Featured Artist Q&A:
Creating Within the Lines
Andy Cunningham’s bold, geometric abstract pieces are a sight to be seen. Exploring and celebrating the basic principles of art — color, form, line, and space — his catalog of drawings and paintings are one part expressive, two parts mysterious. Like his work, the Big Apple native’s life is just as rich. When he’s not cooped up in the studio, Andy is helping others create, working as a middle and high school art teacher and helping veterans cope with PTSD at Mather Veterans Hospital.
Learn more about our June featured artist below:
1. Describe your art in five words or less.
Whimsical. Colorful. Fun.
2. You have been teaching middle and high school drawing classes for the past eight years. How do your students inspire you and your artwork? How does this differ from your experience in working with the Mather Veterans Hospital’s Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit’s Drawing with Veterans program?
My students inspire me by keeping my investigations honest. This differs a bit from drawing with the Mather Veterans because, there that’s all there is, honesty. They both allow for a space where people can draw freely.
Still on the studio wall. 4ft x 5 ft.
3. You pride yourself in working hard and “sticking to your guns.” What are some of the cardinal rules that you follow?
I try to stick to an all-work time in my studio. One rule is, fewer ingredients, but multiple flavors. Another is, don’t stress over a day lost chasing butterflies. But if you catch that butterfly, be awestruck by its beauty.
4. You are a native of New York City. What attracted you to Sacramento and what has kept you in our city?
Sacramento was attractive to my wife and me when we had our first of three children and were looking to get out of the Bay Area. Ultimately the thing that has kept us in Sacramento has been the ease of the city, young families, and the work.
5. This month you have a solo show at the Davis Arts Center. Describe the process of creating the pieces for this show. What stories do you want to tell with this exhibition?
This solo show in Davis fell in my lap and I was very happy because I had been working for about a year on a large piece with 100 ten inch round paintings and was nearing completion when I was offered this show.
As for the story I want to tell, these pieces are not narrative paintings. If there is a story it might be something like “spontaneously follow inclinations.”
The Stars don’t go away just because the Sun is out. 10in. May 15, 2015
6. Lastly, what does the rest of 2015 have in store for you, both personally and professionally?
Last week I sent three large round paintings — two are five feet in diameter and another piece that’s six feet in diameter — to Cheshire, Connecticut where a friend is part of a team that is turning a giant defunct button-making factory into the town art center. He has been working on this for years and I’m honored to have been chosen to participate in the inaugural show that opens June 13th, the day after my show in Davis. I’ve never imagined having two shows on two different coasts in two days!
With that in mind, I’m looking forward to a fun summer, some art making, and family time.
Keep up with Andy:
To see Andy at work, click here.
Interview by Sacramento365’s Content & Social Media Coordinator, Jamila B. Khan.