Interview by Sean Cully
Five Questions for Artist Andrew K. Currey:
I have heard you speak about how vulnerability is a key element in your work. How every defence, every piece of armor has a weak point; it has holes, gaps and seams. Does that theme relate to your choice to use graphite, a material that easily smudges and can be erased?
In a way, yes. You have to be delicate with graphite. I make sure to not go back, too often, over areas that were just worked. When you think of graphite as just dust on a surface, it makes it more ephemeral. And, when I draw, I wear cotton gloves to decrease accidental smudging. But the graphite, in its essence, is technically a metal. I think the real symbol of vulnerability comes from the surface it’s on: the paper. Coating the paper in the metallic dust of the graphite, and also the thin metal sheeting of the gold leaf adds a level of symbolic irony. While the graphite is a thin layer of protecting the thing that is vulnerable (the paper), the addition of gold adds symbolic significance -- making the act of being vulnerable become sacred.
Does being an artist and the methods and thought processes you use to make art translate to other parts of your life?
Yes. But also vice versa -- methods from my life influence how I make art. On a technical aspect, there is a level of control that I desire in my drawings. Being diabetic, a big part of my younger life was about control. Controlling my blood sugar levels, controlling how much I ate, how much insulin I took. This is easy to see in my work. No line, or mark, or symbol is placed without complete understanding of why it is there.
The videos you’ve posted of you working in the studio really highlight the amount of time and labor you put into these drawings. Would you please talk about the role of patience versus persistence in your work and artistic practice?
My drawings take time, weeks if not months. The piece “The Special” took me a little over 6 months to finish. And, I am sorry to say, I am only able to work on one piece at a time. I struggle working on multiple pieces at once, but this allows me to put all of myself into each piece. I document my process because I enjoy watching how other artists make their work. I'm a visual learner, and if watching me make my work can help other artists make theirs, then I am all for it. Posting videos of me making my work pulls back that veil of what happens behind the studio door.
Do you have a specific audience in mind when you are making these pieces?
I try not to think too much about that too much. I try to just make work that I enjoy. Find what moves me visually, but allows me to discover new things the deeper I choose to dive into the work. There is a hope that when you make work that showcases the way you think of things, interpret things, that there are people who understand the language you are using. People who have an appreciation for gallows humor, poetic ironies, and laughing at your own insecurities and understanding these are all important elements to our personal growth. Those are the kinds of people these works are meant for.
If time, money and expertise were not factors what piece of art would you make?
I had an idea of commissioning porcelain sculptors to sculpt several pieces of armor, shields, and helms from different regions around the world and ornating them with fine blue floral patterns. An entire armory made of delicate floral china. The best part about this would be if any of the pieces would break, that might fully complete the piece. Or at the very least, tie in for a great use of kintsugi and highlight that delicate vulnerability with gold.
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