A man with too many titles to preface his name, Andy Howellâ€”we will call him an artist for the sake of our featureâ€”takes Format through three of his recent personal pieces.
Titan Of Industry, Stage 1 (Color AP), 2006
Acrylic, Colored Films, Wood Base die cut for Flourescent Lighting
60â€ x 60â€ x 60â€
Photos courtesy of Colin Stark Photography and ARTSPROJEKT International, Ltd.
AH: Titan: ‘A history of the cultural dichotomy between organic abstraction and synthetic geometry in the lost social tribes of tomorrow’ How we regress over time from organic abstraction to synthetic geometry, in cultural understanding, social interaction, and self image. Basically we continue to evolve through a definitive series of regressive steps. We started as beautifully ornate organic abstractions filled with creativity and complexity, expressed though organically changing creative mood patterns. Our direction was unified, and we were all moving forward and working together as part of a whole being. Through religion, social institutions and technology we gave ourselves the illusion of progression through complexity. We added dimension to our personalities, we multitasked ourselves into splintered version 9.0, and our actual depth decreased. We could do more, but we continued to dilute our quality in order to produce more content.
Thus, the multiplicity of each person, his possible yield from a purely marketable product perspective, increased exponentially, while the value of each dimension of us as individuals decreased. We became complex configurations of one dimensional shards of personality, beautifully decorated monotone shells of our former selves. Empty input producing massive throughput without any significant output. We positioned ourselves on a grid of predictability, in order that there be no new topics of conversation, just pre-processed blocks of gray jibberish that could easily be regurgitated in between meetings.
‘How are you?’ became an empty redundancy that could only be answered with the exact same phrase in same tone of voice. There was no answer, no exchange of feeling, just verbal filler that gave the illusion of interaction. And over time that emptiness became enough for us all. Any meaningful content in our lives was provided by media. The grid of this new plastic society locked each one in place, and though media addiction we medicated on others’ dreams and tragedies, while we let go of our ability to share our own emotions. Our connectedness was replaced by connectivity, we cleared the hard disks of our spirit to make room for RAM. A chosen few disconnected from the network, and we became known as ‘The Lost Social Tribes of Tomorrow.’
Walking Among The Normals, 2006
Acrylic, Colored Films, Wood Base die cut for Flourescent Lighting
Photos courtesy of ARTSPROJEKT International, Ltd
AH: Walking Among The Normals
Through the spiky concrete jungle I move in human form, watching the world collide with my sphere as an outsider. I feel the words, see the emptiness, and imagine between the lines. In my hooded sweatshirt, my image, my protection, I look through the spiritual holes into the empty shells. I see smiles and nods from the other hoods, who think I am one of them.
Iâ€™m living in the zone of the in-betweens.
I spend hours floating in the pop culture seas of noise and murmur, hearing only the occasional piece of knowledge dropped in my direction. I love them and hate them, and have long since given up trying to understand why. I have my gifts and my challenges, and that is my journey. I move silently now, dropping tiny hints in chalk on the floor, seeing the three dimensional grid of probability laid bare before me. This is my land of dreams. I am Sparticus. I am the fool. I am the leper.
I am so fucking cool.
Inspired to connect I reach out through image, lyric, thought, sound, to allow the like-minded ones to find my string phone in the abyss. I raise my thumb and pinky finger to my ear in the shaka pose and mouth the words in classic Hollywood style, â€˜Call me.â€™ I am not speaking to anyone, though I am looking through everyone. Finally someone reaches out of the noise grabs a can and speaks into it, â€œIs that you? Iâ€™ve been waiting for you to show up. Where you been?â€
Flight, Dec 2007
Acrylic, Enamel, Ink on Concrete Wall
Created during Art Basel 2007
Sponsored by the Spinello Gallery and private benefactors
Curated by BOOkSIIII
Photos courtesy of ARTSPROJEKT International Ltd, and Meadura (link Meadura Art Basel link
AH: I call this piece Flight, but I have no idea what Kent Parker and David Choe would call it. Kent and I got there early and decided to freestyle it, Choe was showing up a couple days later. I came with an entire sketch of some trumped up scene I was gong to make, but when I got there and saw this expanse of white wall with all these wires coming out of it, I decided to go the chance image route instead. I started seeing the big pipe coming out of the wall as part of some futuristic urban jellyfish, partially organic, partially synthetic, floating to the top of the wall to escape the noise of the city. So I did some sketches on a pylon with acrylic and started putting a story together in my mind. Gathered at the top of a building, huddled together in fear, a group of these jellyfish were trying to take flight to escape the city. I filled in all these silhouettes of buildings and started with the synthetic jellyfish people all the way to left side. Since I was there first I wanted to start a story and leave some of the wall for those guys.
As per normal I started filling every space, and pretty soon had constructed this entire city with these floating characters covered with different colors and markings to represent their personalities or places in this futuristic society. I highlighted the original one and integrated the pipe and wires into that character. It was a bit scary at times because all of those wires were live and around 18â€™ off the ground. Getting in around the pipe and wires with aerosol was a challenge, but hey, anything goes when I have a vision of something. I escaped intact, didnâ€™t get fried, and all is well. Some wires went to the tops of buildings, some to the ground, it ended up giving the piece an anchor in reality and integration into its surroundings.
Kent added these very iconic symbols which I thought of as acid rain, a huge boombox, and some rainbows from my really muted backgrounds which were cool. Then Choe came in a bombed the whole spot, which looked sick. Since all of us had painted together before, there were no egos, or rules. I was happy with the outcome, and because the wall was adjacent to the Spinello and faced the Art Miami tents, it worked out well for impact and press. Miami is really very hot though.