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In this episode we explore the transformative power of reconnecting with intuition, unlocking the secrets to artistic mastery through connecting with your inner child, and the profound impact of bravely following one's artistic impulses.
Artist Andrew Faulkner candidly shares his journey—from the creative doubts that plagued him even when his work was being published in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times & The Washington Post to embracing the profound magic of honest, childlike expression in his artwork. This conversation offers practical wisdom on navigating creative blocks, embracing continuity in your work, and understanding the true essence of intuition beyond stereotypes and promises to reignite your passion for creativity and your sense of what is possible.
What We Talk About
Discipline and Continuity: Crafting work with a cohesive narrative for deeper resonance.
Intuition Unveiled: Understanding intuition beyond stereotypes and cultivating its role in creativity.
Artistic Practices: Embracing digital media, dealing with creative blocks, and facing fears.
Childlike Expression: Balancing mastery with honest, childlike artistic expression.
Community and Sharing Secrets: The importance of community and sharing trade secrets in the creative process.
Finding Inspiration: Environmental influences, invented color spaces, and the Northern California influence.
Overcoming Challenges: Tackling creative block, fear, and unworthiness in the art world.
Art’s Role in Society: Reconnecting with healthy creative expression for personal and societal growth.
The Artist's Journey: Doubts and Discoveries
Andrew's artistic journey was been marked by uncertainties despite prestigious publications. His transition from graphic design to where he is now as an acclaimed painter hints at the profound transformations possible when we heed the call of our creative intuition.
Discipline, Continuity, and Deeper Resonance
We delved into the significance of discipline and crafting work with continuity for a more profound connection with our audience. Andrew's insights on creating a cohesive narrative in our artwork are inspiring food for thought.
Unveiling Intuition: Beyond Stereotypes
In our conversation we challenge stereotypes surrounding intuition, emphasizing its role in artistic processes and have an honest conversation about what intuition IS and IS NOT. Andrew's perspective on understanding and cultivating intuition beyond conventional notions provides a refreshing take on creative inspiration and I think will really inspire you.
Embracing Creative Practices: Overcoming Blocks and Fears
From integrating digital tools to facing creative blocks and overcoming fears, Andrew's experiences offer practical advice for artists navigating the challenges of the creative process.
A fascinating exploration unfolded around balancing artistic mastery with the honest, childlike expression that infuses magic into artwork. Andrew's insights shed light on the delicate interplay between skill and authenticity in creative endeavors.
Community, Inspiration, and Environmental Influences
The importance of community, sharing trade secrets, and finding inspiration from environmental influences, particularly the vibrant landscapes of Northern California, emerged as pivotal themes.
A Call to Reconnect with Creativity
As the episode draws to a close, it leaves a resonating message about the role of creativity in personal fulfillment and societal well-being. Andrew Faulkner's journey serves as an inspiring reminder to heed the whispers of creativity and embrace its transformative potential.
Kate Shepherd: welcome Andrew.
Andrew Faulkner: thanks so much for having me. I, admire what you do because artists live such an insulated life to be able to share these thoughts it's a great comfort to me. So thank you for having me to be able to share a little bit of my story.
Kate Shepherd: part of why I originally started this show was because as an artist myself the public for many years, would often be met with this You probably have this with, with dealing with clients sometimes this sort of like, oh, I wish I could, I wish I could be an artist. I wish
I could, you know, I wish I had that in me. I'm just not creative. And for a long time it made me really sad
Andrew Faulkner: Mm-Hmm.
Kate Shepherd: I sat with it. I was like, what is that about?
Why do I have such a reaction to that moment? 'cause it makes me feel really uncomfortable.
I don't really know how to deal with it. And after years of sitting with it, what I finally came to was realizing that wish that that person was having was actually creativity, trying to talk to them, saying, hello,
Andrew Faulkner: Right.
Kate Shepherd: I'm right here.
You wouldn't wish for me if
I wasn't inside you.
Andrew Faulkner: they want permission. to do it too. And maybe permission from an artist would give them that open door.
Kate Shepherd: Yeah. And really, I mean, I remember the day that I said, you know what? Screw it. I'm gonna call myself an artist. I didn't finish the degree, I didn't do all the things that all the gatekeepers want me to do to be able to say that I have this fancy title artist. can I really just give it to myself?
Like I remember the
day where I thought that and did it, and there was just no looking back.
Andrew Faulkner: Yeah. Oh. I think there's a lot of pressure from society not to become an artist, and so I think a lot of artists deal with that in different ways. Some people are. Nonplussed by that, and they just do their own thing. They just are so passionate they can't do anything else. I, I have not been that person. I have had a creative spark in me forever, but on thought about practicalities of, you know, how am I gonna my college degree?
