Raleigh artist, Andrew Brown, has stumbled upon something many artists covet–his own confident style. He throws some acrylic here, dabbles with some sculpting there, and his loose work becomes something choate that, well, we want to hang in our home, office, “man” cave….
And what about the art museum? Well maybe not yet. According to Andrew, his art is fun and not very demanding and he would like to keep it that way for a while. But the Raleigh public keeps asking for more, so perhaps the humble artist won’t resist the spotlight for too long. At least, we hope not.
Not only is this paint slinger inspiring aesthetic praise, he also donates a portion of his profit to Uhuru Child, a non-profit that creates jobs and provides education for adults and children in impoverished communities. At GTH, we do jumping-jacks for artistic generosity. After we worked up a sweat we decided to interview Andrew Brown.
GTH: Tell us about your method. What inspires your work and what materials do you use?
AB: I used to do a lot of traditional art but eventually aiming for realism stressed me out and I was growing tired of the bad vibe that I’d fine myself in. One night, I hit my breaking point. I decided to have fun, get messy and paint something that reflected more of my personality & to stop overthinking art. I grabbed a tube of acrylic, a palette knife, an Abita beer & attacked a blank canvas. I like where things were going so I kept things loose and decided to bring out some ink.
My style and method was really born when I stopped stressing about painting inside the lines & started accepting the mistakes that occurred during the creative process.
GTH: How long have you considered yourself an “artist’? Would you consider yourself an abstract artist?
AB: I guess you could say that I’ve always been decent at drawing, painting & various forms of art. But I think I lost being “an artist” at some point early on when people let me know that they thought I was good. “Art” became dull and soulless because it wasn’t about an internal expression. I’d have to say that I became an artist a couple years back when I started painting to have fun and with personality.
It never was about selling any of it. It was more about the fact that I spend 40+ hours a week stuffed inside a cubical & art was my form of corporate therapy.
As far as my style goes, I never really spent any time classifying it. However, I’ve heard my style be called a lot of things – Abstract Pop, Street Art, Funky Modern Impressionism. I like that most people aren’t really able to nail it down or classify every piece the same. I know that’s a really artisty thing to say. My apologies.
GTH: Some artists have a difficult time learning how to price their work. Many want to under sell their talent while some price their work beyond marketable value. What has been your experience? Do you have any advice for artists testing the market?
Pricing. That’s a tough one. Especially the first time when somebody asks “how much?” I don’t know if I’ll ever feel good about where the price is. Too cheap and you’re diminishing your talent. Too much and you come across vain.
Here’s how pricing has worked for me – when I started my current style, I didn’t think about if anybody would like it and I never thought for one second about selling anything. I started out painting a lot of nautical marine life just because outside art, I’ve always been into fishing and surfing. I don’t know how word slipped out but a number of people saw some of my pieces and people started asking about how they could purchase my paintings for their beach house. I threw out a cheap price & people acted shocked. I was fine with that because at that point I really didn’t care about making any money and I didn’t want price myself out of anyone’s range.
Two things changed though. One, I started giving a good chunk of my profits to a nonprofit that I work with (Uhuru Child) and so asking for more no longer felt vain because it was rooted in a deeper mission than padding my pockets. The other thing was I discovered that if I took my paintings to print, I could price the originals high and still be able to offer art for the folks that couldn’t fork out a few hundred bucks on a piece of art.
GTH: What are your long-term goals as an artist?
I really don’t know where this train is going. I use to only do nature, but then people started asking for me to paint mascots for their husbands’ mancaves & offices. Painting the mascots did get old because there wasn’t much thought or creativity involved but I had a good run at them and those prints have sold really well so no complaints. My wife forced me to paint some foo-foo flowers not too long ago. I’ve been on a pop art kick lately, so we’ll see how long that runs.
I have a full plate these days – I’m currently in Duke University’s nonprofit management program, I work for a software company, I’m a committee chair for Uhuru Child & I’m trying to keep up with my wife’s honey-do list. Sure, I’d love to have a studio in some sketchy downtown alley one day but as of right now the rest of my life feels slammed packed with long-term goals it’s probably best for me as an artist if I don’t attach any long term goals for my art.
GTH: Are you available for custom orders?
Absolutely. As long as you aren’t requesting a piece that belongs in a French Realism wing of the art museum. We don’t want me to go back to that place artistically.
GTH: How has your artistic talent and your ability to share it with the public influenced your daily life?
There’s a lot of good and bad associated to selling art. The bad: feeling vulnerable to strangers, people trying to copy your art, filing even more taxes, so on & so on. Most of it has been good though – the high that you get the first time a stranger tells you they want to spend their hard-earned money on something you created from scratch, all the new people you meet, the joy of seeing a hot print from an original. It’s also pretty rad that I can throw some acrylic down on canvas, spill some ink, let it all dry, sell it & then pass it on to a cause that I’m passionate about like Uhuru Child. That’s the craziest part to me.
Keep up with Andrew Brown and his artistic innovations at Facebook: AndrewBrownCreations.
Browse his store at Andrew Brown Creations on Etsy.