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Originally from Pennsylvania, Andrea took a detour lasting several years through Texas, Indiana, and Colorado before arriving in New Jersey in 1999 to focus on “color” – a combination of artwork and a career in the cosmetics and fragrance industries. She moved to Bloomfield, NJ and began learning makeup formulation during the day, while taking painting classes in the evening. Though she is primarily a self-taught artist, she studied with Master Pastelist, Alex Piccirillo, for several years at Montclair Art Museum and Fairlawn Art Association, focusing on Representational Painting of Human Figure in charcoal and pastel.
Andrea describes her work as concentrating on visual relationships of layered geometric and organic forms – overlapped outlines of found objects or handmade stencils. “I “re-purpose” a lot, especially junkmail heading for the garbage gets an extra use! Using a mix of acrylics and artist spray paints, I experiment with textures, raw edges and smooth airbrush effects, adding highlights and outlines in pastel and charcoal. Opposites are key in my work in color and composition. Along with beauty or vibrant colors there are also melancholy, haunting qualities -- and always black and white.” The resulting canvases have been described as “acknowledging the past and reaching for the future” – a blend of fine and street art techniques.
Andrea has received several commissions for portraits in pastel and abstracts in mixed media and has participated in solo and group art exhibits in PA, NJ and NYC. An artist who truly understands her artistic media, Andrea holds a BS and an MS in Chemistry from Albright College and Texas A & M University, respectively. She’s been a repeat guest writer for a NYC-based art website and was co-owner of a Hudson County-based pop-up art gallery. She currently lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.
For me, painting has been a necessary outlet - a way to look at things creatively and differently. I don’t recall an “ah-ha” moment of inspiration or a conscientious effort to want to pick up a crayon or a paintbrush, it just happened… like breathing.
Learning about Picasso, Dali, and Escher when I was young showed me different styles artists used to express themselves, and these three definitely stood out in my mind. Many years later, taking figure drawing classes with Master Pastelist Alex Piccirillo and developing a better eye for matching colors in highlights and shadows was a major step. I’ve found inspiration through classic sculptures at the Uffizi to graffiti in the city. Living in NYC metro area definitely was part of the plan.
I’ve never seen science and art as really being separate stages. The more I learn about chemistry directly influences how I view my paints (acrylic, charcoal, spray-paint). In the same way, when working on a new painting it’s many times an experiment on canvas, mixing media in different ways… layering in a different order, not waiting for paint to dry… impatience and curiosity can lead to surprising results!
Daily living… commuting to work on the subway. Dreaming, travel, philosophy, people I’ve met, poetry.
“Autobiographical preoccupation” can range from reflecting on vivid memories as a teenager and having an older sister with mental disabilities … to my vegan lifestyle and current concerns about the environment and technology. I’ve used these as concepts for paintings, and I’m currently focused on a series called “Flesh Amphibians” -- my personal viewpoint on a “man vs. nature” theme.
Choosing objects used to be more of an organic process. Toss some paint on canvas and see what it leads to. In the past few years it’s become more deliberate, where I have an idea, a question, or a theme I want to explore and then sketch books are also involved.
The last series I worked on “Sense of Self” was based on “selfies” very different from the typical smiling posts seen on Facebook. Using a cell-camera and working on self-portraits were way outside my comfort zone, but lead to work I’m really happy with.
Not so much. Pennsylvania is where I grew up and I was always sketching. My first instructed painting class was during my last year in college. The moves to different states were more of a diversion from my artwork until I came to New Jersey. I think about the different landscapes a lot – from the breathtaking Rockies to seeing my first tornado north of Houston. At some point I’m sure these will show up on canvas.
I moved to the NYC metro area determined to start a career in cosmetic chemistry. I’ve been an avid ingredient label reader forever and loved the idea of wearing a lab coat mixing lipstick shades! Working in an industry (from cosmetics to fragrance) where art and science mix has given me more opportunities to work with creative people and be influenced at both lab and studio.