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ARTIST SERIES 002

Andrü Sisson

 

Andrü Sisson is an artist working and living between Los Angeles and New York. Creating bold and graphic works, Sisson is influenced by identity, Africa, heritage, politics and music through gestural lines, brush strokes and considered materials. Sisson’s work presents a sense of depth through minimal markings and narrative. Making ‘a lot from a little’ through his emotive works, Sisson develops something that can be linked to his youth spent growing up in the American South West. Growing up in Glendale in rural Arizona, Sisson was surrounded by a creative family whilst having a wealth of under developed space to rein with his friends, this idea of isolation can also be felt throughout his work. His work has been included in the Silverlake Conservatory of Music Benefit Gala alongside Damien Hirst, Dennis Hopper and Richard Prince. He is collected internationally, from Los Angeles to London. He lives and works between Los Angeles and New York

Travelling to Alaska in 2015, Sisson worked in construction whilst simultaneously painting in a temporary studio. Here he experienced a strong sense of affiliation working with found materials due to a lack of local resources; he began working on scraps from the jobs, re-purposing them with a new meaning. An innovative approach to materials is juxtaposed against fine oils and paints for a raw, textural approach to his unmounted canvases and textiles, allowing his work an elevated sense of energy and innovation and the notion of contrived and rigid expectations.


We spoke to Andrü Sisson as one of our featured artists from our 2017 Artist Series:


 
 

LN-CC: HOW HAS YOUR UPBRINGING IN RURAL ARIZONA HAD AN EFFECT ON YOUR CREATIVITY?

 
 

Andrü Sisson: My upbringing in rural Arizona had a tremendous effect on my creative spirit. When I was growing up it was completely under-developed and we had free reign on the land. Our household was an incubator for imagination; on top of that my mother was a painter so everything seemed to be intellectualised. I took it for granted looking back, but even the hard times helped to shaped me.

 
 

WHAT DO YOU FIRST REMEMBER EXPRESSING YOUR ART??

 
 

A.S: My first initial art form would have to be language. Learning to communicate (which is a thing I'm still trying to master).

 
 

HOW DO YOU TRANSLATE YOUR PERSONAL NARRATIVE THROUGHOUT YOUR WORK?

 
 

A.S: My personal narrative is translated by my colour palette, the aggressive yet expressive strokes and mainly the content.

 
 

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH MUSIC AND SOUND WITHIN YOUR WORK, HOW DO YOU HOPE TO CONTINUE DEVELOPING THIS?

 
 

A.S: Music is a huge part of my overall identity; composition, tempo, rhythm are all things that I gravitate towards daily. I have this vision of continuing to work with composers, from different walks of life. I want people to experience my shows and the soundscapes attached to them, the same way they experience a heartfelt motion picture. The only way to insure this is to continue to work with musicians and composers I admire.



Untitled Andrü Sisson

 
 

HOW DO YOU LIKE TO WORK, WHAT IS YOUR STUDIO LIKE?

 
 

I love blasting music quite load when I work. Mainly jazz and my studio is usually a mess. I always have things scattered on the floor. You walk in and there's the scent of wet oil paint, combined with a faint linger of palo santo, a few open books and journals.

 
 

TELL US ABOUT THE MATERIALS YOU WORK WITH, FROM FINE LINENS TO RE-PURPOSED BROWN PAPER BAGS AND RECONTEXTUALISING LOW TO HIGH GRADE, HOW DO YOU PLAY WITH THE EXPECTATION OF ‘FINE ART’?

 
 

I gravitate towards unorthodox materials. The paper bag canvasses began because I couldn't afford linen but really wanted to put together a solid body of work. I also work with woven aluminium, which is a construction material. I worked construction for two and a half months in Alaska, two summers ago, and basically only painted on materials that were left over from the jobs. And lastly I work with Belgian linen because it's so beautiful. So my materials have quite the spectrum. From an artist stand point, I believe fine art is relative. I say relative because we're creating from a pure place as artists. The collectors, and critics have more of an expectation or notion of what "fine art" is. The only thing that I expect from my work or practice is longevity and vision. It truly takes vision to build.

 
 

WHAT OTHER ARTITS DO YOU FEEL ALIGNED WITH CURRENTLY? WHO DO YOU ADMIRE?

 
 

In terms of alignment and admiration, I'd like to say number one my mother. Outside of her there's a Hefty list. Nina Simone, Maya Angelou, Helen Frankenthaler, Lauryn Hill, James Baldwin, Henry Taylor, Thelonious Monk, Dev Hynes, Michael Hafftka and all the creatives out there creating. My friends have a huge influence on me, because we look to each other for guidance.

 
 

HOW DO YOU COMPARE LOS ANGELES AND NEW YORK CREATIVELY?

 
 

In LA I feel like a particle suspended in zero gravity. New York has an infinity of iconic creators. It's hard to romanticise their life, while living and working there. So it's hard to compare, both places fulfil me in completely different ways.



EZE Andrü Sisson

 
 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SUBJECT MATTER TO SOMEONE NEW TO YOUR WORK?

 
 

My Subject is Africa, America and Me. In terms of Africa, I depict the history I've read and believe to be true; the queens, kings, craftsman's, shamans. But my work also examines the notion of what it feels like to be from an oppressed culture in the United States. I mean, I'm American but in America I am "African American” so my work has to also explore what it feels like to be viewed as an alien in a place you call home. That's the identity element.

 
 

HOW DO YOU NAVIGATE BEING A FINE ARTIST IN AN EVER EVOLVING DIGITAL WORLD?

 
 

The only way to navigate as a fine artist is to create work you believe in. The climate has always been difficult for the painter/artist. We are the "others". My belief is if I stay true to myself, at least I'll be able to sleep at night and wake in the morning with a heroic sentiment.

 
 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT? WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU?

 
 

At the moment I am working on two shows. One due in the first quarter which will consist of works made on paper. And another due in the fourth quarter which will consist of paintings and a sculpture. I am also writing lots of poetry. I recently lost a journal I had been working on for 5 months in a cab. But I'm getting a new one this week. So I'm really looking forward to the writings.

 

CHUKWU Andrü Sisson