On arrival to London, Andrew did not speak for several years and remained silent. Now much of his work involves story telling and performance incorporating both written and spoken language. Andrew weaves, sews, threads, constructs, hammers and screws materials together, merging with and becoming part of the work whilst simultaneously singing and telling a story. Andrew is an artist at Action Space; an organisation based in London with the key aim of supporting the creative and professional development of artists with learning disabilities. Below Andrew and his Artist Facilitator at Action Space, Lisa Brown, have answered a few questions about his work to celebrate him being July's Artist of the Month.
When and how did your interest in art develop?
Andrew: “‹At school I liked doing art.”‹
What influences your art?
“‹Andrew: Singing makes me “‹think of good art. I want people to enjoy themselves looking at my work.
What process do you go through when you are creating a piece (starting with the initial idea)?
“‹Lisa: Andrew's work “‹is constructional, using his tacit knowledge of materials, and links back to his family who are tailors, shoe makers. He wants to sew.
Which artists, if any, have you drawn inspiration from?
Andrew: “‹I like stories, making your own stories.
Lisa: He likes to go to galleries and look at other artists' work, no specific ones though.”‹
Do you have a favourite piece? If so, which one and why?
Andrew: “‹I make lots of work. I make them larger and I like them bigger. I like making baby pieces and wooden ones with a hammer. Then I tie them all together.”‹
What do you hope the viewer gets from your work?
Andrew: “‹I want them to be very pleased. I want them to sing and dance. They can feel the materials. I want them to read my books.”‹
What has been the highlight of your artistic career?
Andrew: “‹I love making my work and I like to exhibit my work. This is good. I like lots of people come to see my work and talk about it. It makes me feel very proud to see people come and see my work. It makes me very happy. Please call them to come.
Has being a part of Outside In been beneficial for you? If so, how?
Andrew: “‹Everybody comes to see my work to talk about it. Important for all to see.”‹
What is next for you as an artist?
Andrew: “‹I am making a big long new book and I am very happy.”‹
Do you create craft pieces like Andrew?
We are currently looking for artists who create craft-based work to submit their art for possible inclusion in our national exhibition taking place next year. The term 'craft' covers a huge variety of things including: ceramics, furniture, glass, jewellery, leather, mechanical objects, metalwork, mixed media, textiles and forms of making linked to folk traditions. Materials used can include fabric, metal, clay, wood, paper, mixed media, found and recycled materials. Craft can be used to describe work that focuses on materials, processes and the handmade; or perhaps work that unites technical skill and imagination resulting in a physical object. We would welcome submissions from anyone who considers their work to be a form of craft. The deadline for submissions is 5pm, Friday 30 October 2015. Please click here for more information.