And, and, you know, I didn't need to make money. And, which is all, that's just life. I admire that have that burning passion, that they can't do anything else. And now I've kind of developed that because I got on this role and now I feel like I can't do anything else but art. uh, I'm doing what I was meant to do.
Kate Shepherd: Maybe just for the listeners who don't know who you are yet, what kind of artist are you now and how did you get there? What was your path in?
Andrew Faulkner: I am a abstract landscape artist and it, it kind of varies from representational to very abstract my work. a lot of people would say I'm a colorist because color really how I see. Landscape and painted work, and it's very important to me, and it's not always the same color, but it's, it's always kind of the, the lead actor in my work.
Kate Shepherd: You work with galleries, you are a successful
and established artist, and it's, it's, it's happening, so
to speak. wHat are the obstacles, self-imposed or otherwise, you know, a lot of them are given to us
by .The culture around us that stopped you for a little while. what was your journey? How did you get to where you are today with your art?
Andrew Faulkner: I did study painting. I went to a liberal arts college, in Connecticut, Trinity College. had a, a good art department with, brutish. Evil head of the department who ended up kind of torturing me but I had some natural talent and was kind of resting on my laurels.
So there was some justification for him pushing me harder. I, I just wasn't good enough to meet the standards of this very strict, art professor. And so I graduated with a degree in fine art, which, you know, had the requirements of art history, printmaking, drawing, color design, painting, mostly painting, And fortunately I had done summer internships drafting for architects. So I had sort of a marketable skill . And when I graduated I got, a job in Cambridge, Massachusetts, drafting for a large architecture firm. And that was, I. Good For me, it was sort of production work. It was being around creative things.
my dad was an architect and grandfather, uncle, brother, all architects. So I have that kind of in my blood too. And you might see some of that structural thinking in underneath my messy paintings. but that was kind of the beginning of my creative journey where it was . It was creative to a point, but it was very much producing other people's work and just kind of finding my way in the world and not really knowing exactly where it would lead, but, being a full-time artist was never really an option to me.
and for a lot of people my age, it just wasn't an option.
Kate Shepherd: I hear that a lot from people. I, I had somebody on the show last season who, is a, a writer and a TV producer and for many years she worked as an assistant director on sets of huge movies and with big stars and, but she was always bringing other people's work to life and she had a really similar story of what that eventually what you realize is. I actually don't. This is great. It's pays the bills, but there's, I have
something to say underneath this. was there a particular experience or phase or time in your life when you were starting to realize that, that you can remember looking back? Oh
Andrew Faulkner: I started, I started doing design for magazines and doing some illustration work kind of on the side this was I think the time of email . I got a postcard from an illustrator who was quite well known, who I really liked, and he saw one of my illustrations and he's like, what the fuck, dude?
is awesome. Why aren't you doing this? And and I just thought it was, I was just lucky to have this little spot illustration in a magazine and. I just sort of thought, Hmm, maybe I could do this. so I started doing more illustration actually sort of became a thing for a while.
Um. When I, I started my own graphic design business and I was also doing illustration and I ended up doing work for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and LA Times and a lot of big papers. and that made me feel like I had something creative to share and, um, still I think. Being a painter wasn't really on the table, I also, there's something I like about problem solving.
You know, as a graphic designer, you're a problem solver, and so when someone calls you for an idea for an illustration, I. A good art director won't tell you what to do, but they'll say, here's the story, read it. We'd love to see something in your style. and, you know, just make it clever kind of thing.
And um, so I've always kinda liked that and sometimes I'll even self assign myself a series, with, you know, sort of an assignment that I'm solving.
Kate Shepherd: Like currently with your landscapes? You mean
like you'll, So, tell me more about that. What does that look like?
Andrew Faulkner: well. I am currently developing a series of work for a show I have at Pamela Walsh Gallery in Palo Alto called Electric Light. I am always influenced by many artists, but for color, . I really love the work of Richard Mayhew and Wolf Con. Those are two of my favorite kind of wild colorist artists, and they use almost neon color in some parts of their painting, and then in contrast to some subdued color. But, had done a couple of pieces, landscapes that using pinks and violets and, and neon greens, you know, as part of the palette I loved them, but they weren't for everybody kind of thing. 'cause it's like you kind of have to wear sunglasses to look at them. but, I started to think that this could be a really exciting series landscapes. just looking at the palette and looking at, . How we can inject this recognizable electricity into a landscape that, you know, still looks like me, but it's sort of like you've got blacklight posters on in the background kind of thing.
So, that has been interesting because each new piece that I do, I have to make it. mesh with all the rest in some way. It has to have that note. It could be just a, a dark painting with dark purples, but then like a bright pink splash of light along the horizon or something like that. So, um, that's been interesting.
