspiration?

I look to the hills for inspiration. Hiking and long walks get my mind and body right to find within myself the will and inspiration to create.  

How do you actually go about creating your works?

It’s pretty simple. I build the root form in Adobe Illustrator and colour and re-compose in Photoshop. 

Of the projects you’ve worked on over the years, do you have any favourites?

My favourite project was the Nike Lebron X Prism. 

What prompted your recent move into animating your pieces?

I had been doing little experiments with animation over the years, but I recently had a breakthrough in my process that got me excited to revisit images that I made years back, that lend themselves well to being animated.