This time we have a different feature. It is with great pleasure that I introduce Andy McCubbin. He was a great discovery for the Organic Anagram Industries, and we are very pleased to work with him to bring his work Precocious in an art print limited to ten pieces. I already have the artist proofs with me, and all I can say is that they look stunning.
Our website is almost finished, we are just waiting to receive the last things for the shop to put it up and running. Meanwhile, join our newsletter. And read the interview.
Hi Andy! First, could you introduce yourself?
I'm a 36-year-old web-developer living in Nelson, New Zealand, with my wife and three children - a dog and two cats. I really like music, horror films, and classic British Comedy.
You work as a web-developer full time, how does your family and the people you work for perceive this talent you have?
I think some of them wonder why I'm working on websites instead of being a full-time artist, but the reality is that there's so much talent out there it's hard to get noticed, and doing websites pays the bills. I do get the occasional "what goes on in your head?!" questions, accompanied by a sideways look.
My parents take an interest in my paintings, but they always say: "it's very well done, but have you ever thought of painting something happy?"
Are you involved in any shows in the coming months? Or any past exhibition you want to talk about.
I haven't had any exhibitions, and don't have anything lined up yet. One of the disadvantages of not having been to art school is that I don't know any other artists or have any contacts 'on the inside'. I'm not naturally someone who likes to blow their own trumpet, so to speak, and started my website just so friends and family can see what I've been painting. I haven't really made much of an effort to promote it online yet, but I realize that I'm going to have to sort myself out eventually.
Even though your paintings have a clear surrealist influence, they are also very skilful depictions of the human condition, seen with a humorous malice. Yet you have not been trained in art school. Why did you become interested in painting?
I've always been quite interested in painting and realized that it was something that I could do. As a teenager I'd raid the linen closet for white sheets and the basement for house paints, and would sit on my bedroom floor for hours painting replicas of heavy metal album covers.
I remember being particularly impressed with Michael Whelan's covers from Sepultura's Arise and Chaos A.D. albums, and painted those two more than once.
I went through that stage for a few years, and a few friends ended up with hand-painted album covers on their walls. I then tried painting landscapes, but quickly got bored with them. I then forgot about painting for over ten years until I finally got the urge to try painting something different. That was in 2006 and I've just kept going from there.
What would you consider your biggest inspirations? These paintings seem to take a long time to complete with a great level of detail, is it easy for you to keep the focus?
My biggest inspiration as far as content is concerned would definitely be real life - there's so much absurdity in the world it's hard not to be affected by it. I'm also a bit of an 'animal-lover', and like to illustrate the fact that humans are, essentially, just chunks of meat too, not special beings that the universe revolves around.
As for artistic inspirations, I would have to say that Terry Gilliam's crazy cartoon segments in Monty Python's Flying Circus made a big impression on me. And of course there are the heavy metal album covers mentioned above. Also, people are posting amazing art on the internet and I often find that very inspiring. If my head is in a bad space, then seeing all the other great art can be a bit discouraging, but I'll have a couple of rums and will get another silly idea, and off I go again. Oh, Hieronymus Bosch is another inspiration. I remember finding out about his art from the cover of Kreator's Coma of Souls album - the weird segment inside the dude's head is a portion of a Bosch painting.
Do you pursue any other artistic form?
I guess you could say that designing websites is artistic, but the clients set up fairly strict and limiting requirements. The thing I like about painting is that I can do whatever I want to, and don't have to worry about someone saying "Oh, I like this bit but could you change that, make that bigger, redo this" etc.
The other thing I enjoy doing is playing guitar. I play in a local hard rock/metal covers band, but really enjoy jamming alone in my room till the early hours. I've been through a few musical styles in my twenty years of playing, but in my old age I've slowly drifted towards the blues.
Last question, what is your aim for the next few years? Do you want to focus on painting full time and have more exposure or you want to keep this steady growth?
I would love to be able to paint full time, but my main goal is to just keep painting. A lot of people look back on a year and measure its success by how much money they made, or how far they were promoted at work. I like looking back and seeing the paintings I've done. I managed four paintings this year, which is a lot for me. I don't like them all, but I figure that I have to try different things in order to find out what works for me and what doesn't.
Thanks for your interest in my paintings!
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