Andrew Baines – Featured Artist


Andrew Baines: Featured Artist

Photographer, Painter, Film Producer, Writer, Art Activist

Home: Grange, South Australia


Twitter: @andrewsurreal

Andrew was willing to answer some questions for September’s Featured Artist Interview.  My first experience with Andrew was almost two years ago when I stumbled across the most amazing photo.

Symphony by the sea

My own guitar is rarely exposed to the elements and I wondered what magician was able to get this crew into the waves with string instruments.  Who was he?  Some gentle stalking of his twitter feed introduced me to his intriguing photographs and surreal paintings.  His art work delighted me as much as his painting skills amazed.  If you have not yet learned of this artist, I hope this short interview helps you seek out his work (note website and twitter account above).

What were your first memories of doing art or having an interest in art?

When I was in kindergarten, my bemused teacher contacted my mother to show her an aerial perspective drawing I had produced showing the area where I lived, featuring my home in relation to the kindergarten.

When I was in primary school, aged about 8, I would sell sketches of old farm houses to my teachers.

So as a kindergartner, you were already showing signs that you could look at the word in a different way. What kinds of things spark your inspiration?

I like searching through second hand book shops, for thought provocative imagery. I like to walk along a quiet beach or drive into the country side and just observe the landscape and the tiny events that occur. In contrast, I like to sit in cafes in the city and watch the chaos of life.

 Some artists take classes, some have mentors, while others are self-taught.  In what ways did you learn your present skills?

I left school at 17, and gained a job in a retail store as an artist doing backdrops etc. There was a well known impressionist painter working there, he taught me all the basics. At the same time, I began a part time four year degree in art, at the South Australia School of Art. I didn’t enjoy the atmosphere or some of the personalities; I stuck it out for 2 years before dropping out.

You have become well known for your range of art, part installation, part photography, part painting.  I thought it was very clever to have a “potty protest” down by the water’s edge to show the community’s concern with the lack of public bathrooms.

potty protest

I wanted to know more about how it came to be. 

The Huffington Post covered “The Coalition of the Constipated.”  Here’s a link below.

Huffington Post

Have you done other large installations?

A couple of years ago, I collaborated with Holstein Australia to put a herd of cows in the ocean for a photo shoot and to be the inspiration for new paintings.

They sent out word to several dairy farmers in country Victoria, Australia to introduce their cows to water via their local dams, in preparation for my event to be held in a country seaside place called Geelong.

A month later, 3 truckloads of cows arrived at the Geelong car park in the early hours to be detailed: white part of cow’s coat painted whiter, black blacker. These were their top show cows and they wanted them to be seen in their best light!  The cows were lead into the ocean by suited handlers to tie in with my surreal theme. The cows loved the sea and stood happily for about 20 minutes.

line of cows

I love the cross section of mediums used to create this type of art (I call it a Surreal installation) Coming up with the surreal concept on paper, then taking it off the paper and giving it life! I enjoy the obscure logistics; I find it quite funny what has to be done to bring one of my crazy ideas to fruition. I also find it satisfying cutting through red tape to make it happen, as it’s a challenge! I love marketing my concept to entice the media, the photography, then finally the painting. I enjoy collaborating with enthusiastic people!

The event was covered by the media and ended up on USA Today!

As a thank you, I donated several prints to be auctioned off to raise money for Holstein Australia.

cow pose

I love how you use the photos, which are brilliant by themselves, to inspire additional paintings.

cows and clouds

floating cows

If you had unlimited funds, what would you do as an artist?

I would buy a light house and turn it in to a studio. I like to be by water! Also, I enjoy being introspective and am happy to work on my own. When I want to see people I would venture out. Also, the sea is a metaphor for life, it’s ever changing moods would enhance the mood of my work.

Thanks for sending this video of a beach spot where you have art and community combined: Joe’s Kiosk

Last question: Do you have any suggestions for those wanting to make a living with art?

You have to be very persistent, always evolving, prepared to put in long hours and passionate!

Thank you, Andrew, for being this month’s featured artist.

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