In anticipation of tomorrow's (Thursday, May 24th, 2018) print release, we sat down with artist Andy Kehoe to ask him a few questions about things such as: his time at art school, nostalgic memories, the woes and joys of creating and much more:
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvani. I moved around and lived in a few different places, New York City, Philadelphia and Portland, to name a few. I moved back to Pittsburgh in 2010 and have been here since. You always come back to Pittsburgh.
What are your first artistic memories?
Many of my earliest memories involve doodling and drawing with Ben, my twin brother. We drew a lot of monsters and got into drawing comics when we got a bit older. I still get super nostalgic when I see or smell a box of crayons. Not tasting though, I never understood the eating of crayons. Maybe it’s the texture?
What are your thoughts on your time at Parsons?
Parsons was my third art school, which was great because I was a bit older and it was at a time in my life where I was way more focused and determined. My teachers taught and guided me as a student and as a general human being. They also introduced me to art and artists that inspired me and helped move me in new directions. One teacher in particular, Jordan Isisp, introduced me to the exhibiting art world and helped get me involved with my first shows. Until I came to Parsons, and New York City as a whole, I never realized artists could show this type of work in a gallery. The “Beautiful Losers” wave of artists were coming into the scene and it was a pretty magical time. It was an energetic and inspiring time to be in New York City.
Could you tell us a bit about your release with us, "Enter the Deep Hour?"
Sure. This is essentially an alien magic hour when the sun is just setting and another large planet is rising in the sky. Though the setting in the piece is imagined, it recalls similar moments for me back here in our Earth reality. The surrounding area awash in warm light while the cool night air starts to move in and brings with it new sounds and new smells. As if Earth is rotating us into a new reality of night and this twilight time is the threshold we have to cross. It’s a meaningful time for me and pieces like this allow me to perpetuate that feeling.
Do each of your paintings exist in the same universe or are they each their own entities?
Both? I see the world I paint as a confluence where multiple universes converge and interact with each other. Some creatures are able to travel between the universes and some are stuck between two worlds. There is also a spirit realm that coexists with the living reality. Basically there are some layers to it all.
What's a normal day like in the studio for you?
I usually wake up around 10:00 and head to the kitchen to start some (decaf) coffee. While the water is boiling, I give our dog and 3 cats some treats and listen to The Daily podcast. I look over emails and plan my day while I enjoy my coffee and from there it really varies day to day. My days usually don’t start with painting. This line of work comes with a lot of administrative duties so I try to get that out of the way early. Some days are solely dedicated to running my print shop or updating the website. But when I get a good stretch of time, I’ll turn on an audio book and paint for as long as I can.
Your process is quite laborious, could you tell us a bit about it?
I’m actually in the process of lessening or discontinuing my resin work all together. In part, as you noticed, it is so laborious and complicated. Life and work are inherently complicated enough without having to juggle all of the layers, leveling, dry time, and dust control. It takes up so much of my life. It can definitely be overwhelming at times. That being said, I do love what I can make with resin and I’m pretty certain I’ll still make them on occasion. For now, I just want to refocus on painting and simplify my work (and life) a bit.
What's the hardest part of creating? And the most rewarding?
I find the hardest part to be the beginning stage of planning my first pieces for a show. During that time, my studio is usually empty of work as it was recently shipped and in a gallery or at home with a buyer. I have nothing but a group of blank white panels staring back at me, filling me anxiety and trepidation every time I stare back at them. Getting into the right creative mindset for this stage can be pretty hard with all of life’s distractions, and honestly, with all of the self-doubt: ‘Can I make another successful show?’ ‘Am I just a fraud that somehow lucked out and accidentally made a decent body of work?’ I am more self-assured about my work after all these years, but Imposter Syndrome is still an ongoing burden for a lot a creatives, myself included. Well, I hope it’s just not me. Thankfully, once I get going and the pieces start to come together, the fear eases up and the creative energy flows naturally.
Finishing a piece is an amazing reward unto itself and each piece feels like a tiny miracle. Seeing something that was in my head come to life in a painting will never stop being gratifying. Most rewarding of all is when that work gets out into the world and people let me know how they connect to it. I have my personal reasons for making each piece but when others can relate and inject their own life experiences and emotions into the image, it brings me a greater connection to the world. I hope others feel the same way.
What is one film everyone should see?
Oof. That’s an impossible question for me. How about I list every movie that I’ve watched at least 15 times. You can consider them recommended:
There Will Be Blood
In the Mood for Love
Thin Red Line
Mad Max: Fury Road
Fantastic Mr. Fox
"Enter the Deep Hour" is a 20" x 24" edition of 50 and will be released tomorrow - Thursday, May 24th, 2018 at 1PM PST.