One of my many callings in life is to do jewelry. So I'm a silversmith and I would be in Granville Island public market, which is like the heart of art in Vancouver. It's the biggest tourist attraction, and I think 11 million people come through there every year trying to buy art and buy something Canadian. It was one of my, I think it was my, one of my first years in that market. And, this European gentleman came up to my table and took, you know, he was very thoughtful. He looked at all my work and at the end he said, congratulations, there's beautiful continuity here.
Andrew Faulkner: Wow.
Kate Shepherd: And I realized that, that that is actually an important thing when you're creating a body of work. I was doing it intuitively. 'cause I think I just jet, I, I I, I know the feeling of needing that harmony of that continuity, but is that a challenge, do you think? Has that been a challenge for you to Mm-Hmm.
Andrew Faulkner: It is, it's a challenge I've given myself because my work without that can go be all over the place. Like especially for a show I'm a little bit deficit, you know, in terms of like what I'm excited to paint, so I might . Walk in and see some flowers and I'm a landscape painter, but I wanna paint a still life, you know, or, or whatever, you know.
And and I think it's great to explore, but then I always appreciate shows where you have that continuity. You can see that there's a thought out. It's almost like a thesis, you know, like, I believe X and here's what came out of it.
I feel like that even just in my own, I mean, I sculpt, I paint,
I weave, I make jewelry.
I, I, can't stop myself from doing all those things. And even in my painting. There're these, there was a series of paintings that came out of me earlier this summer that I was like, I, they brought me to tears.
I was like, these are the paintings I was meant to do my whole life.
Here they are. They're finally here. I was waiting, you know, waiting for you. And then the next week I'm like, oh, but now I need to paint owls and like, it's all I could do. Like, what?
So even I think as we. As we, I, and I feel like we're sort of, um, servants to the intelligence of creativity or the energy of creativity.
Like it's this force that wants to move through us and in order to serve it, I do think sometimes we have to put ourselves in a particular channel, right? And that's kind of like,
today we're doing
this so that I can serve that energy
can't do it if I'm all trying to do all the different things at the same time.
Andrew Faulkner: I, I agree and I think that, you know, having these shows brings focus to my work that then I can. Take with me for other works if you have to really look hard at things over and over again, then you can make progress. And I tend to paint so intuitively that I'm not even necessarily, I, I will do a sketch to begin with, but then I'm just, my mind turns off and I'm just like,
throwing paint at the canvas and, and just, I'm going on this journey and seeing where it takes me kind of thing.
Kate Shepherd: Tell us a little bit more about that. I feel like intuition, I mean, I teach a whole course on how to activate intuition so that you can, not only in your artwork, but so that you can live an, an easier life.
Because when you're tapped into intuition, it's really, it is magic. And again, so many of us are like, well, I don't have that in me, I'm so glad you brought it up when you're in your studio. What is your relationship with intuition? How does it speak to you? How do you hear it? How do you feel it? How
do you respond to it and, and what is your relationship with it
look like and feel like
Andrew Faulkner: I rely on it because, uh, even though I've had academic . training. I've forgotten a lot of it.
Kate Shepherd: that's probably for the
Andrew Faulkner: yeah, in terms of, you know, I know what a color wheel is, but I don't always know like, what's the opposite of this color or whatever. I, I just, I'm not thinking in those terms. admire people who really have a handle on that, but My intuition has served me so well that I rely on it. I don't hear a voice. I almost see the color being applied. Like I'm looking at my painting, what does it need, and it's, like a typo or something. It's, it's something that sticks out and also just knowing, because I work in oils, I can always paint over and over and all of that history, just texture looks better and better that I'm just not afraid of making mistakes. a lot of trial and error. I do my sketches, digitally with a, a tablet and a,
a software program. As a regular sketching practice. you can't really make mistakes, but first of all, you can command Z and go back 10 steps if you want, but also you can, instead of buying a whole
Huge tube of pink magenta. You know, you can just take big blob of that color and put it all the way across your painting and see what happens. You know, and, and tho
those kinds of risk taking have taught me that I need to do that with my analog work too. And My digital painting has informed my oil painting.
Kate Shepherd: The digital feels freer. It's like a playground to, I love how you, described it as being almost like a, something's off, like a typo or something.
' cause often that, that's how I relate to my own intuition. I'll I'll, be I'll be like, listen I listen, I need to make this decision about. I mean, it could be something big like, do I take this job or not? Or small, like, do I wanna go out for dinner with this friend tonight or not? I have to make a decision.
And, and I'll, ask myself like, does it, does that feel right? Okay. I've, I'm picturing myself going to the restaurant.
