Andrew Hem has been painting all his life, first as a graffiti artist in his teenage years and now as a full-time exhibiting artist on a worldwide scale. We first featured Hem’s art on the cover of Hi-Fructose Vol. 21 and here on our blog, a culmination of his travels and a haunting view of the world, which he fills with floating and wandering figures over diverse landscapes.
Hem describes his first experience in Asia as life-changing, particularly taking inspiration from street art in Asia to paint dynamic images that balance reality and the supernatural. His upcoming solo “Mountain Full” at Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York was inspired by the action of leaping, once likening his characters to lost apparitions:
“Those blank faces are spirits to me, floating around trying to find their path,” he explains. This dichotomy in Hem’s work can be traced to his personal experience as a Cambodian-American, influenced by his rural heritage and the urban sensibility of Los Angeles, where he lives now.
“I love creating worlds that do not exist. A world where people don’t care about others’ appearance, and nobody has to worry about fitting in or being an outcast. Where everyone is accepted. No necks, long arms, no nose, blue faces are all normal. This is a world that doesn’t exist, and that’s why I love creating it. I’ve experienced and witnessed too many times where people are disgusted with what is different.”