Southern Makers 2016: Maker Profile
LEAN is proud to be a media sponsor for the 2016 Southern Makers in Montgomery and thrilled to share the stories behind some of the event’s Makers.
Here’s the first in our series of Maker Q&A sessions: Andrew G. Lee. This Auburn-based artist and designer shared a bit of background and let us in on what inspires his work.
When did you start painting?
AGL: Ever since my parents put a crayon in my hand at age 3, I’ve been drawing and painting for leisure and recreational fun or for gifts when I wanted to give something more meaningful. Only until recently have I sold or actually begun to display my art at various shows.
Why do you draw and paint?
AGL: I paint because I get pleasure from creating handmade things. Using my actual hands and body to create something that does have a human touch to it is something I cherish and am really self-conscious about in the same breath. Being able to challenge myself artistically and the process of shaping a piece of art to a “final” piece is where I learn about the subject matter, how I push my own limits, how I let go of my perfectionism to complete a piece. Most often, I become a student when I paint. I learn about the backstories. I learn about the way light hits and reflects an object. I learn about the way the materials and medium I’m using will behave –literally. Sometimes, I work on something just to see what the paper and ink and watercolor will do if I step outside my comfort zone. And in the end, a work of art is an extension of the artist in a very personal way. Plus, getting the opportunity to focus and push out all the distractions of life can be calming. I love it when I get into the zone, and I’m in the flow of a piece of art. And I love when a customer is be pleased (or downright overjoyed) with a piece of my work. It’s nice to produce something that people care about and love. In the end, I see this as an opportunity to utilize what God has given me.
What inspires you and your work?
AGL: I’m trying to capture and memorialize the Southern way of life. That includes a lot of sporting art and outdoor living subject matter. For me, it’s a way of learning the details in God’s creation. I have to study the little things in order to capture the beauty in what I set out to paint. I enjoy cultivating relationships of the clients that commission paintings. I love the stories and connections that a client has with their subject matter and that inspires me.
What is your favorite subject/topic to paint?
AGL: I tend to gravitate towards subject matter as if it were a series. Almost in periods of time or seasons or chapters in a book. It’s a hard question to answer because I go in stages. For example , when I’m in Louisiana, I’m inspired to take photos to capture subject matter there. Anything from redfish to brown pelicans to oysters to gators. Then the next day, I’ll be inspired to capture Alabama pines or hand-tied fly fishing flies. It’s not about what I like to paint the most, it’s more that I’m most fulfilled painting when I’m sitting down to recreate experiences and memories. I like creating works of art that evoke a response.