Andy's collages seem to me like ephemeral time capsules, and I really like the simple way he uses vintage packaging in his work. I enjoy the emphasis on bits of type samples and the way he uses muted colours as strongly as bright ones. His collages look almost woven together, like each piece of paper is a scrap of vintage fabric and the final piece is a beautiful paper quilt--which is also completely relevant to the era of the materials.
Born and raised in London, UK - now living in Tucson AZ, USA
Describe your work in 10 words or less.
Hopper, Schwitters and Hockney meet for tea at the Bauhaus.
What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
Vintage matchbooks, envelopes, cigarette packets and ticket stubs, found and discarded paper, clothes labels, business cards and any nice paper that lands in the mail. I don't use newspapers or magazines because I'm afraid that they will disintegrate too easily.
How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
I've been making collage since about 1993 when I started at Art School. I'd seen a show of Kurt Schwitters at The Pompidou Museum in Paris and it blew me away. His collages were so elegant and vital--like visual cubist poems. I've always made collage, often alongside my painting, as a form of play and experiment and also as a form of meditation. I can lose myself for hours and hours in a happy reverie.
Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
I am a schizophrenic artist in that I paint, make collage and am an obsessive photographer. I have always thought of myself as primarily a painter but in the last few years i think I've morphed into being primarily a collage artist. It consumes me. A couple of years ago I started a publishing company, Avalon Art, to publish my images as greeting cards because I was fed up with working with the big art publishers. Now I have a business partner and we are expanding the company and will soon be publishing Kareem Rizk! But essentially I make my living by selling my work in galleries and at art fairs.
Do you have any formal art training?
Yes--having completed a degree in Politics I had a change of heart and decided I wanted to be an artist--so I went back to college. First I did a Foundation in Art and Design in London and then went to a small art college also in London called Byam Shaw, where I did a BA Hons Degree in Fine Art.
Explain your favourite techniques.
I tend to build up a piece very slowly, like a mosaic, using hundreds of tiny peices that I've obsessively cut and trimmed. Often I include text and lots of little printed graphic symbols, letters and numbers to create a sort of informal text poem. I choose all the paper according to the kind of colour palette and texture that I'm after. I try and create a collage that is evocative of a time and place, and references the art that I enjoy, from Bauhaus to Dada and Constructivism etc I sometimes use glue sticks but more recently I use a liquid collage PVA glue that is unbelievably durable and is also archival.
In my painted collage I have used old vintage bank notes which have been painted on, sanded down and then cut up and re-arranged into abstract patterns or cityscapes.
Describe your favourite piece ever created.
That's a really difficult question. Recently I made some panoramic pictures of Chicago using old matchbooks that I was particularly proud of.
What other artists do you admire?
I've already mentioned Kurt Schwitters, the King of collage in my book! I also love David Hockney as an artist...his colour and sense of magic and joy is very inspiring. And Matisse of course! The English artists Peter Blake and the late Eduardo Paolozzi have also influenced my aesthetic. There are so many great collage artists out there today. I've recently discovered Kareem Rizk and Holly Chastain (aka dr kennedy Jones). My wife Gabrielle makes beautiful drawings which also inspire me.