No, it actually doesn't feel right. And it's a be, it's a feeling of like something is off or not less than. 'cause I think a lot of people think, oh, well, once you're tapped into intuition, it's just this like, oh, this channel of information comes down to you and you just hear
this voice telling you what to do. It isn't like that
it's a lot more like feeling around in the dark. Is it this is it this is it this. And you get the ding, ding, ding yeses, and you get the, Hmm, no. Not so much. Is that, that sounds like that's true
Andrew Faulkner: Yes. Yeah, that is true for me. And it's, you know, it, it's varying degrees of obviousness, so sometimes it's like a typo. Sometimes it's like, there's something in this area. I don't know what it is, I'm just gonna try something else. And, you know, green doesn't really go here, but I'm gonna do it anyway and see what happens.
Kate Shepherd: Yeah, because then then you'll get more informa. Every step you take you, the feedback is more, you get more information and so
then you then, oh, that was the wrong step. That's still information.
Andrew Faulkner: yeah. yeah, and, and sometimes like in my work, I'll see like a little sliver of this ugly avocado color that was left there, you know, and against the other colors. It's beautiful. But it was like the worst color I've ever mixed
Kate Shepherd: there on purpose
Andrew Faulkner: no,
Kate Shepherd: it's perfectly there. Yeah.
Oh, I love those moments
too. I believe that creativity is the intelligence that's animating the entire universe. So it's the same thing
that is telling a pine cone a. When and how to open and release its seeds is the same thing that is giving you those little yeses and nos and nudges when you're in your studio or at your canvas
or at your typewriter or in the music studio or wherever you are as an artist or creative person in the world. And I also see that we've cut ourselves off from expressing this. Intelligence and it feels like a
channel of energy. It's trying to move through us. And I mean, I, I've even kind of gone as far as to say that I think that's why humanity, I say we're glitching. I
say humanity's, glitching because we've become disconnected from this.
Like we're, the rational mind is running the show and we're going in circles and it's not a very comfortable or nice circle either.
Andrew Faulkner: I learned to draw from my dad when I was, six or seven we had a, country house in Virginia. We, we lived in the city and my parents remodeled an old barn in Virginia that we had no . tv, just radio, no phones.
You know, and I'm one of five kids, so the whole family really got away for the whole summer or for long weekends and it was boring for a long time. But you know, then you have to look around like what is there to do. And so I saw my dad drawing and he saw architect and did beautiful large drawings of objects and this and that.
And so I was like, okay, well there's nothing else to do. I'm gonna. Draw , and that's how I, I wouldn't have learned to draw otherwise because there was no technology, there's no TV or anything. We could listen to radio. That was pretty exciting. And I mean, this wasn't in the twenties either. This was in the, in seventies.
So, I think my parents deliberately wanted to take us away from it all and
slow things down. And everything is so fast now. So I think I. There's still a lot of creativity I see with young people and it's exciting, but I just wonder if they're hampered at all. if it's just more of a stretch to go get a sketch pad and some
colors and stuff.
Kate Shepherd: I agree with you, there's lots of different ways that creativity can come out. and I think, I mean, it happens whenever generations start to split. You see the split between this one and the next one. And I can't do TikTok videos the way that people even 10 years younger than me
Andrew Faulkner: Mm-Hmm.
Kate Shepherd: or even want to, like, I
actually have no desire to do that. But I think that the underneath it, the question that I'm asking is more about this thing that we do where we self-select out of having this gift, Because I feel like that intelligence that's animating the universe, that's, you know, painting through you and making little tomato seeds sprout over there and like this, there's, it's an aliveness.
There's this thing that's trying to happen and when we cut ourselves off from it, experience pain. And I actually believe that that's the main source of. Over consumption, depression, conflict like that is really the root cause
of, is that we've denied ourselves that we have this magical, radiant, ineffable, wordless, but very real thing inside of us.
how can we empower people to remember. That actually you have this, this thing inside of you, and it doesn't have to look the way so and so down the street says it should look and I decided before we went into this year that I wanted it to be about learning to see. That's kind
of the overarching theme
of the show. I love how you can look at that from a perspective of learning to draw, like
when you're drawing, you know, your brain wants to do the easiest and then, but it's not accurate at all when you
actually sit down and really look at what your subject matter is.
Oh, oh, I see how that, okay. You have to teach yourself how to do that.
Andrew Faulkner: Yeah.
Kate Shepherd: also Think you have to teach yourself how to do that when it comes to seeing yourself as a creative being. what does that, what does that bring up for you?
