ArtLA Magazine Interview
“…It was a towering black silhouette of a man swinging a hammer up and down, over and over. It was conceptual, built of wood, and painted solid black. I thought it was genius.”
At ArtLA.com, we are fortunate enough to encounter some of the most original, innovative and talented artists working today, and none more so than Malibu abstract artisan Andrew Glass. Andrew Glass has exhibited in many prestigious galleries in Southern California and his intricate but accessible pieces are always received with much appreciative admiration. Utilizing a style that has a harmony with most living spaces one could create, Andrew understands that subtle incorporations and delicate visual ornaments can have an impact that is oftentimes more powerful than the most immediate and blatant visual presentations. Andrew is set to open a new exhibition this November, and we managed to grab a few moments with this intelligent and insightful artist.
ArtLA.com: Tell us a little about your early artistic days. When did you first take an interest and where did it go from there?
Andrew Glass: I’ve been making art one way or another throughout my entire life. My goal was that I wanted to invent something. As a kid, I was a good illustrator and loved to draw. I loved art class because the marks you made were never wrong. I remember an art contest in the 3rd grade; I drew a good likeness of my father smoking a cigarette in his easy chair (I once got detention in junior high school for drawing naked ladies on my friend’s assignment folder). As my intellectual capabilities grew, I had an appetite for more sophisticated projects and materials. I learned how to work with my hands and I had become a good craftsman in high school. I was 18 years old and in my first year of the Art Program at Pitzer College, when I saw Jonathan Borofsky’s “Hammering Man” at the Temporary Contemporary Museum in down town L.A. It was a towering black silhouette of a man swinging a hammer up and down, over and over. It was conceptual, built of wood, and painted solid black. I thought it was genius.
ArtLA.com: Was there any time during your career when you felt like giving up?
Andrew Glass: There was never really a time when I felt like giving up; however, there were significant setbacks along the way. I think two of the biggest challenges on an artist’s young career are finding direction and identity in their work, and finding the right materials, studio and living space. It happened that the Northridge earthquake in 1994 destroyed most of my house and backyard studio garage. Almost all of my belongings and early paintings were ruined. It took many years to get settled again, and that period was the longest time I went without painting. I stayed creative, though. Many of my friends were actors so we produced a small play in Hollywood. I started graduate school in the creative writing program at Cal State Los Angeles. Ironically, at that time, my wife and I bought a fixer house, and I began slowly spending more time carving out a studio than sitting behind the computer. I dropped out of graduate school and started painting full-time. The new studio space provided me with an opportunity to really develop.
ArtLA.com: Do you find inspiration is dependent on your environment; for example, rural versus urban surroundings?
Andrew Glass: I am inspired by what I see but it’s the environment made up from all of the aesthetic experiences and places I’ve been before. I love the geometry of downtown streets, the straight lines on a skyscraper. I also love the desert landscape with its jagged rocks and natural patinas. I seek out the light and colors of my natural surroundings, but also the manmade order of urban life. Honestly, I’m never bored.
ArtLA.com: What are the benefits of online technology for you to expose your work as an artist?
Andrew Glass: Online technology benefits both the artist and the Gallery. The artist gets more exposure to his audience. And of course, the Gallery can easily introduce new collectors with greater access to the work. But what we can’t let happen is vainly substituting technology for actually standing in front of a work of art.
ArtLA.com: How would you describe a perfect day for you?
Andrew Glass: Do you mean besides the days my two sons were born–and besides those days when I finish a really good painting? But if I had to describe to you another type of a perfect day for me, I would probably be embarrassed by the sophomoric debauchery that comes with that territory. I’m afraid a perfect day for me would be out of the question at this time. But there are days… when all the tiny pieces fall into place. I like waking up on an April morning when the cool air is creeping its way through the window. And after I ease out of bed, I like getting hit with that scent of strong coffee. I like seeing my 8 and 9-year old sons planted on the couch, warm and safe. I like when my wife makes soft-boiled eggs for me and French toast for the kids. And as the morning turns to noon, we surprise the boys with a trip to our family cabin in the Sequoias. I love to see the guys screaming with surprise and anticipation, like little people do. And after an evening campfire, I like that hickory smoky smell left on my clothes. And finally, the best part of it all is that the cabin has a bed for everyone, so I don’t have to sleep in a sleeping bag on the ground. So a perfect day for me is a calm cool morning and a cup of coffee with a soft boiled egg; a trip to the family cabin where at the end of the day I smell like smoke but at least have a bed to sleep in. It’s the little things…right?
ArtLA.com: What lessons did your work life teach you?
Andrew Glass: I’m lucky about work. Most of the jobs I’ve had gave me skills to carry on to the next job. I have a good disposition about doing work too. I had many different jobs including a feed store clerk and bricklayer. But right out of college I started working for a graphics company that produced many of the weekly news magazines. And since I had an art background, I worked my way to become the California regional production manager. I got a chance to understand the entire large scale printing industry. I traveled throughout the U.S. and learned how to check color proofs. I had that magazine job for 17 years. The production manager, without question, taught me how to be a professional. And a control freak too. I brought the control freak part, and put it together with the creative art part, and with a professional work habit, I started to make good paintings.
ArtLA.com: You talk about elements of deconstruction in your work. How did you come to learn about deconstruction? How did it first appear in your process of art making?
Andrew Glass: I began to really think about deconstruction in graduate school. The theory comes from the grammatologist, Jacques Derrida. Essentially, his idea breaks apart the structure of language in search of meaning. I began to think about how tangible deconstruction was in everyday life looking at all the parts of the whole. In my opinion, people have a tendency to not only reassemble language and thoughts, but objects too. I started literally cutting up my paintings and reassembling them again. I thought it would be more interesting to cut a painting in pieces and then put it back together on another surface.Andrew Glass will be exhibiting his paintings at The JNA Gallery, 2525 Michigan Avenue, D4, Santa Monica, California 90404 from Saturday, November 16 through Sunday, December 15, 2013. The Opening Reception is on Saturday, November 16, 2013, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. - Dan Daily