Interview: Andy Kehoe
Die Gemälde von Andy Kehoe sind wie Fenster in eine seltsame, von merkwürdigen Kreaturen bevölkerte Herbstwelt, die – den vielen Blumen zum Trotz – von einer wunderschönen Melancholie beseelt ist.
It took one week of drawing the same crappy picture over and over to quickly change my plans for the future.
Diskursdisko: Hi Andy.To start things off, what’s your background? When did you start painting?
Andy Kehoe: I originally went to school at University of the Arts in Philadelphia for animation of all things. It took one week of drawing the same crappy picture over and over to quickly change my plans for the future. Plus I was just really really horrible at animating anything at all. I tried to animate a guy walking and his head would swell bigger and smaller and he would float up and down… like I said, it was horrible. Anyways, I found that my love was for detail and moved over to the illustration department and then the multimedia department.
I started doing all of my work through drawings and digitally colored them through Photoshop. I left that school and went down to Florida to Ringling School of Art and Design. There, they had a media class and I had a teacher that taught me the basics of painting with acrylic. That changed everything. I painted everything from that point on and finished at Parsons School of Design in New York. I’ve now started to use oil paints as well…. and I’m still figuring that one out painting by painting.
I’m always searching around for bizarre and wonderful things.
Diskursdisko: How do you mainly produce your art? Do you have a system or method that you adhere to?
Andy Kehoe: I never really make sketches for anything except to jot down an idea. I get paranoid that I’ll forget ideas, but they usually stick around somewhere in the recesses of my brain. I start straight away on the painting and make a quick drawing for the layout. It’s usually a very simple drawing just to set up the composition and then I start painting the base colors with acrylic. Then I switch over to oil paint and the real fun begins. Everything happens pretty organically as I work so I don’t plan things out too much. Many surprising things happen along the way with each piece and it’s always an adventure.
Diskursdisko: What inspires you?
Andy Kehoe: Man, I always get this question and I never really know what inspires me. I’m always searching around for bizarre and wonderful things. I’ll watch a nature program and feel inspired. I’ll learn about an ancient civilization that’s vanished and feel inspired to create something just as mysterious. I’ll take a walk and see a really amazing old tree and get excited to work… so I guess a little bit of everything.
Diskursdisko: Much of your artwork is based around portraits of monsters that seem to inhabit a world where it’s permanently autumn – how did you develop this style?
Andy Kehoe: Autumn is definitely my favorite season and I feel a certain nostalgia when it comes around. Something that harkens back to a time when I was young and the world still held wonders. As for the season itself, the leaves, the smell, the first cool breezes of the fall air, I love it all. I always wish it could stick around longer and maybe that’s why it’s a permanent autumn in my work. I’ve also invented reasons the land is always autumn, but maybe I’ll explain that down the line.
Diskursdisko: Looking at your pictures often makes me think of “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak – do you feel influenced by the book, or children’s books in general?
Andy Kehoe: I get that reference a lot! Honestly, I never really got into that book too much as a kid. I was more into Conan, Spiderman, Fantasy, Sci-Fi and anime movies.
I mainly started drawing beasts and creatures because I got bored of drawing people. Two eyes, one nose, one mouth… some people can find endless ways to make this interesting, but I couldn’t. With creatures, anything is possible and that was what I was looking for. I am definitely grateful that people reference me to such a beautiful classic. Especially one that so many people have kept so dearly in their hearts… and I’m definitely excited to see the movie coming out!
There’s been a bunch of work over the years I feel very strongly connected to and a good number of characters I hold dear. But it would take me pages to get into all that.
Diskursdisko: You’ve obviously got the website at andykehoe.net , any other presences on the web you’d like to publicize? social networking?
Diskursdisko: As you use the internet to showcase your art, are there any other websites you feel have influenced you, opened your mind or shown you new ways of creating art?
Andy Kehoe: Hmmmm. Wikipedia has definitely been a life saver over the years. It’s also nice being a part of Flickr and I get to keep up with my favorite artist’s work.
Diskursdisko: Of all the work you’ve created, or at least the ones showcased on your website, can you name a couple that you have a special love for or connection to?
Andy Kehoe: There’s been a bunch of work over the years I feel very strongly connected to and a good number of characters I hold dear. But it would take me pages to get into all that.
Diskursdisko: Do you have any specific plans for the future direction of your artwork?
Andy Kehoe: I’ve got some shows lined up and I’m going to keep evolving this world of mine. It starts to make more and more sense every painting I do and it’s all a building process. I’d like to make a book sometime in the future and do a whole series of paintings for that. I’ve got a bunch of very disorganized stories to go along with these paintings and I hope to make a cohesive tale one day.
Diskursdisko: Andy, many thanks for the interview – is there anything you’d like to add?
Andy Kehoe: Thank you!!!
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