Andrew Faulkner: Well, I was thinking about, the creative seeds within everybody and how, how do they sprout and then also about learning to see, I think it starts with education at a young age. You know, my wife taught third grade for 30 years, and now the funding for arts is getting really, I don't know how it is in Canada, but really going way down.
we gotta get people when they're young And then also learning to see, I think that opportunities in communities to see art it's studios or galleries or whatever that teaches people how to see. And that I think that can engender creativity from within.
Kate Shepherd: I mentioned to you, I think before we were recording, how your work literally stops me in my tracks every time I'm scrolling through Instagram and there's one of Andrew's posts that like, what? And obviously you have a, you know, you're in galleries and your work is doing quite well.
obviously I'm not the only one who has that experience with your work. What do you think, what do you think that is? What do you think people are drawn to
about your work? What makes it special and different?
Andrew Faulkner: Wow. So I don't think I've been asked that I'm very in touch with the child within me, I feel people can relate to that. So
a lot of my work is . Kind of a riot of color and very loose strokes, and also sometimes very paired down in terms of like number of objects and fields of color. I think those kinds of things appeal to people. The, the simplicity, color. Everyone says, I love your palette, but my palette always changes, so I don't know. I love your colors, and I'm not sure because it, it's always changing, but I think that I use very rich and dynamic color, so maybe that's what grabs people.
And on Instagram, you've got, you know, a two, three inch square or scroll through so you don't have much, uh, . Opportunity for nuance. So I think maybe the hit you over the head work gets more attention. I don't know. What
Kate Shepherd: Yeah, maybe I, I don't know. Well, it, it is, it's your use of color,
I would say. 'cause I have noticed that about your palette too. It does. It's not, it is very dynamic. I think it is your use of color, and I think there's a certain magic that happens when you have your level of mastery with understanding intuitively color and composition and all of the elements, all of the kind of like academic elements that go into art. But when that's. evenly Paired with this joyful, childlike honest expression. I think that's when real magic can happen, and that's I think why we say you do have to learn the skills, like you
can't just. You know, decide I wanna become an abstract artist and start throwing paint at the
canvas. and and you wonder why, why aren't people reacting to it the way that they are to Andrew's work?
Well, 'cause there's a whole lifetime of, of invisible things that are informing that, um, that seem very simple, but are actually very, very nuanced. And, and I think it's a, it's a great achievement to, to have stayed with your practice long enough to be able to create work like that.
Andrew Faulkner: Yeah, I, I'm excited to be doing what . I'm doing a, after working for architects and magazines, I started my own design studio in San Rafael, California. And, I had a design studio for 30 years, worked with. A lot of tech companies, including Adobe, and that was very creative and fun work.
But I was still doing drawing and painting kind of in my free time. I took a, a work workshop with Nicholas Wilton. I don't know, do you know his
work? That was about eight years ago. I took a week workshop with him in Hawaii and that sort of changed my life.
I had a lot of people on the trip saying, you've gotta quit your job, . You gotta do this. And they kind of pushed me along, to make this decision to just go full-time stayed friends with them all and some of whom I'm working in the same studio in Sausalito with.
Kate Shepherd: Community is so important.
I think that's, you know, there's a, there's this mis misguided belief that as artists we need to be independent, sometimes people think You need to even guard your techniques and your
secrets and it just, you all, you know, you have to be this like, and it's, it couldn't be
Andrew Faulkner: it's. it's.
the opposite. It really is. I try to share as much as I can because, you know, other people have done that for me. And, uh, that's, that's really how it works.
Kate Shepherd: the person listening to this who's, maybe considering stepping into more of a Career of being an artist, full-time. That's one of the first things I would say. I don't, it sounds like you're
Andrew Faulkner: Yeah,
Kate Shepherd: same thing, but like find your people.
Andrew Faulkner: find your people. I was working on my kitchen table before I got a little shared studio at mean, I had . Tiny little corner of the room to work in, but I just started one day a week and that's how I met other artists and eventually found a full studio and kind of worked up from there.
I wasn't sure I would ever take this plunge, I think it was the community that got me to do it.
Kate Shepherd: I wanted to go back to something you said a minute ago about I, I can't remember exactly the way you worded it, but it was about this child that you have inside of you,
, is that something that you've kept alive since you were a kid? Is that something that you went back and brought back to life? How? Because not everybody wants that, but
not everybody has it.
Andrew Faulkner: I've been very serious on this podcast, but I'm actually quite the jokester and very silly. So, um, that's a part of my childhood that I've never to shake, um,
Kate Shepherd: Good
Andrew Faulkner: and, and, um, and I love kids art too. I mean, I just love
it. It's just . Master work my wife who taught grade for 30 years would bring home this work and I would just go nuts loving it.
