To change things up a bit, I've decided to interview a fellow artist whose work blew my mind.
Cue applause for...
ANDIE LUCIA BUSTILLOS
Tell me a little bit about yourself. What inspires you as an artist?
My family and my being from Oahu, Hawaii have primed me for becoming an artist. My dad paints, and my mom takes photographs. In fact, my mom gave me a polaroid camera when I was really young, when I couldn’t even comprehend how cameras worked. I grew up with the very romantic idea of the photographer as an adventurous explorer—an incredibly appealing lifestyle.
Photography felt natural to me. I was a visual learner and struggled immensely with reading until the sixth grade, and taking photos was comforting. My dad also painted some of my mom’s photographs. In a sense, he showed me that combining photography and painting was possible.
In your artwork, you incorporate paint into photography in a manner I've never seen before. Do you consider yourself to be a photographer? A painter?
I would consider myself a photographer. I’m working towards a degree in fine art photography, so my background is rooted here. For some reason, I feel a bit cheesy to say I’m a painter? I do use photography in unexpected ways with paint, but I have one style of painting. I also sometimes photograph with the intent of social documentation, so I work in a wider range when I have a camera.
During a critique, Andie presented her work with magnets to avoid damaging the work.
Why did you choose to incorporate painting into photography? How did the combination first happen?
Before this, I was photographing people near bodies of water and using photography as a tool for social documentation. I kept my photography and painting separate, focusing on photography projects and painting on the side. In the end, I couldn’t bear neglecting one or the other. I wanted to work on something new, something I felt excited about. It was difficult conceptually and aesthetically to work out how the two intersected, and some days I still struggle. Frankly, these works are only the beginning. I began these works about 5 months ago, so everything is still fresh.
When I first saw your work, I thought you had photoshopped the lines onto a photograph. Is it important for the viewer to know that you painstakingly painted each line onto a large photograph? What does painting the lines do for you?
I don’t think it’s incredibly important for the viewer to know I hand painted the lines. When I write or talk about my work I always state that everything is hand painted, but whether or not it matters is up to the viewer. Personally, I get into a meditative state when painting. I have ADHD and have a huge problem sitting still—doing the small, detail-oriented movements that my line work requires is the only way I can sit still. It’s incredibly relaxing.
Your artwork, especially the one with the chair and painted lines, creates a psychological narrative. It makes me feel as if someone once sat in the chair, and the lines are visual residue of what's left behind. What was your intention?
I like that “visual residue.” I’m going to use that.
Yes, this was my intention. I wanted to leave an apparition or manifestation of human energy within the photographs. I use the photograph to ground the painting to some type of objective reality. On its own, the line work is my impression of movement.
Finally, whose artwork inspires you, and what draws you to this artist's work?
That’s a hard one, I love so many artists… Here are a few artists whose works are new to me.
I’m attracted to the fine detail within each of their work.
And a few artists that I have always loved are Yayoi-Kusuma, Bridget Riley, and David Hilliard.
You can find more of Andie's work at www.andiebustillos.com.