"Nobody likes arrogance. In or out of studio. I often talk about being receptive to the creative process... walking that tightrope between confidence and uncertainty."
- Andrew Salgado
Andrew Salgado’s paintings have evolved greatly in style since first rising to prominence over half a decade ago with his (then) signature large-scale, painterly portraits, where large swathes of colour played across the surface to define his subjects. In his most recent work – the representational has given way to the more abstract: and now such colourful, symbolic, and compositional elements are the driving force of the painted image. While the figures remain a common thread – today Salgado’s subjects are depicted in a fantastical, often ominous tableaux. There are abundant references to the tradition of figurative painting both historic and contemporary: Matisse, Gauguin, and Bacon are all readily recalled; while contemporary greats like Tal R, Daniel Richter, and Peter Doig are also referenced with equal reverie and respect – often like quiet in-jokes for a viewer to catch.
We had the opportunity to meet Andrew at Beers London, where Director Kurt Beers represents and showcases a line of talented artists presenting an exploring diverse thematic, aesthetic, and political concepts, while highlighting an approach to contemporary art that is both progressive and thought-provoking. Well, we are all about that. And Andrew fits the bill. We find his work deep in every sense of the word. It's personal, engaging, and technically beautiful. We asked Andrew a few questions about his work, influences, and some of his favorite places in London. Check out our interview with the visual artist below. We for one can't wait to continue to follow his journey and see what he comes up with next.
Tell us a bit about how your work has evolved over the years?
I would have to say that the most evident change has been that the work's focus has moved from focusing solely on the face, to incorporating the full figure, and narrative-laden scenarios where characters are interacting. Ultimately, I found the 'floating head' paintings began to feel unfulfilling; they began feeling rote and uninspired. I recently spoke with a collector who was like 'paint more faces' - and while I appreciate his invested input in my work, I felt that it was a pretty bold statement. As an artist, I have to follow my instinct and paint what is important to me. Otherwise, I'm a fast-food franchise. Its important to me to listen to my gut. The work has also become cruder, busier, more complex, and more abstract. I'm very much okay with all these changes. Nobody likes a one-trick pony.
Who are some of the artists that have influenced your work?
Classically? Leonardo Davinci. Chavannes. Historically? Bacon, Matisse, Gauguin. Uglow. Contemporarily? Tal R. Daniel Richter. Hernan Bas. Sanya Kantarovsky. Peter Linde Busk. My Peers? Milo Matthieu. Adam Lee. Tuukka Tammissari. Anthony Cudahy. Fabian Treiber. Marion Fink. Martin Daiber. I mean, we can play this game all day, just tell me when to stop.
How important is being vulnerable in the creative process?
Nobody likes arrogance. In or out of studio. I often talk about being receptive to the creative process... walking that tightrope between confidence and uncertainty. You need an absolute kick-ass determination that is tempered with the realization that you are not special and what you are doing is not actually that terribly revolutionary. Like, its all been done before, you're just rearranging the words. I've had the privilege of working alongside both humble artists, and arrogant artists, and let me tell you I much prefer the former.
What are some of the subject matters that you like to touch on with your work?
One constant has been ideas related to the self, to myself, to my autobiography. With this most recent body of work that I'm taking to Untitled Art Fair over Miami Basel, (with Beers London), I tried pulling away from talking about myself. The works are bombastic, a bit silly, and comment on both the fallacy of the art-world and the artifice therein. I'm using the system and its cogs to be critical of that very system. Its all a bit tongue in cheek. My next solo show will open May 15 at Beers London, and is tentatively called In the Springtime we go Dancing. I want to forget the artifice and go intimate and natural, I want to go back to nature, so to speak.
What are your thoughts on the London art scene?
I love London, its thriving. Really the places of importance are still London and New York - those are the heavy hitters, though other cities come and go with relevance or great scenes or important fairs. I feel fortunate to be a part of the figurative painting movement in London, to have contributed in some way. I also soak in that history - the great artists that came here before me.
What was the last thing you saw that really inspired you to create?
I recently saw the Francis Bacon show at the Centre Pompidou...it was just so cathartic and moving to see all those works again together. Its so infrequent to see so many at once. The last time was in...2008 maybe that the Tate Britain did a retrospective, and I was studying as a student next door at Chelsea College of Art. I was recently in Cologne and I wanted to see the Fabian Treiber sho, but the gallery didn't update its Googlemaps address so I went to the wrong location. Bummer.
What is your absolute favorite place to go see art? Apart from the gallery that represents you? :)
yes I'm represented by Beers London and they have such a strong, painting-heavy program. I loved Louisiana Museum outside of Copenhangen. Come to think of it, Copenhagen has some of the best museums in the world. The Glyptotek, and even the ... what is it? The National Gallery next to the lake in the North of the city? They have a really refreshing way of exhibiting work that doesnt adhere to the guidelines everywhere else. I also love Madrid: The Reina Sofia, El Prado, the Thyssen. Just wow. Oh and Florence. I adore Florence. The entire city is a work of art.
If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
I'd be the best painter in the world so that I could be the best painter in the world
If someone had one day in London, what should they eat, drink, and see?
Eat the burnt leeks at Brat Restaurant Shoreditch - or maybe pig out on Chinese at Duck & Rice in Soho. Drink a cappucino while strolling along Regent's Canal - or head to Nightjar for a fancy cocktail. And see a great painting show, there are many. From Beers London alone you can get to Victoria Miro, Parasol Unit, Arcade, Approach, Maureen Paley, Stuart Shave...all within walking distance. Or just head to the Tate Modern.
Three people, dead or alive, you want to invite over for dinner?
Francis Bacon. Kurt Vonnegut. And sorry, but it has to be Tori Amos.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE ANDREW'S WORK:
UNTITLED MIAMI BEACH
ART BASEL WEEK
DEC. 4th - 8th
1 Baldwin St
Images Provided by: Andrew Salgado Studio
For more information about the artist visit:
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