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Andersen Woof Interview - The Hopper Prize

Andersen Woof

Andersen Woof on the timeless quality & potential of painting in oils, exploring themes of solitude, relationships, fear, violence, & desire, & a deep interest in both the joy & pain in life.

Andersen Woof

Andersen Woof on the timeless quality & potential of painting in oils, exploring themes of solitude, relationships, fear, violence, & desire, & a deep interest in both the joy & pain in life.

How did you get into making art?

I started to paint in oils casually in fall 2015 while I was still working as a full-time landscape architect, and only started to paint “seriously” since summer 2017 after I got motivated again by seeing so many oil paintings at museums in NYC while I was working there. I have been always into making drawings and stuff before I could remember, and I used to think I was going to be a graphic novelist/illustrator, or even a filmmaker. I am glad it took me a while to find my favorite medium in oils (the main focus of my practice nowadays) despite I had zero trainings in it, but it is also probably why I am so intrigued by its timeless quality and potential, and the medium always feels fresh to me.

What are you currently working on?

I have been mostly working on paintings for a few upcoming shows, and there are different sizes and themes based on specific exhibitions. I am super excited since I am going a little bigger on size this year and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen. Most of them will be a mixture of figures and landscapes, which are my two favorite subjects, as I keep exploring themes of solitude, relationships, fear, violence, and desire.

I keep exploring themes of solitude, relationships, fear, violence, and desire.

Andersen Woof

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

I have been painting a lot of tearful and bruised people since last year and I am always interested in both the joy and pain in life, so a lot of my paintings were motivated to express the complex emotions of living as a human being every day. Most of the time I look through my huge amount of personal photographs and images I have collected from the internet for initial inspirations, usually when I see something that I feel emotionally connected to (almost a must) I will start to sketch around and think about potential narratives of the image that I am going to create.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

Probably both but more leaning towards the latter. I do think all my works talk to each other in some way and usually I tend to not pre-plan too much about what I am going to do. Nowadays I usually work on one painting/drawing at a time and I enjoy the feeling of how one work leads to the next in an organic way.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

I work from my home studio — always try to get up early but often fail, delay painting with excuses of doing other tasks until later in the day, and then paint until 2 or 3 or 4 am before bed, and repeat… Not necessarily the healthiest lifestyle but since I enjoy both painting with daylight and at night, it has been difficult to negotiate with myself about a more structural schedule.

Who are your favorite artists?

The list is almost endless, and I tend to think about artists in groups/collections versus individuals, but my all-time favorite ones from history are Félix Vallotton, Leon Spilliaert, Édouard Vuillard, Richard Diebenkorn, Balthus, Francisco Goya, Caravaggio, Diego Rivera, Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth, David Hockney, Larry Stanton, Charles Demuth, Agnes Pelton, Alice Neel, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Van Gogh, Cézanne, René Magritte, Roland Topor, etc. Recently I have been looking at a lot of medieval religious paintings and they blow my mind…

Since 2020 I started to look at more contemporary artists/peers and just to name “a few” (mostly painters): Anthony Cudahy, Ian Lewandowski, Mark Ryan Chariker, Amanda Barker, Doug Beube, Sally Han, Mayumi Nakao, Drew Kohler, Aaron Michael Skolnick, Dawei Wang, Sanya Kantarovsky, Guglielmo Castelli, Salman Toor, Louis Fratino, Doron Langberg, Sasha Gordon, Justin Liam O’Brien, Lily Wong, Ellen Siebers, Caleb Hahne, Inka Essenhigh, Sarah Slappey, Greg Burak, Chris Oh, Minyoung Kim, Miho Ichise, Matt Bollinger, Henni Alftan, Charles E. Roberts III, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Nora Sturges, Danilo Stojanović, Miguel Villalobos, Richard Tinkler, John Brooks, Polina Barskaya, Kyle Dunn, Mary Herbert, Cheri Smith, Mamma Andersson, Adam Linn, Danica Lundy, Katia Lifshin, Elizabeth Glaessner, Christopher Hartmann, Laurent Proux, Mike Ousley, Ian Healy, Ian Felice, Paul Booth, Jon Joanis, Guim Tió Zarraluki, Penny Davenport, Velvet Other World, Lukas Luzius Leichtle, Monika Chlebek, Sung Hwa Kim, Lera Dubitskaya, Ella Walker, etc. There are so many more and I am constantly discovering new artists I admire, thanks to Instagram.

Besides visual art, I am also a film/TV nerd and very into soundtracks, so there are many directors, actors, composers, and writers who constantly inspire me every day emotionally.

Where do you go to discover new artists?

Instagram mostly nowadays but I always want to make efforts to visit galleries, museums, bookstores, and libraries periodically.

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