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Meet Andrea Kaspryk

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrea Kaspryk.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Shy and introverted as a child, I turned to art and kept at it through high school. However I set art aside in college, because I decided to focus on writing and my studies and ended up teaching writing on a college level. I decided to return to art as my passion for writing and academia decreased. Drawing and painting for me were less cerebral than writing, and also I could exercise and explore my creativity in art. As a writer, I mostly wrote academic papers and essays and did not feel good or know how or want to write fiction. I also made a decision to leave academia, so I would have more regular and predictable work, which would not consume me like teaching would, and I would have energy to pursue my art practice.

Please tell us about your art.
I paint, draw and make relief prints. Mostly I paint in oil on canvas. There are two categories of these paintings: portrait and figure study paintings based on a model posing and original creative works based on my imagination (with occasional photo references used). The portrait and figure paintings that I make in a weekly class at Lill St Art Center contribute to improving my rendering of the figure in my imaginative work and refine and practice my use of color, and value. My original oil paintings are called narrative paintings in the art world, because they tell a story. Mostly this is my story, but I also strive to make this story open-ended so it can be anyone’s story. Sometimes I’m not sure just what story I am presenting in my painting. I start with a sketch, and in some cases I stick fairly close to this sketch in my painting, but in some cases, I don’t, the sketch changes in the painting process when I feel compelled to allow the creative process to take over and move my work in unexpected directions. My purpose in my paintings is to provoke reflection and emotions in my viewers, and if these are powerful, influential, or just pleasing and entertaining — I feel I’ve done a good job.

Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
Video and film have become the most widespread and appealing forms of visual art, along with photography and graphic art. So the challenge for painters is to make their work somehow appealing and/or relevant to their viewers in this situation. This is not entirely a bad thing, for the advent of photography compelled painting to become abstract and explore all sorts of experiments with distortion, exaggeration, subject matter, materials in different directions and styles we call Impressionism, Symbolism, Expressionism, and Surrealism. As in the past, some visual artists, whether painters, photographers, filmmakers, feel compelled or are effective at making a social-political statement, others less so. Events and issues in the world do affect my art, but in a subtle and indirect way. I’m wary of making direct political and social commentary through my art and subsume it to that purpose, but if happens, great!

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
People can see my work at Agitator Cooperative Gallery, 1112 N Ashland Ave. I’m an artist-curator member of this small storefront gallery. I also participate in group shows throughout the year, notably in the annual winter bike art show and in AnySquared shows at Cole’s Bar. People can support my work by coming to my openings and giving me informative and constructive feedback. If they really like my artwork, they could even buy it or commission me to make some work.

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