Artist Q&A with Andrew Hockenberry
Andrew began painting in 2002, after moving to Denver, Colorado. A self taught artist, he learned to build frames and stretch canvas, an important part of his process. He manipulates and repurposes traditional and alternative materials to create balance in his abstract paintings. While working from his subconscious, every mark is deliberate and applied to the rhythm of music. Having moved to New York City to pursue his art professionally, Andrew continues to explore the boundaries of materials and marks.
Who is your favorite artist of all time?
I don’t think it is an artist as much of a genre, the style of the regalia of the Native American People. Growing up participating in a Native American community, I was influenced by the color patterns, attention to detail, bead and feather work and the authentic use of everything including porcupine quill. It all comes together to make something beautiful.
How did you become a professional artist?
I don’t really see myself as a professional artist versus other artists that might be signed to galleries with professional management. Everything that I do is made in house, all my advertisements, promotion, shows, everything is done by the artist for the artist for the past 19 years. I feel it’s just been a part of me being an abstract artist, it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle.
I see myself as an artist that’s prolific but original starting from building my own frames stretching canvas, teaching myself how to do that, and experimenting with
colors to create authentic artwork in my own style. I spend a lot of time educating myself by looking at art whenever the opportunity presents itself at openings, museums, pop up art shows and galleries. I’m living in New York as a sacrifice to be able to do that, to build a participation and develop relationships to get my work seen.
What are the influences and inspirations in your work?
When I work in my studio, I’m not thinking about any other artist but painting with my own brush. Music is what I consider the connecting factor of all of my art. I listen to music while I make my art work. The key element to my paintings is that there is no subject matter, it is feelings, rhythm and balance, emotions on canvas from the marks that I make that is not representative of a specific object but music on canvas. I paint in a style that I consider subconscious abstract which leads me to no mistakes. It’s as simple as paint on surface, surface being anything that holds, paint, paint being anything to make an impression on surface.
How is your work different than everything else out there?
I don’t strive to be different from anybody out there. My style is strictly abstract expressionist, it’s paint on surface, it’s a living expression of my own feelings, my day to day thoughts emulated into a script of paint and colors. Every piece of my work is different because of how I approach the canvas with no subject matter at hand. I’m not trying to paint a painting, I’m trying to perfect the application of paint. I’m not trying to abstract something, I just produce abstract work.
When is a piece finished for you?
When I run out of paint. I look to achieve balance of flow and color in my paintings.
What’s different about your current body of work?
I’ve included figure drawing in which I am breaking down the human figure using my abstract style. This is a new process for me having an object form and having a timed setting to create.
Tell us about a few of your career highlights or moments that have greatly affected your career?
Any time I can put my art in front of the public it’s a highlight. It’s an achievement to have a thought put on canvas and shared with the public, a thought from the artist to the people. A particular highlight was painting my 9’ x 50’ mural on the exterior wall of Potager, a farm to table restaurant in Denver, CO in the summer of 2009. Every four years or so I return to repair any damage and consider it a gift to the community. Having the opportunity to put my work in the public for such a long period of time and receiving written reviews with comparisons to Monet has been a highlight.
What’s coming up for you?
Two years ago I participated in an artist residency in the Italian Alps. While I was there I thought what would I do if I was able to teach a residency here? During COVID-19, the summer of 2020, I proposed to the residency center that I could teach “Abstract In Nature”, an eight day course that will take people out of the studios and into the Italian Alps to create artwork, being influenced by nature. I will be leading this residency through August, September, and into October. As it’s the third year this center is running residencies, I feel very much respected as an artist to be allowed to come into their space and run a program that’s brand new and to create an environment where there will be learning from other artists coming together and creating.
What advice would you give to an artist just starting out today?
Look at great art, read about other artists that you like, appreciate what you do, understand that everyone has failures and they only make you stronger.
Who are some of your favorite under appreciated artists that you don’t think get enough attention?
Loving the work of the Native American people, I’m going to reflect on a collection of
genres thought of as craft that don’t get as much attention including ceramics, glassblowing, works on paper, the fine attention to detail of artworks that take years
and years of practice.
To learn more about Andrew and his work, please visit www.hockenberrystudio.com,