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Interview | Andrew Steiger - June


On the inspiration behind his newest series:

Interestingly, the song “Passionfruit” by Drake affected me in a significant way, there was a tropical tone that came through in that song that made me think in a broader scale, and had me move towards a tropical feeling and color. So it wasn’t, I think, a direct “thing” I was trying to talk about as much as some feelings and colors that I already had been feeling and thinking about.

When I moved to my home studio after the Tappan Residency, I kept everything I had in progress simultaneously while I worked on this series. It was a new workflow, but I designed clothing lines for years, and when you do that you’re designing a set of things that go together, that inform each other, like the suit jacket has to go with the blazer, so the pieces in progress helped create a series that evolved together. 

I saw this show in New York, at the drawing center, where it was an expedition in the 70’s into the tropics to discover all these new fish and birds and all these things for the first time, and there was something so innocent and curious that the people had that wanted to discover these things for the first time. I thought it was interesting to build pieces of this world, moments that create an impact without having the entire picture.

There’s more joy and excitement in this, despite some of the more graphic materials. While I was building this series, I was listening to the 1967 soundtrack to “The Jungle Book” and I’m feeling like I’m six years old again.

On his new individual studies:

These individual studies are reactive; like, I discovered the shape in other pieces and realizing that those individual shapes are something special that I wanted to highlight. It’s the first time I’ve ever done that and landed it, like, in a way that felt so composed, there’s no mess, there’s no mistake there, and it’s 100% intentional.

On his evolving practice:

I think just a respect for time, really, and not being afraid. One of these pieces, it sat sort of hung out in a primitive state for weeks because I was afraid and I thought I’d mess it up, so I stopped. It was intimidating because I wanted them to be what they needed to be, but there was a new sense of urgency that allowed me to finish them as they needed to be.

On the change in subject matter:

For me to continue to talk about some of the stuff I’ve been talking about, when nothing is improving…it’s emotionally taxing. Like, I think about issues in the Pacific Northwest, there are so many things there that need fixing and it’s just, it’s not getting any better. Also, I have family members struggling with addiction and all that comes with that, and you want them to get better, you think a prayer is going to help, and all these things. But they need to make the decision themselves. 

There’s too much joy and beauty in the world, too many exotic fruits I haven’t eaten, and like, I don’t want to stay angry. There’s so many other worlds I can react to, and I have some incredible trips coming up, and it just seems like there’s a lot more to believe in lately.

See Andrew's newest series here.