Andrew Salgado — ARTIST

Andrew Salgado

Andrew Salgado


Interview with artist Andrew Salgado —

1. Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Andrew Salgado, and I paint people. I suppose thats the nuts and bolts of it. I’m Canadian. I like food. I live in East London…which is just like regular London but much more fun.





2. Why art?
Because its the only thing that rouses me. Wait that sounds nihilistic…but its my single defining characteristic. Without art, I have no purpose. I’d be naked and barefoot somewhere in Thailand trying to learn guitar or opening some beach shack…which actually doesn’t sound all that bad. I mean, that’s kind of a silly question, isn’t it?


"Midnight Circus"

“Midnight Circus”


3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
I used to ask my mother for blank sheets of A4 paper, because I didn’t like colouring books. I liked to create my own pictures.





4. What are your favorite subject(s) and media(s)?
Well they say ‘paint what you know’…I paint a lot of young white dudes because I’m a young white dude. I use oil…sometimes other media enters the fray, but I’m quite the purist with my materials: high quality paint with solvent and linseed. No mediums. I like to keep things true to the quality of their nature.


"Alphabet Soup"

“Alphabet Soup”


5. How do you work and approach your subject?
I work organically, causally. Like a row of Dominoes. Loud music. No visitors – quite literally no one except my gallerist – until the show is completed. I never sketch; its just how I am…because I like the uncertainty that each mark creates: caused by the mark before it, and responsible to the mark after. Thats such a Romantic thought. For my last show, The Fool Makes a Joke at Midnight, I finished a painting called “Pink Animals” when I had the flu and was actually pretty high on flu medication. That painting only exists  because of where and who I was at that specific moment in time…how my brain was slipping in and out of reality. Thats a wonderful thought. Planning takes all the fun out of things.


"Pink Animals"

“Pink Animals”


6. What are your favorite art work(s), artist(s)?
I can’t choose a favourite work of art. The beauty about art is that you’re allowed – no, encouraged, to cast the net far and wide. Francis Bacon was the greatest. I love Paul Gauguin, Daniel Richter, Tal R, Sverre Bjerntes, I recently bought works by Adam Lee and Scott Anderson. I bought a Peter Doig print at Art Basel called “Drunken Disorderly Sailor Bar.” If I could have taken anything else I would have bought a little work on paper by Hurvin Anderson or a painting by Andreas Ericksson. Robert Fry is a great artist and I’m buying one of his etchings with the money earned from a mutual collector for a portrait of him. My friend Dale Adcock will be regarded as one of the great painters of our generation; I’ll put money on that. I buy a lot of art…pay it forward. But if I expect people to fork over big sums for my work, surely I believe that this system should function both ways, and I should acquire other artists. I’ve amassed a pretty impressive collection in a relatively short period of time. It really is a drug.


"Sound & Vision"

“Sound & Vision”


7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
I think good art always polarizes. Look at Philip Guston, or George Condo. Even Pablo Picasso or Francis Bacon. It repels as it compels. I mean, even the modernists were deemed atrocious when they first came upon the scene. I have no time for ambivalence. Love me or hate me; pick one, but nothing in the middle. Pleasant paintings are so boring. And I like to challenge myself as well as challenge my viewer. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, I get that. But I have been garnering greater critical response from my peers, and to me, that’s just as important as 10 sellout shows. Which has afforded me the ability to produce the work that I want – I have the freedom to experiment because I can lock myself into the studio and not surface for 6 months until a body of work is completed. One thing that is incredibly important to me is that I improve and change with each body of work. The other thing I get a lot, is people saying that each body of work is ‘so different’ from the one before it. That’s very important to me. People that have followed my career for some time have now come to expect to be surprised. They never quite know how it will be different, but they anticipate change. That’s a hefty pressure to fulfill, but its very important to me to live up to that challenge.


"The Joke"

“The Joke”


8. What do you like about your work?
Bjork once said that her goal was to create the perfect song; she knows she never will, but as an artist she’ll never stop trying. Perhaps that’s why artists are usually so nuts. The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over expecting different results. Its an obsession, really. If I was satisfied with myself, I’d stop trying. I often wonder: if I wasn’t me, would I even like my work?   To be more than the sum of the parts.  I’ll always be on my way there, I’ll never arrive. Art is a pursuit, a process. So as an artist I’m constantly visually digesting different forms and like those plastic monkey chains I eventually tie everything together – full circle. I’m drawn to things very different from my own work – I think that’s what has given me this compulsive desire to constantly change. Sure, the subject matter is still pretty recognizable, usually a male head and shoulders, but its execution has changed radically, even in the past year or two. And each show is a comprehensive statement. I can’t release it until its autonomous, complete. And the paintings and I know together when the story is done. Sometimes you need to do that one last piece to finish the score. The anxiety that comes with such uncertainty is a good thing because it pushes me to top myself each time. Will the collectors and followers like the new work? Who knows. But so long as I know I pushed myself to a higher level, I have to believe – I  have to know – the work is better. Technical proficiency is objective, but goodness is subjective. I can say, you might not like it as much, but it is a better work. Even down to the quality of the materials. Sometimes collectors say ‘oh,well I preferred your work from 2012’, and I think, that’s not who I am as an artist anymore. I’m a Capricorn – I’m stubborn and driven. So I think, well, you’re either with me, or you’re not. But stay on now and I promise it’ll be a wild ride. The benefit of achieving modest success as a younger artist is that I’ve been able – financially and psychologically – to keep pushing myself forward and be a little bit of a dick about my own creative process – like, I’ll do what I want.





9. What advice would you give to other artists?
Work twice as hard and worry half as much. Stop being so self-righteous. Be happy for your neighbour, we aren’t against one another. Oh, and there are no rules in the studio.





10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Working. Barefoot. Maybe I’ll have a studio by the water in Cape Town with big windows. I want to hear the surf while I work.


"A Zoo"

“A Zoo”


 Upcoming Shows —

• 35 Works on Paper  opens August 24, 2016 at Beers London.

• The Snake opens November 4, 2016 at Beers London.

• TEN is a survey exhibition to correspond with the release of a monograph of the same name on December 4, 2016 at The Gallery of the Canadian High Commission in Trafalgar Square.



Andrew Salgado

Andrew Salgado