I just connect with it. I see something in my own work that's either random and off kilter. I might like it more, or if I see edges that are too straight and uniform, then I'll change it, I do a lot of scribbling on my work. you look carefully, of my paintings have a little stick figure chair etched into them, and it looks like a kid,
Drew it on, one time I had a show at, uh, Carlton at Lake Tahoe, and the manager of the hotel contacted me and said, I'm so sorry.
But it looks like a child has drawn with graphite a chair on your painting, and we are so sorry. We will pay for it. We will repair it and whatever.
and they hadn't noticed it was there in the beginning. I said, don't worry. That's part of the painting. So.
Kate Shepherd: Is that a nod to your, we can call it your inner child, I guess, if we want, but is that a nod to that part of you,
Andrew Faulkner: Yeah. And a little bit to my dad. He, he was an architect and then he had a furniture design studio for the last 10 years of his life. And, uh, we always seemed to have, my mom was an interior designer. We always seemed to have some Italian chair that she had ordered and couldn't return to Italy, so it didn't go with anything, but it would be in the house for whatever reason.
So I've always liked chairs, so
Kate Shepherd: I love that.
Andrew Faulkner: Yeah.
Kate Shepherd: Can you remember a time when you had, inner vision, maybe not a visual, but a, but like a, an inkling of work you wanted to create, but you didn't have the skills yet, the in on the ground
skills yet to create it, and what, what that experience was like for you,
Andrew Faulkner: well, I always have that . I, I,
I think, yeah, I mean, I always have that. I think wouldn't it be great to do this one? One thing I struggle with is the human figure and putting figures in my drawing and, and my paintings, and it's kind of a signature. My landscapes are sort of simple and barren and open, and they're void of figures, which is good in a way because you're focusing on
It's an abstract and you're not like focusing on representation. but I love, like diebenkorn's figures, for example, in his, some of his work integrated. And so every once in a while I'll challenge myself and I'll add a figure into a piece. And sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But, I'm a, I'm definitely a lifetime learner.
Like I. Still watch videos of other artists, uh, demoing things. a couple years ago I got a critique. I don't know if you know an artist, Brian Sindle,
his work is beautiful. He does these really moody landscapes that are, a limited color palette, but beautiful.
I saw that he offered critiques for like $200 to critique your work. And what he does is he'll, he'll look through your website. And then he'll give you feedback. And, and so I, I kind of, I was at a point where I just, I kind of wanted someone else, and especially someone I admired to just give me feedback.
And I get feedback from all the time. But it's different when you're showing someone a body of work and someone respect he really earned his $200. He didn't know that I was like, already showing in galleries and selling my work pretty well. And so he was kind of harsh because my work is so different than his, he's like, well, I'm not sure I can even do this 'cause I'm not sure.
Like I. What I'm looking at here and what you want me to do and et cetera, et I'm like, okay, well, um, think about it. And, anyway, he thought about it and then he came back. He's like, I, I think I've got some advice for you. And so he, came back and he, he asked permission if he could use Photoshop to paint out and simplify certain areas on some of my , which I think some parts would be horrified by, but I thought.
It was a cool idea and I was up, I was up for it he gave me some great, feedback on certain pieces. But one advice really stuck to me is about harmonizing color. And he said, do you remember the old Reese's Peanut Buttercup? Ad on TV where it's, you got some peanut butter in my chocolate, or you got some chocolate in my peanut butter.
You may not have seen this, but I, I did. And he's like, I, you should put some peanut butter in your chocolate and some chocolate in your peanut butter basically mix a little bit of one color into all your other colors and that's gonna give you harmony. And that's improved my work. Immensely.
and that was only two and a half years ago or something.
Kate Shepherd: so how do you do that when you're sit, when you sit down and you're kind of squirting all your paints out, you'll take a little bit of one color and put it in everything, or what, what's your
Andrew Faulkner: yeah, well, um, it used to be, I, I, I teach a weekend workshop like three times a year, and I mix together something that I, I call sludge and it's got . Every color on the rainbow, it looks like a gray, but it's got, all the colors in it. , I, I go around and I put like a, tablespoon of sludge on everyone's palette and I ask them to just mix a little bit into all their colors, so then they've got harmony because all of their colors that they apply have a little bit of the other color
Kate Shepherd: But like a tiny little bit, it
Andrew Faulkner: tiny bit, yeah, and you can put more in some and less, I mean, you can end up with a big muddy painting if you overdo it, but
just a little bit. And in certain colors, like a light yellow, you want the tiniest bit 'cause it'll turn it into a green or another color. But for reds and browns and other colors, it really adds kind of an earthiness and a harmony to all your pieces.
Kate Shepherd: I feel like there's a wisdom in that that translates to sort of life itself, and I'm, I can't quite put my finger on it. What is the, what is the, what is the life lesson in that?
