Meet the Artist: Aandra Aabdock
by Leo Juvier
I met Aandra Aabdock at the Art Students League of New York while she was working on one of her latest pieces. I was instantly drawn to her serene smile. A few weeks later we met at her Yorkville apartment for an afternoon of storytelling and art.
One of the things that draws me most to Aandra’s work is how deeply personal and revealing her artwork becomes, the more she told me the stories that shaped each of her pieces. The following interview provides a snapshot into the life and work of this wonderful artist.
L: Who has influenced your work?
A: The galleries and museums of New York have opened my eyes and continue to be a source for new influences. They have shown me that artists have permission to do things differently without the boundaries that would otherwise exist. For example, it’s fine to have seven bodies with 18 legs or an extra hand, a blue face. Viewing art has given me permission. Famous artists that bowled me over when I first saw their works on a wall include Max Ernst, Pierre Bonnard, Florine Stettheimer, and Balthus. I bought books with reproductions so I could revisit their works again and again.
L: Tell me a little bit about your working process.
A: Something bubbles to the surface. It might be bathed in distress. The percolation is necessary to get an idea to flesh out. My next step is to sketch the idea over and over until it suits me. This is always the beginning. I have to try things out. I can’t sit around terrified of being incorrect or inappropriate.
I come to the studio whether I want to be there or not, and if I’m enjoying what I’m working on or not. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Unfortunately I’m not naturally disciplined and have had to develop this quality like a muscle. Fortunately I enjoy being in the studio and this makes the discipline much more pleasant.
L: What direction do you think your work is heading in the future?
A: I’m very satisfied and fulfilled by the work I’ve done in the past several months. I think it’s the direction I’ll be on for a long time to come.
Developing a narrative that still leaves space for the enigmatic is a fine balancing act. As I become stronger in that area it’ll give my art more accessibility. My work will always be content driven. The images will continue to be flat and simple. I will continue telling my stories.
L: Thank you for sharing, Aandra.