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Meet visual artist Andie Kiley


We're excited to bring you the first in a series of interviews with our signature artists, a group that showcases the excellence and uniqueness of the art being made at Interact.

Gallery staff Laura Wertheim Joseph and Brittany Kieler recently asked Andie Kiley about the creative process behind her abstract paintings, known for their playful interactions of color and form. 

Andie's work is available here.

LWJ: Tell us about your practice of listening to music on the radio while you wait for the paint to dry. 
AK: I think I just work better with 102.1, I tried it the other way, but I think I work better with 102.1. Nothing against 102.9, I don’t know why, but I just prefer 102.1 for some reason.

BK: Is that what you’re listening to while you’re working, or while you’re waiting?
AK: Both.
LWJ: Does rhythm inform the process, or is it background noise?
AK: I do know I work better with it. Not that I’d use the word noise, I’d probably turn it to 101.3 or something like that [if I wanted noise].
BK: Is there a sense of movement in the work? 
AK: There is movement in it, some days more than others.
BK: Is there movement in the physical process? 
AK: Yep, I think so.
BK: How do you move across a page? How do you decide where to start?
AK: I don’t really give that any thought, I just draw...first I let my gestures or whatever do the drawing, and then I go on the colors. Maybe once in a blue moon I add a fifth color, but I mainly stay with 4 colors.

BK: How do you choose the colors?
AK: I wish I knew the answer to that question, but whatever it is, I like it. 
BK: Tell me about your habit of making a lists of colors to be used in a painting.
AK: When I get done using them, I cross them off, so I don’t get mixed up in what I’m doing. But I just write down the colors I feel, same thing with the forms in the paintings. I just draw what I would.
BK: How do you decide if something’s not satisfying to you? 
AK: Sometimes I look at it and think, “Why did I do this, why did I do that?” And then there are times, like, this spot right there that’s a mistake. [pointing to a more saturated area of a painting]
BK: This darker spot of green is a mistake to you?
AK: Uh huh. And so is that. [pointing to more saturated area of purple stripe]
BK: Why would those be mistakes, in your mind?
AK: My mind tells me. I wish I was better at explaining things.
BK: It sounds like your process is intuitive and you go with your instincts, and that makes a lot of sense as an artist. I think we all as artists have our own priorities, and it’s interesting to hear what your priorities are for the work. I feel like, as a result of this idea of not wanting the paint to build up a ton, you get this sort of translucence that’s really vibrant and that’s really exciting. They’re so bright. It looks like there’s light coming through it, almost like stained glass. [sifting through paintings]
AK: Oooo! [looking at paintings]
I forgot about that. [turns over a painting to look at the back] 
Yep, I actually did that. I like this one.
BK: You don’t tend to title these, but you do put the date. Do you ever affiliate words with the work?
AK: At those times I found nothing to write. I’m not sure what to call them, I just leave them there, and I’m just gonna let the people do the naming.
BK: I feel like everybody as a viewer is gonna bring their own experiences to an artwork. There’s something kind of exciting about leaving it open to people to interpret it as they will.
AK: Uh huh.
BK: There are a couple of shapes that I see over and over, like a bean or a crescent --
AK: Or a fish. I don’t know how I do it, I just draw.
BK: Just go with it?
AK: Uh huh.
BK: That makes me think about how there’s a certain process that you use, and it kind of gets repeated. For example, your process of using the list. There’s a lot of repetition in that. And then, using that same idea everyday, going to the list, using the same colors. Do you feel like the process is exciting to you in and of itself? It’s almost like going to the gym or something, you go and you put in some time, and you do the thing, and it’s like a physical action...
AK: Maybe...I don’t know.
BK: Well I don’t want to put words in your mouth.
AK: You didn’t do that.
LWJ: One of the questions we have that is specific to this mural proposal is what kind of emotion the work evokes for you?
AK: Happiness...I mean, I do get on myself, you know, when I do things I don’t mean to do. Like that, that, that, that, that, that... [points to dark areas from earlier] 
BK: But overall, it sounds like, if you’re going to sum up your experience of making the work, it’s happiness?
AK: Uh huh.
BK: That sounds really satisfying.
AK: It is, it is. I mean, there are those days I do feel lazy, it’s hard to...I have to fight myself on those days. I’d rather stay in bed at times, and I get up to come here.

I enjoy my work, you know. But sometimes when I can have a cup of coffee, that helps. With my hazelnut creamer, preferably. That also helps me wake up.
LWJ: Can I ask you about your experience in the Performing Arts department here?
AK: Yea, that’s how I started off.
LWJ: What was that like?
AK: Work, work, work, now, now, now.
Now, do this, now, do it, now, ten times. You know. Not that I wouldn’t do it...
BK: It does seem like Visual Arts would give you a chance to experience time a different way. It seems like time is a big part of your work. Because you’re waiting...
AK: For it to dry.
BK: Do you feel like that is a frustrating part of the process, or is it a chance to slow down and think about the work in a new way?
AK: It works both ways. Sometimes when I’m waiting I have to fight off the urge to continue: “You should stop now, before this turns into mud.”
BK: So that kind of answers my question, I was wondering if theater influences your visual art. But it sounds like moving into visual art was a chance for you to slow down?
AK: Uh huh. Maybe at times I do think about it and miss it. I had one hit song, "Andie’s Wedding," in a play. Madame Josette’s Take No Prisoners, I believe it was.
It’s a funny song, I start out telling the truth: “On July 31, 1999, I married my love, Stephen John Kiley.” I don’t know what comes after that, I can't think of it now. If I think of it again, I’ll try to look you up...
“Before we get a chance to go on our honeymoon, Stephen John Kiley died. August 6, 2001. This one’s for you, Stevie.” Something like that. The song was funny, but the story was true.
BK: Earlier in the studio, you were singing a song to yourself while you were waiting for the paint to dry...
AK: "Dry, dry, dry"...that one?
BK: Yep, maybe you could do it again?

AK: Dry, dry, dry. Dry, dry, dry. [to the tune of The Beatles’ "All You Need Is Love"]
Dry, dry, dry. Da-da da-da-da
All you need to do is dry [snapping fingers]
All you need to do is dry
All you need to do is dry, dry
Dry is all you need.

I changed the words from "All You Need is Love." I hope the Beatles won’t kill me for that.

BK: I think they would be honored that you reinterpreted it for your work. I mean, they should be.