Local Artist Q&A | Andrew Marshall
1. Think back, can you recall your first interaction with art and if so what was it?
Growing up with a single mother in the late 80’s and 90’s, we never had very much money so I’d often be given crayons to stay occupied with. A lot of my development as a child was fostered through making festive decorations, crafts, cards and the like with her through emulation up until the point that I began to try to render my favorite cartoons characters. These naturally, for the times, would include The Simpsons, Thundercats and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, of which I would make my own cards to give to her on significant holidays. I succinctly remember enjoying the challenge of replicating these characters to be believable and accurate as a means to impress her for positive reinforcement; perhaps as an attempt to persuade her to afford me better supplies.
2. From then to now, was there a decisive moment in your life when you thought, “Yes, I want to be an artist.”
You know, I’ve always possessed the desire to be creative-but, it wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I decided that I could be an artist. I had gone to New York for the first time to visit a friend and was allowed the time to wander alone through the university of the wonderful art museums there. Growing up in Fort Worth in and around the museums here exposed me to a myriad of fantastic art and artists, thusly piquing my interest to movements and masterworks that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to appreciate in person. However, a lot of art I’d seen before that time in New York was stuffy and/or seemingly intangible. I was at a crux in my academic career where I didn’t know what I wanted to do going forward. I had a boring job and I’d nearly surpassed the requirements of my basic coursework and was struggling to find a meaningful direction as to what field or discipline I wanted to study for undergrad. I’d taken several courses in art to complete my associate’s degree and in so doing, found myself enjoying my work and truly engaging in it. My professor at the time invested a lot of time in showing me artists, modern and contemporary, that really expanded my appreciation and understanding for what it meant to be an artist. I’d spent a majority of the decade considering myself a musician without the exposure or outlet to feel that I could do anything with it. Here, however was a professional artist (my professor) who not only made terrific work himself, but who also took the time to foster my skills and inspire me to keep going. That trip to New York fully abetted my commitment to doing just that.
3. What led you to become an artist and how would you describe yourself in terms of style & technique?
I think again, it was my time in New York aimlessly wandering through the annals of places like The Met, MoMa, The Whitney and independent galleries that turned me to discover a technique and style that I liked. It was only when I witnessed the art of the 20’s and 30’s that I found something that truly spoke to me, namely artists from the Precisionism movement. These artists, such as Charles Demuth, Charles Sheeler, Gerald Murphy and of course early works by Georgia O’Keefe, really stirred me. They often painted snapshots of the industry and independence of a burgeoning nation/burgeoning society. These reflections painted in graphic, but realistic displays of water towers, buildings, and dams were lofty and encompassing. Your eye dances around these works in such a way that keeps you entranced with the visual elements employed, the colors used, and the effortless transitions that denotes realism, but is also playful and thought-provoking. I wanted to emulate that approach almost a hundred years later as to the affects of, what I perceived to be our nation at the time, a crumbling nation: dilapidating, listless and unsure of its future. I wanted to reenact what those artists presented in an updated view, but most importantly, I wanted to be a thoughtful artist. I wanted to utilize their flair for keeping the viewer interested through technique, but present a modern worldview that argued against a polarizing societal and political climate.
4. You’ve said before that two of your favorite artists are Robert Longo and Charles Demuth, what is it about their style that attracts you to them?
Robert Longo has done things that are just incredible. His illustrations are just, I don’t know how to really put this, but perfect. His ability to use a single medium like charcoal and render such breathtaking, realistic detail with value, movement, and scale is truly phenomenal. Charles Demuth was a master of his time. His palette and orthagonal lines was well ahead of his time. Subtle gradients cast against graphically imposing angles was really what drew me to him. His employment of symbolism and again, reflections of his own environment was equally telling and enigmatic. I love the dichotomy of telling everything all at once and nothing at all, thus I strive to exhibit both of each of their qualities in my work.
5. Describe your approach from idea to canvas when taking on a new project:
Idea to work to me is all about challenge. Facing the fear of failure and the otherwise arc of accomplishing the impossible or at the very least, impressive is what I’d say my approach is. It doesn’t matter the media, I’m always out to challenge myself, in style, in palette, in design and in scale. I always look for the opportunity to arrive at a destination that I haven’t completely understood at the outset. That is the reward for me personally.
6. Are there specific mediums (such as painting) or canvases that you are more drawn to using, and why?
I prefer to use oil mainly in my paintings, but that often shifts because it’s not instantaneous-so to break the monotony, I often utilize many media in my work. Again, the challenge of creating interesting fields of interactive media is the driver. I get bored with using a singular medium, so whenever I can I try to use as many as possible, from watercolor and graphite to layers of acrylic to oils on top. Now that’s what I call a good, creative headache.
7. Tell me about the mural company you are starting:
Company Name: MARLSO
Mission: To explore techniques of what I do know to discover what I don’t and do so on a grand scale.
Goals: To create a hallmark company that is respected and sought after near and abroad. To make meaningful art that addresses the clients interests and desires in beautifying an otherwise overlooked space. To empower my partners with the skills and resources to accomplish their own personal artistic dreams.
8. If cost were not an issue, what is one project that you would love to pursue?
I’d love to work to get to be able to do a giant building, preferably overseas. To repeat myself, I’d like to be sought after to create expressive work that changes in style and transmorphs the notion of being a one-trick pony. There’s too much great art in the world to imbibe, why would I want to only possess one style of delivering my work or in one place?
18 June | 2018