Art Maker: Andrae Green, painter

  • Andrae Green, right, talks with Jesse Connor, of Leverett, during the opening reception for exhibit, “Backscatter,” at Hope & Feathers Framing and Gallery in Amherst. Behind the two is Green’s painting “The Nine Lives of St. Sebastian.” STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Andrae Green, third from left, shares a laugh with visitors at an artist’s reception for his exhibit, “Backscatter,” at Hope & Feathers Framing and Gallery in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Andrae Green stands beside his painting “Stoning Whales - Either Fish or Cut Bait” during the opening reception for his exhibit, “Backscatter,” at Hope & Feathers Framing and Gallery in Amherst.  STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • “Another Brick in the Wall I,” oil on paper by Andrae Green. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • “Muddy Bride,” oil painting by Andrae Green. Image courtesy Andrae Green

  • “Diva Down - Detritus,” oil painting by Andrae Green. Image courtesy Andrae Green

  • “Stoning Whates – Either Fish or Cut Bait,” oil painting by Andrae Green. Image courtesy Andrae Green

Published: 5/16/2019 4:20:32 PM
Modified: 5/16/2019 4:20:21 PM

Though born in Jamaica, Andrae Green draws a good measure of his artistic inspiration from old masters of Renaissance-era Europe such as Michelangelo and Caravaggio. The Springfield painter, who previously lived in Amherst, works with bold colors and large canvasses — he’s also been involved with some mural projects in Springfield — and his work has been exhibited in several countries, including China and France. Some of his paintings have been displayed at the Louvre in Paris, as part of the historic Salon de Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.  

Green, who has a new exhibit in Amherst, draws on plenty of other influences (when he first took up drawing as a young boy, he was inspired by comic books). Another is Jamaica’s legacy as a one-time British colony that used slave labor. As he notes on his website, “I am interested, in particular, how legacies of Middle Passage and slavery can be re-imagined to fantasize alternate dimensions and multiple story-lines ones that may not be in history books.”

Hampshire Life: Talk about the work you're currently doing. What does it involve, and what are you trying to achieve?

Andrae Green: My current body of work has been deeply influenced by the book "The Divine Comedy" by Dante Alighieri. This work's influence has long held sway over the minds and imagination of western art and culture; I feel that it is one of the cornerstones of understanding western ideology. I have also been diving curiously into quantum theory where my paintings presuppose an event happening and not happening all at once. I know that this sounds crazy, but that's where my head is at right now. 

HL: What do you draw inspiration from? Do you ever have any “Eureka!” moments?

AG: I mostly get inspiration from other artists, art works, movies, and ideas in philosophy. For instance, a lot of my early work was inspired by “Black Existentialism,” particularly the works of Franz Fanon, Sartre, Bell Hooks and Slavoj Zizek. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about poetry and film. And I also have been reading about Michelangelo.​​​​​​ 

HL: How do you know when your work is finished?

AG: I don't think that you can ever really finish, but both you and the painting agree that you can stop.

HL: Name two artists you admire or who have influenced your work. What about their art appeals to you?

AG: Vincent Desiderio and Michelangelo. Vincent to me is one of the great living artists of this generation. I really love how his brain works, and his paintings are mind-blowing. And Michelangelo — he is just the greatest ever! It can be all too easy to dismiss the old masters in the culture that we live in. But when you delve into how their minds work, the journey is unending.

HL: If you weren't an artist, what do you think you'd be?

AG: I don't really know. I think that I fought being an artist for a long time, but now I'm all in. So I haven't really thought about it. Before art school I was studying to be an accountant — and I failed miserably.

HL: What's your go-to snack while you're working?

AG: Oil paint is a very toxic medium and I want to live as long as possible — so I try to avoid eating while I paint.

— Steve Pfarrer 

Andrae Green’s new exhibit, “Backscatter,” is on view at Hope & Feathers Framing and Gallery, 319 Main St. in Amherst, through June 1. His website is andraegreen.com.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 


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