1. Welcome Andrew to the Influx Gallery family. Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you are from?
I am a Digital Artist, Photoshop and Lightroom Tutor, and I do Photo Compositing and Retouching in Los Angeles, California. I am from upstate New York and have lived in Brooklyn and New York city, London for 6 months back in the late 80s/early 90s, then San Francisco and now Los Angeles for the last 15 years or so.
2. Was your family supportive of you deciding to become an artist?
My father was a manager of a construction company and wasn’t the most creative focused, yet he dabbled in Photography. My mother on the other hand is a great artist and craftsperson and was always supportive of me being an artist even from a young age. My mother even had me take private lessons with an oil painter as a child. And when I wanted to go to art college she was all for it. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t have her wonderful support. Both of my sisters are also artists and their creativity has inspired me as well.
3. Was there anything specific that you can remember that made you want to become an artist?
Having 2 brothers and 3 sisters meant my siblings were always busy with sports or art classes growing up.
I became very introverted from a young age and seemed to be always creating or daydreaming. Dedication to art since I was young made it natural for me to want to go to art college and then pursue various creative focused jobs throughout my life.
4. Did your schooling or work affect your creative development in any way?
I went to art college in Boston, MA and was a Fine Art major with a focus on Painting, Drawing and Printmaking. Not only was taking art history classes mandatory but I truly loved studying about so many artists. I then worked for some fine artists in New York and also worked hanging shows in galleries.
After taking computer graphics at School of Visual Arts in NY and falling in love with Photoshop I built up my portfolio and with the help of creative temp agencies got my foot in the door of some advertising agencies to do photo compositing and retouching work. I believe every creative endeavor from the act of creating itself, to studying artists, to doing Photoshop work, have all helped my creative development, and honed my eye for design and composition.
5. When did you first discover Photography?
Ever since I was young I have loved fine art and Photography. Then when I started doing Photoshop work for advertising agencies I was on the editing side of Photography. I have taken certain patches of time to do a lot of Photography and like to take photographs for the various elements for my Digital Art.
6. When did you first discover the wonders of Photoshop?
Realizing that working for artists and galleries is not as romantic as it sounds and being frustrated with doing illustration work I took computer graphics courses at School of Visual Arts in NY in the early 90s and fell in love with Photoshop - even if Photoshop was in Black and White and I was using a tiny Mac Classic computer with a maximum RAM of only 4 MB! Ha! Ha! From the beginning I imagined the evolution of Photoshop and could see the potential of computers as a medium for creating.
7. Where do you get your inspirations and influences from?
In art college I fell in love with the German Expressionists as they were prolific printmakers, and of course the Surrealists. Surrealism seems to be the most imaginative kind of expression. Another big influence on me is music. I love ambient music and try to emulate the other worldly feeling I get from ambient music when creating my visual art.
8. You are a huge presence in the Photoshop and Photography teaching world. Could you tell us about your Photography and Photoshop groups on social media, and also a little bit about your YouTube channel?
I am the head Admin and organizer for 4 groups on Facebook: Photoshop and Lightroom Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/PhotoshopLightroomgroup, Digital Art Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/thedigitalartgroup, Photoshop and Photography Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/PhotoshopandPhotographygroup, and the Strange and Surreal Art Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/strangesurrealart.
Each group has a different focus and vibe which keeps my involvement and interest in the groups.
My Digital Art Drew channel on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/DigitalArtDrew focuses on a mix of Photoshop Tutorials, slideshows of my Digital Art, and years of Photoshop and Photography and Adobe focused live events with many greats in the Photoshop and Photography industry. I have come to know many people in the Adobe world by being an Adobe User Group manager since 2008.
9. You have discovered and curated some outstanding talent over the years via your social media outlets. Does curating this talent give you satisfaction?
I have been choosing whose work to feature as the cover banner for my various groups for more than 11 years now and I have also been sending out a Photoshop and Photography Newsletter weekly or Monthly for several years where I feature an artist or photographer’s work. I love to feature the work of people that I think do great work and are sincere. I am surprised more people don’t showcase others work more. There is some amazing creativity and talent on this planet!
10. Do you have any tips for an aspiring Photographer or Digital Artist who are picking up a camera, or using Photoshop for the first time?
If you love taking photos or creating art go all in. Dedicate to it daily. If you can’t create daily then at least be studying the process or the work of others you admire. I believe dedication and perseverance are the most important traits no matter what field you are in. I would say life demands it. Anyone who is successful has made dedication and perseverance a way of life.
11. Your use of color and composition is unique and extremely visually arresting. Is your methodology whilst creating this fantastic art part of a conscious or unconscious process?
I do try to “get into the zone”. I love the feeling that my art is creating itself through me. I can sense when I am not tuned in and then as a result that work is usually not my best. I may consciously have an idea before I begin and gather visual elements but when I create I like to lose myself.
12. Thanks a lot for your time and interest. You can include any other details you want to talk about here.
Please follow my Digital Art Drew YouTube channel for Digital Art, Photoshop Tutorials, and cool Photoshop and Photography and Adobe focused Live events! https://www.youtube.com/DigitalArtDrew
And consider following my art on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/digitalartistdrew