Sunday, June 5, 2011

Andy Cross

My next visit took place over two days at Andy Cross' studio in Bushwick. I can't say that I am unfamiliar with Andy's work or studio, it is even possible that I stop by once a week for a brief chat and update, but it was very rewarding to stay for awhile this time with my pencil and paper. It was almost meditative. Andy has a wonderfully airy space filled with vibrant color and positive energy. And boy does he have a lot of work! From week to week it often seems like whole bodies of work are produced.

Andy lets one group of paintings lead to the next as he moves in and out of different thoughts and ideas. He is constantly experimenting and pushing himself in new directions, which is so refreshing and uninhibited. He travels a lot and the influence of this can be seen quite clearly in his work. His journeys have ranged from camping trips upstate with easel and paint in the back of his van to adventures in Asia with packed canvases in his bag. Images of landscape, mystical figures, people he has met, and animals appear repeatedly in his paintings, all of which are distinctly Andy's.  He also listens to a lot of talk radio. From Democracy Now to This American Life to Krista Tippett on Being. I think this is channeled in his work in all sorts of ways. He is constantly streaming audio information. And when he talks, he intermixes this information with stories he tells of his own life.

When I was there we listened to Amy Goodman's podcast from that morning's show. It was somber news, but, as Andy put it, he is always searching for the truth and Democracy Now is where he can find it.

Andy: I used to think I had to illustrate what I was learning, but now it hits an emotional center that comes out in the mark making, like what kind of brushstroke I make. At times, an overall sadness comes out.
Knowing my secret love for drawing animals, Cross set up a still life of various creatures he had painted.

Andy: Its kind of a throne of a chair, but I don't sit there that much. It is a throne for anyone who sits with me.
Andy's peaceful outlook on life and others around him gave this visit a special kind of artistic healing power. We listened to several different segments he had come across online that spoke of the importance of looking within. We sat and worked on our own in silence as we listened. It was like being in Andy's world for an afternoon. A world that is self reflective and concentrated on creating and understanding.

At the end of the first day of my visit we watched the sunset as we barbecued with artist Erik den Breejen on the roof of their shared studio building. It was Memorial Day and a fantastic sunset. Andy worked on a painting of a Buddhist Monk meditating. What a great way to end that session.

You must go see the show he is in this month, LANY organized by Mario Diaconoi. It opens on the 8th of June at Peter Blum. Here you will be able to see all of what I am talking about. I have witnessed the growth of the four very large paintings that will be on display from the ground up. Let me tell you, they are really something to behold. Also check out more of his work here


  1. Andy is the man! So underappreciated IMO but that's not what's important to this true artist. Love you brother!

  2. I'm a big fan of AC and your drawings!