Andrea, a lady that has graced NYC with a presence as endearing as her art. Over the past few months she has taken on the task of transforming her illustrations into tangible bits of heaven in the form of dainty hand embroidered garments. Now with an online shop up and running, any of her one-of-a-kind pieces can be yours.
With a distinctive artistic style, we were eager to learn more about the budding artist. Somegirls spent the evening gaining insight on her experiences as well as influences — and how these have, and continue to aid in the development of her craft — here is what she had to say…
You made the big move to NY fresh out of art school, describe that transition to us.
I had never seriously thought of New York, nor had I been there when I booked my one way. My final year of school was probably the first time I had really focused on myself, and I felt in the right headspace to make a big move. Most people who knew me at this time thought I was heading out to Northern California after school, but I had a change of heart at the end of April when my cousin suggested I get an internship and sublease a room in his apartment in Crown Heights for the summer. I applied to a few misguided internships and ended up getting one in Pharmaceutical Advertising. Somehow the title “production artist” had caught my eye and somehow I caught there’s, so I moved 10 days after graduation. Not quite the right field for me, but I feel so fortunate so many things – i.e. craigslist roomies, new friendships, a knack for subway directions – panned out for me during that time. It’s been over a year now, and I think I’ve done an alright job of keeping my chin up through it all. I hope to live life at this pace for many more years to come, and mentality is key.
Can you recall the point in your life when you decided to seriously pursue art as a career?
Oh, forever. As a child it was all I wanted to do. I don’t think I ever really questioned it, but in the beginning of college I felt a little pressure to find something I could do alternatively. I studied graphic design for two years in hopes I’d just get a normal office job someday (honestly, I’m still not completely opposed to trying a 9-5 situation) but midway through, I rerouted back to fine art. Being in the arts, it’s the norm to have a few other side hustles – and right now I’m young and okay with that as long as I have ample time and energy to do my art. I just can’t picture myself doing anything else. Sometimes, especially on days where I’m wearing my fringe pants and platforms, I think my third grade self would just die to see me living like this.
What/who are some of the strongest influences that impact your work?
Gosh, in no order: Henrie Matisse, vintage botanical illustration, Grecian & Roman antiquity, Roald Dahl sketches, chiaroscuro, neo-classical and baroque architecture, parallels between different organic forms, fruits, Mexican folk art, Impressionist style coloring. Different mediums carry their own impact, too.
You're a great illustrator & recently you have turned your illustrations into consumer friendly products, what made you expand your artistry?
Thanks again. Though I would rather have recognition for my illustration, embroidery seemed like the most natural way to expand. I taught myself when I was in 5th grade (I found a print out of a daisy-stiched Abercromie Kids skirt in my old embroidery bin as inspiration) and didn’t pick it back up again until I visited home this past May. I did one of my little peaches as practice and just went for it. These were the clothes I always wanted but could never afford as a kid! Embroidery is having a moment, and because that field is sort of overabundant right now, I’m careful not to give into pop novelties as a selling point. I stitch my own drawings or little motifs I think will wear well, but am conscious of keeping my dignity as an illustrator, too. Aside from that, it’s surprisingly therapeutic. Working with a needle is satisfying… maybe I should take up tattooing?
We love looking through your sketchbook. Tell us about your favorite environment to draw in?
Thanks. I often draw from photos I’ve taken, so generally the conception of a sketch takes place lying on my bed, slumber party style. Sometimes I draw on the train, in a park, on my fire escape, or at my inclined drawing table. Even though it usually happens in the comfort of my own room, I still try to bring my sketchbook wherever I go.
Tell us about your struggles in pursuing your career? ... cause we all have them!
I had a lot of self-doubt for many years and wondered if I’d do better doing something more comfortable. Not to say that thought doesn’t creep into my head every so often, but I have more confidence in my ability now than I did. Letting this question marinate for a minute, I realized pretty quickly that a lack of sales or failure to reach a larger audience would never impact my motivation to create, because that has never been my reason or end goal in creating. It can be discouraging, of course, but I enjoy it too much to quit over the struggle in pursuit. My current struggle as an artist in NYC is nothing compared to getting over the hump of self-doubt.
What is your medium of choice?
A super fine .005 Micron pen. Then, now, and always. I was working in acrylic and oil through my schooling, but scaled down when I moved just due to lack of space, so I was using watercolor a lot. Generally it’s me and my pen and sketchbook, and more recently, a needle and thread.
What projects are you currently working on?
In the next few weeks, I’m working with a friend to launch our first zine — which I’m really looking forward to! — but aside from that, I’m always taking embroidery and drawing commissions. My end of year goal is to have a more solidified body of work completed that I hope to show in 2017 (any galleries reading this…?!). I have a thesis in mind that I wish I would have had while in school. I’m producing more work than I ever was then.
What makes you motivated to keep creating?
Creating has felt like my only answer – I can’t think of a time where I felt differently. Though I am living in a city saturated with people that feel the same, I find that in itself motivating! I have been surrounded by so many hardworking, inspiring people here and I hope to always find myself in such company. I feel very close to my work right now. At my place in life, I feel fortunate to have anything at all that keeps me so tightly pulled.