Andy is currently working on a series of narrative portraits based on people who live in Coventry. The paintings celebrate the heritage, lives and memories of 12 residents from Coventry. Each includes both a portrait element as well as portraying aspects of the person’s life and experience of Coventry. Some have lived all their lives in the city; others came to find sanctuary or employment.
The works will be exhibited as part of Coventry City of Culture 2021 at Broad Street Meeting hall in August and the Arcadia Gallery in September/October, other venues TBA. This project is being supported by Orbit Housing.
Andy is an award-winning artist with a strong interest in mental health (MH) and well-being. His two most recent projects involved telling the stories of people's MH through narrative paintings. In 2018/9 working with the Institute of MH to tell the stories of people recovering from post-traumatic stress. This project, entitled “The Twisted Rose and Other Lives” focussed on narratives and metaphors that show how people can grow and recover as a result of their experiences. The work highlighted both the power of art to connect with an audience, but more importantly how the dialogue leading to a painting can be deeply cathartic. This aspects of Andy’s “narrative portrait” process was explored in an article for the medical humanities website “The Polyphony” and was a strong motivation for a second series of portraits exploring the impact of lockdown on people’s MH – “Portraits of Isolation”
Andy’s focus on MH started during his Masters in 2017. He used this to explore his memories of growing up and the impact of his father’s bipolar condition on his and his family’s life. As he looked back it became clear that the strongest memories were of a feeling, rather than a precise, accurate recollection of place or situation.
Andy became a full-time artist in 2010 after spending the first part of his career in marketing and advertising. A serious illness and a damascene moment on the commute to London lead him to embark on a new direction. He received the first of his three Arts Council Grants for a project in 2014/5 working with schools to develop art around the WW1 Centenary.
He now has a studio in Coventry. He was a winner in the 2018 Ashurst Emerging Artist competition and is a member of ArtCan a non-profit arts organisation.