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.
The terrain in Los Angeles based artist Andrew Hem’s paintings is a culmination of his imaginative view of the world. There are completely foreign and yet vaguely familiar lush and urban landscapes filled with dancing, floating, and wandering figures. You could describe them as meditative, and Hem admits that most of his images come to him when he is alone with his thoughts, sometimes while driving or traveling. We first featured Hem’s works in and on the cover of Hi-Fructose Vol. 21, at a time when his subjects began to exhibit animalistic and ethereal qualities. He embraces the other-worldy qualities of his work in his current exhibition at KP Projects/MKG in Los Angeles, “Unknown Terrain.”
Andrew Hem (HF Vol. 21 cover artist) makes his curatorial debut tomorrow with “Ill Squad!”, a group exhibition of his fellow artists at Giant Robot gallery. Throughout his career, Hem has shed a light on his favorite artists in another way, in his lush and colorful paintings. Among his subjects are those who inspire him creatively, which he portrays either at work in their studio or on some fantastical adventure. At his solo exhibition last year, “Dream but Don’t Sleep” (covered here), Hem shared with us his ongoing enthusiasm for garnering a public interest in his friends’ work. Nearly all of the artists in his “squad” stem from an illustration background, but together their works are eclectic and showcase a variety of media.
Los Angeles-based artist Andrew Hem (featured on the cover of HF Vol. 21) paints scenes filled with kaleidoscopic colors that convey a sense of fluid motion. His work feels like snapshots of his youthful characters’ adventures. While he paints murals and dabbles in commercial illustration, Hem’s primary focus has been on his personal studio practice in recent years. We featured his last solo show, “Dream But Don’t Sleep” at Merry Karnowsky Gallery, here on the blog earlier this year. Today, we take a look Hem’s process with a peek inside his sketchbook and an exclusive interview.
Last Saturday, Merry Karnowsky Gallery celebrated Andrew Hem (Hi-Fructose Vol. 21 cover artist) and Mel Kadel’s side-by-side solo exhibitions. “Dream but Don’t Sleep” by Andrew Hem is a dream-like culmination of his travels over the years. He places figures in re-imagined environments including the most private: the artist’s studio. Hem shared his inspirations with Hi-fructose: “I often want to paint artists that inspire me in their studio. This is one reason I try to only paint my friends — I want people to know about them. Even though none of my friends are in my paintings, they all inspire each piece. There’s a street artist, a printmaker, a realist, an abstractionist,” and so on. One of the artists portrayed is Michael Alvarez in the painting The Street Artist, and other notable inspirations are artists Anselm Kiefer and Alex Kanevsky.
Andrew Hem and Mel Kadel currently have solo exhibitions on view side-by-side at LA’s Merry Karnowsky Gallery, with an opening reception slated for the evening of March 8. Hem’s “Dream but Don’t Sleep” presents a series of new paintings filled with cool-hued shadows and prismatic shapes. Though focused on figuration, Hem paints with an expressionistic looseness. His figures reveal his brushstrokes and nuanced color palettes without much blending. Yet, his work retains a sense of precision, lending it an illustrative quality that complements his Impressionist-influenced painting style. Read more after the jump.