ALTERED: Exploring the Artwork of Patrick Andrews January 17 2018, 0 Comments
Our first gallery exhibition of the year is a solo show featuring the sculptural work of Patrick Andrews. Patrick's sculptures consist of as many repurposed objects as possible and his award-winning metal work ranges from the whimsical to functional. He uses patinas and cut shapes to explore surface, scale and space in a way that alters his materials into works of poetic beauty.
Gallery Coordinator, Saraya Cheney, had the opportunity to ask Patrick a few questions to gain a bit of insight into his creative inspirations and his origins as an artist:
SC - How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?
PA - I use scrap metal, found objects and raw material to make sculptures, lamps, bells and functional art. By using reclaimed or re-purposed materials I can give these items a second chance at life and help to reduce the amount of material destined for landfills.
SC - Where do you say that you get your inspiration from? Does it come from one particular place or multiple places?
PA - I am frequently inspired by nature and other artists. In nature, the organisms or residents will frequently adapt to the environment in which they find themselves. This adaptability can result in entirely new species or behaviors. Some of the most vibrant colors and shapes I have seen have been in nature. Even after a natural disaster such as an earthquake or forest fire, nature is able to re-assert itself in newer and stronger ways. The skills and techniques of other artists have inspired me to look at what I make or do and realize I need to evolve as well. That is one reason I am frequently changing what I am making. In order to learn and grow.
SC - What or who do you think has been the biggest influence in your artistic career?
PA - While I visited the usual museums and an occasional gallery growing up, I think the Internet has become one of the biggest influences on my artistic endeavors. The Internet has allowed me to see art and artists from around the world. I have been able to see styles, colors, and techniques that I never knew existed. I have even used it to contact some artists for advice. The Internet has also allowed me to show my work to the world and I have been fortunate to find that others like what I make.
SC - What’s something you’ve struggled with creatively the most?
PA - Color choices, combinations, or finish is frequently a challenge for me. I have found that while I can see in my mind the idea of what I want to make, the color or finish can have a dramatic impact on the final product. There are some pieces I have made where, as soon as I was finished, I knew it was a success and other times when I look at something and realize it just doesn’t work. Sometimes it is that the paint did not adhere correctly or had drips or runs, or other times that the color selection was just plain wrong. I had one bell that I ended up having to repaint four times before I was happy with it.
SC - Have you always been making work from salvaged items or is this something that is relatively new? What does it mean to you to be able to take something, alter it and create something entirely new?
PA - I remember being in grade school or middle school and walking along railroad tracks, out in the woods, or on the beach. I would come across pieces of metal, interesting looking rocks, sticks or seashells and drag them home. In my mind they always became something else. As an adult I have been able to purchase tools and equipment to bring those ideas to life. I also tried to instill that idea in my children. I still have containers of Popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, crayons, and colored pencils my children used in school and have been known to raid those boxes for current projects.
SC - What prompted your work to head in that direction?
PA - One of the most important things I learned is to not look at an item as what it is, but what it can become. I apply that same philosophy to people and try to look for the hidden potential of what they can become. While I think I have been somewhat artistic my whole life, I have found that I now have the time and means to bring that to life.
SC - What is your favorite piece that you have created?
PA - It would be a dogwood branch sculpture I made for my house. I was on a portion of Virginia Beach one fall day about eight years ago and I found a large pile of metal rebar. The waves had twisted the pieces together like a plate of spaghetti. In addition, the salt water and sand had eroded portions of the metal so that instead of its usual look, it now looked very textured and organic. I had no idea what I was going to make with this, but I knew I had to have it. That rebar sat in my back yard until the following spring when the dogwood trees started to bloom. I now knew what the rebar was to become.
SC - Do you ever get blocked creatively? How do you work through it if you do?
PA - To borrow a quote from William Faulkner – “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o'clock every morning.”
While I have had times when I question what I am doing and if it is worth it, I consider myself lucky in many respects. I have stacks of paper with sketches or ideas for various projects. When I find that I am tired of a particular style or item, I will frequently change the type of material I am using or the style of work I am attempting. This allows me time to take a break and regroup. I have also found that if I need inspiration, I can also just start cleaning up my pile of scrap metal. Moving those pieces of metal around is akin to re-arranging the letters in your rack in the game of Scrabble, in that, sometimes a piece just jumps right out at you.
I also recently read an article where another artist offered advice along these lines. “Make what you need to make in order to pay the bills. Occasionally, make what you want to make and that is fun for you. Soon you find that this last group of items is what pays the bills.” I interpreted that as meaning that the audience can see when an artist is making something from the heart.
Patrick's solo show ALTERED: Exploring the Artwork of Patrick Andrews opens on Friday, January 26th with a reception from 5-7pm. Refreshments and drinks will be served.