Andrew Weir is a passionate painter based in Germany who has exhibited his work all over the world, including in Japan, Australia, Netherlands and the UK. Having also lived in these vastly different places, he has a keen interest in the emotional experience of moving between cultures, and explores it in his dynamic works. Weir investigates symbols, language and other communicative systems in his composition of layered, bright paintings full of energy and impact. We sat down with Andrew Weir to ask about his current projects, inspiration, and the start of his artistic career.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
From a young age I enjoyed drawing / painting. I decided to go to Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen. Throughout my degree I couldn’t decide exactly what I wanted to do so my focus was split between painting and graphic design. In many ways my artwork today is still my attempt to find a balance between painting and graphic processes.
Even though painting wasn’t my career until 2016, it was always an important part of my life. When my wife and I left Japan for Europe, I decided to allow myself a year to paint to ‘see what would happen’. It is now the summer of 2021 and I’m thoroughly enjoying waiting to see what else will happen.
Can you talk about your artistic influences and other artists you are most inspired by?
A pivotal influence that began in Art School and continues to this day would be my somewhat serendipitous introduction to Wabi-sabi – when researching the life and work of Antoni Tàpies. I discovered that he was inspired by Okakura Kakuzo’s The Book of Tea. To make a long story short, I bought this book which started me on the road to learn more about the philosophy of Wabi-sabi which in part, involved me living for over 10 years in Japan.
Do you prefer to work alone or collaborate with others?
When painting, I definitely prefer to be alone. I find the presence of other people a distraction and will often struggle to be productive if someone else is in my studio. I like to have music playing loudly, talk to myself a lot (often criticizing what I’m doing). I’m sure there are other embarrassing idiosyncrasies that are part of my practice which I would prefer others not to see.
That being said, I am thoroughly enjoying my remote collaboration project, Extraordinary Ladder, with my friend Tommy Perman (we studied together at Gray’s) who is based in Scotland. I guess the key word is remote collaboration. Ha!
Can you tell us about a project you’re currently working on?
Extraordinary Ladder. I approached Tommy Perman with a whisky-fueled idea at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 that he should Remix or Destroy my paintings digitally. To my surprise he was up for the challenge. However, we soon decided that we should make completely new work together rather than my initial suggestion.
We have developed various digital and analogue techniques, including a Random Image Generator, created our own 30+ character alphabet, projected photos of artworks onto flowers which were then re-photographed, made music from our images and images from music , used satellite views of locations connected to our lives as compositional containers, to name but a few.
We have utilized these techniques to create an exciting body of work that includes Limited Edition Prints, Magazine covers, billboard posters, and one-of-a-kind hand finished digital prints and paintings. Two of these unique artworks are now available on my SINGULART profile. I look forward to what will come next as we have a number of ideas that we are currently working on.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t an artist?
Before I moved back to Europe in the spring of 2016 I enjoyed teaching English as a Foreign Language at universities in Japan for 10 years, so maybe that…as long as I could sketch on my commute by train.
Have you found any other artists on SINGULART whose work you admire?
Yes, I really like Chuck Hipsher’s paintings.
What advice could you give to young artists starting out?
The creative process is often mythologized into something far greater than it actually is. It is just hard labor. If you aren’t in the studio painting, your artwork won’t improve. There are a lot of different ways people explain their process. If I’m in the studio and I prepare myself, generally things get done or I learn something by trying. It’s by no means easy. Yes, you will have periods where you aren’t happy with your artwork and doubt all that you do, it is then that you really need to put the hours in.