Q)So, can you tell me a little about yourself? Full name, age, some background info, etc?
A)Well, let's see here, my name is Andrew Ek. I was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1975. Encouraged by my mother, I began drawing at an early age, mostly dinosaurs and animals. Then in the autumn of 1982, after my father took his own life, my drawings became a bit darker and I became obsessed with horror movies, literature and comics. This led to my interest in special effects and I enrolled in the Industrial Design Technology program at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh after graduating high school. I learned a little bit of everything from beauty & gore makeup effects to life casts & molds to designing spaceships! Somewhat disappointed in the structure of the classes and recieving news of yet more traumatic family matters, I dropped out of the program and began focusing on developing my oil painting techniques.
Q)How did you get started making art?
A) It was probably my mother who got me started. But, my older brother, Mike, was also drawing these cartoonish human figures with animal heads and I had some close friends who were also pretty creative. I became seriously addicted to painting shortly after art school.
Q) How would you describe your art?
A) Magic realism.
Q)Where do you get the inspiration for your art?
A) Sometimes I use friends as models and photograph them. I'm also a magazine junky. I pour over magazines and certain images inspire me. I drive around a lot and take photos of places. The Hines VA Hospital series was inspired by some horrible contract work I was doing at the hospital over a period of 2 weeks. The building is located here in the Chicago suburbs and is approximately 1/2 mile long and standing at one end and gazing down the hallway, it appeared to be endless, which was intriguing to me. The place was rather deserted, except for random janitors and ghostly nurses pushing gurnees around, vanishing behind mazes of hallways.
Q)What are you working on now?
A) Right now I'm working on a new color cover for a pen & ink horror comic I illustrated 3 years ago called, "the Hand of Glory" -- a 22 page tour de force chronicling the misadventures of 2 witches. I hope to have it re-released sometime this year. I'm also working on a portrait of a mother and child. It's kind of funny to see the 2 paintings next to each other being such contrast in subject matter!
Q)Are there some web sites that you would like to recomend? Artists, art communities, xxx,...!?
Q)What's your favorite medium to work in, and why?
A) Oils. I like the consistency and the fact that they dry very slowly. My original vision for a piece is altered over time as the oils dry.
Q)What advice would you give to younger up and coming artist?
A) Try to keep a positive attitude and be persistent! The art world is quite possibly the most bizarre market ever. They don't teach the business aspect in art school for some reason.
Q)What is your personal definition of life and art and everything else in between?
A) Life should be lived to the fullest because you never know what will happen tomorrow.
Q)Take us inside your process a little bit. How do you begin a piece? What inspires the concept?
A) Hmmm... My process varies a little bit from piece to piece, but generally it begins with an image or a place that strikes me in a profound way. A vision develops in my mind and I try to translate it onto the canvas.
Q)What are your artistic influences?
A) I am a sponge.
Q)How are the reactions on your work in general?
A) People seem to enjoy them and that makes me happy.
Q)What are you doing when you are not creating art?
A) Driving in my car, spending time with friends, dreaming up new ideas.
Q)What are some of the greatest challenges that you think artists face today?
A) There's fierce competition these days so, staying focused, finding enough money for supplies, balancing work and relationships can be difficult. Luckily, slides are being phased out.
Q)What is freedom to you as an artist?
A) The perfect harmony of being able to
paint when and what I want and live off it.
Q)Are there any particular works you've done that stand out as your favorites?
A) "Waiting for the House to Burn Down" is a good one.
Q)Last Books you read?
A) "Towelhead", by Alicia Erian
Q)Last records you bought?
A) "Ghost Plants", by Thuja
Q)Who are your favourite artists & Your favourite galleries?
A) Edward Hopper, Tamara de Lempicka, Pre-Raphaelites, Eric Fischl, to name a few. I'm not sure I have a favourite gallery but, I was in Detroit a couple days ago and saw a great exhibit at CPOP Gallery. In Chicago, Razor's Edge Boutique has some beautiful work!
Q)Which do you think make good art good? originality, or style? And, why?
A) Well, probably a little of both but, I would lean a little more to style. Style is a signature. It's what separates you from the pack.
Q)Do you get emotionally attached to your work and do you miss your work when it is sold?
A) I refer to my paintings as my children and, yes, some I like better than others, but really, it's better if they leave the nest, go out into the world and be productive citizens of Earth! Maybe some of them will make it and be able to support me when I'm old and withered!