Andrew Faulkner: it has to do with harmony. So, I mean, you could be saying, you know, make up your mind, but listen to all ideas, to make a decision just be open. to
Kate Shepherd: Including everything.
Oh, I really love that.
Andrew Faulkner: My Instead of less is more and more is more. Right?
Kate Shepherd: More is more. I've always, that's always been my philosophy
too., I wanted just talk to you about Creative Block.
creative block is something that all of us face.
we have different experiences with it. We have different relationships. Some people are horrified by it. Some people are relieved by it.
'cause it means
they get a break.
You know? what is your relationship with it? How do you experience it? What do you do about it when it happens?
Andrew Faulkner: I had that more when I was a designer. As a painter. I just, I'm lucky. I just, I. Almost never face that. and part of it is that I've been doing these digital paintings for 20 years, my, for personal work, I have 200 paintings that I want to actually paint as. A large oil.
So it's like there's always something. but if I'm hitting a, a dead end with a piece, I put it aside and start something new. when I was a designer for Creative Block, I would look at what other designers are doing and what I'm excited about. And sometimes that would inspire a design that wasn't a lookalike.
It would, it would start . As kind of a, a lookalike of another person's design. And then that was only the beginning. By the time I was done with it, it looked nothing like, you know what, what I was inspired by, and I do that with artwork too. I might, Not have a block that I don't know what to paint, but I might be at a crossroads with a painting where it's like, should I just paint over it?
Is it terrible or whatever, and I will get out my. Deepen corn, Hockney, Matisse books, you know, and I'll just look through. And then often something will be like, oh my God, I could do lily pads in the middle of this or something. Or look at that shimmer in that water. Like if I could do a shimmer with those crazy colors, know, that could really bring it back to life. and then it's like breadcrumbs, because I'll try that and it's like, that was stupid. That doesn't work. But, but it simplified everything else. And so if I paint over that, but I just change everything to these purples, then be great. So usually it's just doing something leads to doing something else,
Kate Shepherd: from where I sit listening to what you just said, the magic to me in that is this conversation that you're in with those other artists.
they're long gone,
but you're, but you're having an actual conversation with them through the work. And I just think that like, I get the goosebumps when I think about that. Like we're all part of this living, breathing song or ongoing conversation, and I just think it's, so
Andrew Faulkner: And they would love to know that that was happening in, you know, in the afterlife or whatever, you know, and. I won't be around forever, but what a nice thing to think that other people will have my work in their homes, like after I'm gone.
Kate Shepherd: Yeah. And we never know. I think sometimes when we're alone in our studios. Especially for alone in our studios, we can think, well, what is, it doesn't, my work. Doesn't matter. It
doesn't, you know, but we don't have any way of really knowing the ripple effect that our, that our work can have in our own lives, but also space and time.
And we're responsible almost to those future people, to express what's in us
Andrew Faulkner: Well, yeah, I mean, it's, it's, it's talking about where you are in your life now, and, uh, so it's, in a way, it's a record of that.
Kate Shepherd: Yeah.
what do you, what do you get out of art? what does, as a soul and as a person with a deeply, you know, you're an awake person. You've, you've been in connection with this beautiful energy your whole life. It sounds like, you know, you're, you're, you're on, you're, you're,
switched on. what does making art give you, what do you get out of it?
Andrew Faulkner: It gives me a lot, actually. It gives me validation, I think I've known all my life that I have this in me and now I'm expressing that it gives me a form of expression for, whatever I'm going through in my life. it's a refuge, it's a place to express joy, and. a lot of fun and it lets me tap into that kid, I can, I revisit the kid every day, that's pretty amazing.
Kate Shepherd: That's pretty amazing. Yeah. I wanted to ask you if, if there was a specific project you worked on or a piece of artwork that had a particularly profound impact on you, either in the process of you creating it or when it was completed, or maybe even how you saw it impacting others, like, is there a particular experience you've had like that?
Andrew Faulkner: Yes, and I won't name names because you know, this is personal story, but I think that the family would be fine with me the story, had a visit during Covid from a woman who was battling cancer and she hadn't been out of the house for a year and she came with her husband both wearing double masks for a studio visit, and she said, this is the first time I've been outta my house, but your work really
Speaks to me and moves me, and I just really wanted to do this. I had put the air filter on and the windows open and I was just really complimented that she would wanna come and she loved this large painting of Stintson Beach. I think it was like 60 by 72, painting of the beach She and her husband loved it.
but it was too big for their house. And, but they loved it and they loved just looking around. We had a nice chat and they thought, they looked at a couple of prints 'cause I also sell prints. And so they thought maybe we, we, we have to think about maybe we'll get a print. unfortunately we just don't have wall space for that big painting we love.
on their way home, . They're living in Berkeley. They texted me and they said, we are moving our armoire into storage. We want the big painting, . I just I, I can't believe this. And so that was. So exciting. she unfortunately didn't win her battle with cancer.
