Andrew Salgado is an artist that is very easy to gravitate towards. He is open minded but is serious about what needs to be taken seriously and is also able to see levity in the whims of life. Andrew’s paintings are eclectic, textured and honest. His works show a maturity of thought and technique that combine to reveal pure originality. Andrew understands that life revolves around transition and this is seen in his works – his images almost seem like they are in a state of surreal flux. Andrew believes that there is beauty in the idea of making things ugly and Style.No.Chaser really responds to this concept because we believe that the degree of superficiality in our society today has ran amok. Andrew wants men to focus on their art collections because the art you accumulate says tons about you – we once again fully concur with this notion because we believe ‘style is your personal art’ so actually buying/owning art cannot hurt your personal style.
“And this isn’t for everyone. I painted Donald Trump …”
Please tell us a little about yourself – your childhood, siblings, where you grew up, what you liked as a child, strange thoughts as a child/now, unique attributes, where you live now, etc.?
I’m 33, half-Mexican Canadian, living in London where I graduated in 2009 with a Master’s degree from Chelsea College of Art. I grew up in the small city of Regina, Canada, before moving to Vancouver for my undergraduate degree. What did I like as a child? I liked art. I was never one for sports. And despite being proficient in the maths and sciences, I never had passion for those subjects. I think I always knew my future would be in the arts. I currently live in Shoreditch, East London. I just moved to a 1,000sqft studio in London Fields where I’m finishing up my newest body of work, to debut early May in NYC.
How do you describe your form of art and what tools do you primarily use?
I call my art abstract figurative. Though…recently I’ve been feeling like I need to re-asses that label. In all honesty, I’m not really sure what I do – it’s always in a state of transition, and particularly recently I feel things evolving in a manner in which I can’t really look back – where I’ve been – for answers, which is both exhilarating but also somewhat frightening. Its foundation is primarily figurative, but I don’t think it’s so straightforward as it might first appear.
I paint almost exclusively with oil on either canvas or linen. This is often paired with oil pastels. Sometimes spray paint makes its way in there; other times collage or other mixed media. I have fairly ‘no-holds’ approach to my work. Recently I’ve been experimenting with hand-dyeing and stitching.
What does your art mean to you?
This is a tricky question. I mean, certainly I have said a number of times previously that my art is the only thing that really defines who I am and how I live my life. It’s funny, I take my art extremely seriously, but I also try and have fun with it. It’s just a painting, right? Artists are kind of self-indulgent pricks… we need to learn how to lighten up. But there are big changes happening in my practice and I just have to leverage this and stay above water. The paintings sort of take me where they want to go, and I’m just along for the ride. Right now I’m working with some grotesque, macabre imagery: clowns, the carnivalesque, masquerade…but these things have always been lurking in my practice, I think they’re just coming out in pretty direct ways at the moment. I wanted to paint myself as ‘a fool’ for some time, and before you know it there are no less than 5 clown paintings that appeared. I think my art is a way for me to measure and reinterpret the world around me, and I have a tendency to read deeply into things. If I could articulate things in another way, I would, but paint is the way I know how.
Your images are hauntingly human and also have a dark sense of something hidden – can you expand on what you want viewers to experience from your work, the symbolism behind it and also how you came up with this unique style?
I think there is something fantastical and almost transcendent in the best work. Art should never be one-dimensional. I recently was giving critiques at New York Academy of Art and I struggled with one or two students who just wanted to paint ‘just because’. I definitely, categorically, do not think successful art can just be about paint on canvas. I said ‘you have to ask yourself why you are propelled to do what you do’. Art is political, suggestive, Romantic, haunting. I found my footing in 2008/2009 after I was a victim of a hate-crime assault. So I think my work has always housed this darkness. It’s funny, because I don’t believe that dark work has to appear dark, and conversely, bright work isn’t always cheerful to look at. I like that paradox…people come to me and say ‘this work is so happy now!’ and I think…’it is?!’ But there is an element of whimsy and humor that is operating on another level now, and I like that this idea is something that kind of confuses people. I don’t think looking at art should be easy… A lot of this show was inspired by Camus’ The Outsider, which is kind of non-plussed and easy, and then suddenly, momentously tragic and dark and, well, almost evil. It was delicious. I’ve always been attracted to the dark side of human nature.
What is the worst critique you have ever received about your work? What is the best compliment that you have received about your work?
Well lots of people don’t like my work. But that’s not the point…no good artist is ever going to appeal to everyone, and actually I can’t think of anything worse than to be ‘pleasant’. Pleasant equates to ambivalence. And ambivalence never roused anyone to change the world let alone change their socks, right? Good art should polarize, and I’m aware that my work is not everyone’s cup of tea. Certainly I’m not painting seascapes or puppies or pretty little portraits of your sons; I have a purposeful desire to make things ‘ugly’, because I think there is beauty in that idea, and the most recent work really runs with this elaborated, cruddy texture and feeling of an almost…tortured surface texture. Tortured people. These sad, desolate clowns. You can see my thought processes throughout the works. And this isn’t for everyone. I painted Donald Trump…we’ll see how that goes over.
The best reactions I get are moving, profound, human connections. I recently met a cancer survivor who was determined to come see my work if he survived…he did, and so he did. I get a lot of those interactions – where I’ve somehow connected with someone on more than just a cursory level. That’s really moving and empowering. Also scary.
Which artist/s do you look up to the most?
Bacon. Gauguin. Daniel Richter. Tal R. Laura Owens. Sverre Bjertnes. Hurvin Anderson.
Since Style.No.Chaser is a men’s lifestyle magazine, what attributes/items/clothing /etc. do you think define a man?
His art collection! Seriously there is nothing worse than someone who rocks the suits, the style, the attitude, and then has a few posters tacked to the wall. There is plenty of original art to fit every budget. If anyone wants some shopping tips I’m happy to help! Young artists that are both great artists and certain to grow in value are the likes of Adam Lee, Tom Anholt, Dale Adcock, Scott Anderson. I just bought a Tal R… I have an addiction.
What is your personal life philosophy?
Work twice as hard and worry half as much. But also, work hard play hard.
What would you want your last meal to be?
A good limey bloody mary and Dirty’s Salt & vinegar chips.
Who dead or alive, celebrity or not, artist or not, would you like to go on a two week road trip with and why?
My partner. Everyone else drives me nuts after a day.
What type of music do you listen to (if at all) when working?
Yeah I’m always listening to music. I have strange prolonged relationships with musicians and certain albums have defined entire bodies of work for me. Currently I’m listening to a lot of Arcade Fire, Sharon Van Etten, Jenn Grant, Alt-J, Animal Collective, Future Islands, The National, and Patrick Watson. I like to make myself long playlists that respond to how I’m feeling and the work I’m making. Sometimes its intuitive, sometimes its subconscious, but things tend to influence the other. I like this song ‘Song to the Siren’ by Amen Dunes.
How can people learn more about (or buy) your current and upcoming works?
My forthcoming exhibition, The Fool Makes a Joke at Midnight, is at Thierry Goldberg with an opening reception 6th May (6-9pm) until 28th May. Following this I will have my 4th solo, tentatively titled The Snakeopening October 7th at my lead representation, Beers London. To find out about available work simply email firstname.lastname@example.org but I’m happy to say that my last 9 shows have sold out prior to opening day, and we have fingers crossed that this show will be no different once these works are released!
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