Artist Interview: Jeffrey Andrade Hemming

Jeff grew up in Northern California, and moved to Hawaii in ’96 after graduating high school. With a background in painting oceanic themes as a youngster, moving to Hawaii really helped to enhance Jeff’s work. Instead of looking at magazine clippings (pre-Internet), he was getting first hand experience with waves, light and color. After living on the North Shore for a while, Jeff starting getting some work into small shows and his paintings began sell. This process always takes time, but for Jeff, he is always more concerned with doing good, quality work. He has stuck to his guns and rather than just pump out half-way decent painting clutter the North Shore, Jeff buckled down and has continued doing what he really cares about…quality work with meaning.

Was there a defining moment in life when you decided you were going to become a professional artist? How did you first get introduced to painting

I had just earned my BFA degree and was still working at a pizza place holding a sign on Kam Hwy that said wacky Wednesday. That wasn’t really a defining moment, but I knew there had to be a more fulfilling lifestyle out there somewhere. I was living at rocky point at the time and felt I needed to simply my life to have more time for painting. I made less money but decided I could also spend less too, and I started painting in high school in NorCal.

What mediums do you focus on? And what is your process for creating?

I mainly use oil paint. Always have. I’ve tried other mediums but I continually come back to oil. The process for creating the work comes from gleaning thousands of photos some from the web, and most that I take. I select about 4-5 images I would like to use and find ways to construct and organize them on canvas. I try to use images somehow related to the surf world, it might not be a pic of Indo from the channel, but part of the airport terminal in El Salvador. The process if very reactive. After a few hours of work the entire painting may take a turn, and require an entire different set of source images.

You say your art is about thoughts of the future combined with memories of the past. How do you put those two ideas together in your art? What is the result for you when those two ideas collide?

I worked construction for a number of years and would always trip out on how fast things can be destroyed and built. There is something beautiful about running a sawsall through a perfectly good wall, and something terribly sad about any new development. I’m terribly sensitive to places and how they look and feel at different times, how they change and why they change. I remember when the Hook was a dirt parking lot with no showers, Today it’s all styled out with $1 pizza on certain days a stones throw away. In some cases its not good or bad, I just find it interesting how places change, but the waves hopefully can remain the same.

It seems as though your some of your art is part surf, part industrial (for my lack of a better description). What is the idea behind those pieces? What are you trying to show?

I do want an industrial blue collar feel to them. The work essentially is about balance. How we balance the positive things in our lives with the negatives. It’s about living in a less than perfect world, but finding a level of acceptance. The experience of surfing provides something positive we take with us back on land. Hopefully if people look long enough at the work, they can get to the point where they ask themselves where they stand in the state of things. I also like including surf imagery away from the waves, board racks, shaping rooms, shaping tools, random fins, that makes the process pretty fun.

Color seems to play a large role in your paintings. How would you describe the role of color in your art?

I love working with color, I just bought this blue oil paint online, its called Schevenigen Blue. Its like Haapiti channel blue. I select specific colors at the beginning of a painting. If I want the painting to be warmer and inviting I’ll use Vermillion and Siennas. If I want part of the painting to be colder I’ll use Pthalos. Part of the paintings are specifically mapped out and other parts get random splashed of color. I do like to push different color schemes together that might not normally be used in the same painting. Some colors get muddied up, and some I keep as intense as possible. Instead of mixing colors like I used to do, I try and buy specific hues, they stay more intense that way.

Spending time between the mainland and Hawaii, do you find yourself doing more art in one place then the other? Is there more inspiration in one place over the other for you?

I take things from both places. There are things on the mainland you cant find in the islands. Hawaii taught me how to paint. Everywhere you turn on the North Shore could be worthy of a painting. There are so many colors in the water and in the mountains, then the sun sets and everything goes crazy. So awesome. Hopefully by next year my wife and I can settle down back in Hawaii someplace. I feel very blessed for being able to live there.

For more of Jeff’s work, check out www.jeffreyandrade.com

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