And her husband emailed me to let me know, she had passed and he said that. She and I would sit in the love seat right across from that painting every night and just look at it. And I just wanted to tell you that , and so like, that's pretty much it for an artist, you know, like what more would you want as an artist? that I think is the most meaningful thing that's happened to me ever, regardless of art, but that art brought to me
Kate Shepherd: I'm thinking about the person who's listening to this, who's thinking, well, maybe I have also had that whisper in me all my life that I, that I could be an
artist, maybe .You know, maybe, you know, he followed, he followed it and it, it was true. Like maybe, maybe I could do that too. At the end of every episode, I always ask what I call the billboard question,
so maybe for that listener and also for any other listener out there who just like. There is this little voice saying to them, you have something special inside
of you. But for all the reasons we talked about before, you know, like all the, all the, what we think of the, the mean professor in school who,
you know, had his own dysfunctional stuff and was taking it out on you and, but, but created these really deep set of limiting beliefs inside of you where you believe you just can't be an artist.
If you had a billboard for everybody and, and you could put something on it where. When everybody read it, , you'd reach them, your message would, would reach them. What would you put on it?
Andrew Faulkner: I don't know if you know of the work of Joseph Campbell, he is a sort of modern day philosopher. He is not living anymore, but he was very much into mythology and spirituality. He said, , follow your bliss, which was kind of the key to life for him, and it has so many. Ramifications and for me has served me so well. I think making this leap from kind of a stable job as a graphic designer to become a full-time painter was really following that bliss.
What really, really you happy? Like, graphic design made me happy, but what really, really made me happy was doing art. if you're willing to do that, that's has the best chance of success. and some, like you were saying, you know, people ha feel like they have something inside them they may not know.
That, that's their bliss. But it's worth experimenting. And creativity can happen in so many ways and so many levels. if you don't have painting skills to collage and just play, you cutting paper and color and taping it together and see what happens.
It's reminded me of what you were saying earlier about when I asked you about how you interact with intuition and how you get. Answers is, it is just taking a step and seeing how does that feel right or wrong?
And I think we can apply that to our lives, right?
Like, oh, well, I, I can't, I, I have a story that I can't paint, but I really want to, okay, so I'll try. You know, then, then what? Oh, you really can't paint. Okay,
then I need a different teacher again, like all the different, you just keep it. The, the key is, and I think you also said this earlier, is to just keep moving.
You have to
Andrew Faulkner: Yeah, and do, do something, even the littlest thing, one thing I advise, you know, artists who just don't know where to start, they're on Instagram and they. See like a one of those a hundred day projects where you can just do a scribble a day for a hundred days or whatever. that's a great way to get, I mean, it, it seems like kind of a deal or a hassle, but you have to take time outta your day.
But it could be literally . Five minutes a day and take a picture of it and then you're done. And then see what happens.
Kate Shepherd: See what happens. Yeah.
Andrew Faulkner: Yeah,
Kate Shepherd: do the, do something, the
littlest thing and see what
Andrew Faulkner: what happens. Yeah.
Kate Shepherd: I love it. I love that. you mentioned that you teach a workshop a couple times a year and you mentioned, the galleries that you work with. if people are listening to this going, I gotta see this guy's work, I wanna find out how I can work with him, or, you know, learn more about him, what's the best place for people to go?
Andrew Faulkner: andrew faulkner.com is my, website and Instagram is Andrew Faulkner underscore art. My workshops are a little sporadic and disorganized. Right now. I do about three a year and I'm actually taking a group to Tuscany in April, next to April, and that's, that's full So I don't have anything
Kate Shepherd: Oh,
Andrew Faulkner: website about that. Yeah. Um, but,
Kate Shepherd: Darn.
Andrew Faulkner: I know,
Kate Shepherd: I was thinking maybe you might need like a podcaster
to follow you around and
Andrew Faulkner: I think, yeah, to promote it, I think that
we could, could need to happen. there's a lot about me and about, my, and, I'll, I'll quote myself on my bio. It says, after 30 years of a successful design career, I quit my job and got a real job as an artist
Kate Shepherd: I love that I, and I'm gonna include everything that you just shared in the show notes. So if you're listening to this as you're driving down the street, you can don't have to pull over to write it down. It'll all be in the show notes the website. Is there anything I should have asked you that I didn't ask you?
Andrew Faulkner: No, you, you asked me everything.
Now you know everything. You know all
Kate Shepherd: Great. Thank you so much for making the time for me today. Really appreciate it.
Andrew Faulkner: for having me.