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PEOPLEText: Garry Waller

Andrew Sutherland is a self-taught artist, living and working in Brooklyn, New York. I saw Andrew’s work for the first time in a small gallery on the lower east side about a year ago and liked his bold, highly graphic approach and also the way he examines the use of unconventional materials to fabricate his art. For this article I was looking forward to meeting Andrew at his Brooklyn studio to find out more about his work and see how he goes about creating it. However, the day I was supposed to see Andrew the New York subway ground to a halt and the Subway’s workers promptly walked out on strike for three days – great! So instead, I emailed Andrew with a bunch of questions which along with the pictures hopefully paint a descriptive picture of him and his work.

Andrew Sutherland, Untitled (Inlay Box), 2005, Corrugated cardboard, 22″ x 18″

What’s your background? Did you study art or come from some other discipline?

I studied some art in school, but I mostly consider myself to be a “self-taught” artist. In third grade my father bought me “How to Draw the Marvel Way”, a tutorial drawing book by Stan Lee, this book had a huge impact on me. I focused a lot on shading and drawing 3-d forms. Also, my father was a DIY carpenter type, but a very creative one, he seemed more like an artist to me. I would often work with him renovating houses and various projects, learning many things along the way. Soon I learned how to apply those skills to my own projects, like building skateboard ramps and forts. Years later I’m still drawing from those experiences in making the artwork I’m involved with now.

Andrew Sutherland, Untitled (Inlay Box), 2005, Corrugated cardboard, 22″ x 18″

How would you describe your current work and where do your ideas stem from?

I’m going in two directions at once with my new work. In one direction I’m working with past ideas and techniques, combining and blending them together to create something entirely new. I think this work will be looser and visually busier than anything I’ve ever done. The other direction is more a continuation of my past approach, where I work with one concept, and the final product is more minimal in nature.

Andrew Sutherland, Untitled, 2005, Plywood, adhesive, 6.5″ x 6.25″ x 3.25″

Can you explain a bit about the common thread that ties all of your work together (color, shapes, materials etc)?

The common thread is my selection and use of materials. I use materials that I think are visually and/or conceptually interesting, and that I can somehow modify in an interesting way. With cardboard I peel select areas of the top layer away to make it look like wood grain. More recently I’ve been working with an inlay technique to create the image of an open box. I like the way these pieces say something about the material. It’s like unlocking a hidden dimension within them.

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