Visual Artist Spotlight: Andrew Wagner at AURA 2014 (Interview)
“My art is a vessel to this world between worlds. It is not a portrayal, but rather a vehicle allowing one to experience the escape of this reality, harness their inner spirits, and morph into one persona after another. The subject matter invokes certain characteristics, allowing the viewer to read the meta-data encoded within the electric designs and better understand the mysteries that lie beyond normal perception. The more that one travels through this arcane knowledge, the more the ego is dissolved. The lesser the ego, the greater the connection to the zeitgeist of the collective consciousness. Once we can traverse the shadows of the ethereal realms, we can recreate ourselves into new manifestations, and walk again in the light.”
– Andrew Wagner
Our recent interview with visual artist Andrew Wagner has us excited about AURA Music & Art Festival 2014. Wagner has painted at past AURAs and hypes up the feeling and positivity of being in a large crowd of people. He says he enjoys painting at the smaller festivals, ones like AURA, because it is a community vibe and artists are welcomed. At festivals like AURA it is a group effort, and he enjoys this part of being a visual artist.
Sensible Reason: What inspired you to develop your artistic expression?
Andrew Wagner: I was diagnosed with amblyopia (or lazy eye) as a child. I spent years doing therapy with red and green 3D glasses and a red pen, which forced my left eye to work. I started doodling and loved it….
SR: Did you receive any formal instruction?
Andrew: By the time I was a senior in high school, I was taking 5 independent studies focusing on art. I then went to SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design), but I was kicked out my senior year.
SR: Do any other artists or classical artists influence your work? (Have you been influenced by any classical artists?)
Andrew: I took multiple art history classes, and while I have definitely been influenced by classical artists, I have definitely taken a lot of my recent influences from digital artists, to name a few: Justin Totemical, Simon Haiduk, and Geoglyphiks.
SR: What medium do you work in the most? What medium do you prefer the most?
Andrew: I work almost exclusively in acrylics on wood. I build my own boards and frames. I put eight layers of gesso on it and build up layers with crumpled paper (sponging) and tape (stenciling).
SR: How do you view the role of technology in the advancement of personal expression?
Andrew: I’m not a technophile. I hate computers…. I haven’t had internet in months and don’t plan on getting it anytime soon. I grew up in rural Ohio and like doing things with my hands. I’ve taken digital art classes but I don’t have the patience for working on a computer. I’d much rather figure out how to do it manually.
SR: Have you had any shows or exhibitions lately?
Andrew: So far I’ve only done exhibitions at music festivals. I work with Vision Lab, and art directed and exhibited at both Gratifly and Rootwire last year. I also exhibited independently at Aura, Purple Hatters, Summercamp, the Big What?, Mantrabash, and 3 Days of Light.
SR: What has been your greatest accomplishment as a visual artist thus far?
Andrew: Painting along side artists such as Amanda Sage, Michael Divine, Chris Dyer and Randal Roberts at Rootwire.
SR: What can we hope to see from you in the future?
Andrew: I’ve decided that this year I will be doing only a few festivals and focusing more on studio work. I plan on doing larger paintings and spending more time on each piece.
SR: As an artist at the forefront of the visionary art movement, how do you view your role as an agent of social change?
Andrew: I don’t agree with the term visionary art. I think my art is more psychedelic than visionary. I believe in science, and disagree with having all these new age beliefs shoved down my throat just because they are trendy. I’m not trying to change the world with my paintings. If someone takes something visionary from my art, that’s cool, but it is not something I’m pushing. I think a lot of the artists use sacred geometry as a crutch just because it’s cool. They know that by putting a flower of life in the painting that someone will buy it.
SR: What did it take to get you to the level of artistry you are at now?
Andrew: Years of practice, and working hard.
SR: Will you be painting live during the music at AURA Music Festival? If so, tell more about what painting live with people and music and things around you.
Andrew: I love painting live. You get this feedback loop from the energy of the band feeding the energy of the artist, feeding the energy of the audience, and back and forth, and so on, and so on.
Andrew: Take some classes. There are adult education classes and open workshops. As much natural talent as you may have, there is always something that someone can teach you. Also, keep doing what makes you happy.