Andrea Beiko – Toronto, Ontario

OOPS!, 2010, Acrylic paint, tiles, CRUSH bottle, 12”x12” (base) x40”

OOPS!, 2010, Acrylic paint, tiles, CRUSH bottle, 12”x12” (base) x40”

Briefly describe the work you do.

I have always been intrigued by the unnoticed; things that most people overlook, ignore, or are oblivious to. I am constantly wondering why these intricate items are where they are, what their purpose is, and I wonder why nobody else acknowledges them the way I do. I am constantly absorbing and observing the area around me in order to discover new items and add to my ‘collection’ of unnoticed items.  

My work revolves around the use of multiples, typologies, patterns, everyday objects, logos, commercial products, Pop Culture, and the idea of minimalism where appropriate.  Having an eye-catching piece for the viewer to be drawn to is my ideal goal and purpose with my art; creating something they can connect with, recognize, and hopefully enjoy its’ aesthetic qualities. 

Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.

My interest in art began at a very young age.  As most children do, I drew small landscape scenes and was so proud of colouring in the lines.  It was in middle school when I realized just how much I enjoyed art class; always bringing an artsy angle to school projects, wherever possible.  I took art and photography all throughout high school and continued into my post-secondary career as well.  The past few years of my academic career have focused on photography in both studio and academic forms. 

I began studying at the University of Toronto (UofT) in 2006, graduating in 2010 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts specializing in Art and Art History.  This program allowed me to create my own work while studying the great masters at the same time.  In 2011 I was accepted into Ryerson University’s Graduate Studies program, Photographic Preservation and Collections Management.  Graduating this past year (2013), I have now concluded my formal academic career and have begun to focus on solely my art career. 

Having been in school for so long, it has greatly influenced the way in which I create art today; with my education focusing on photography for so long, the medium itself is now my favourite.  I see the world through a camera lens and capture as much of it as possible.

Then & Now (series), 2012, Digital Photograph, 24” x 36” (each separate), 48” x 36” (both together)

Then & Now (series), 2012, Digital Photograph, 24” x 36” (each separate), 48” x 36” (both together)

The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

Seeing as most of my art is in the form of photography, as cliché as it sounds, the world is my studio.  I am constantly traveling and searching for interesting images to either begin new projects or continue with ongoing ones. 

When I do create art other than photography, I typically work in my bedroom or basement with my television and computer nearby.  I do not like to be in silence when painting, sculpting, etc.  When I was studying at UofT, we were provided shared mini studio spaces in which I spent a lot of time in.  Having other students working within the area helped motivate and inspire me.  Now that I am working out of my home, I often ask friends and colleagues for a mini critique when I can.

I Am Pop Art (self-portrait), 2013, Digital Photograph, 12” x 12”

I Am Pop Art (self-portrait), 2013, Digital Photograph, 12” x 12”

When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can? 

I tend to work in phases; I will begin a project and be so involved in it, I want nothing but to work away and complete it.  Outside work and life tend to get in the way of the project at one point and it does typically take me some time to get back into completing the project.

When it comes to photography, as mentioned earlier, I am constantly creating and working with PhotoShop and other editing programs.  I do not set time aside for my photography; it somehow finds its way into my every day.

How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?

For five years in my undergraduate degree, I made art all the time.  I had projects, exhibitions, and critiques constantly.  Upon graduating and beginning Graduate school, it unfortunately left my life temporarily.  Being in an extremely academic program prevented me from having extra time to devote to my art.  I missed it dearly for the entire two years.  It wasn’t until recently that I was able to bring it back into my life.  I am now exhibiting again and making new projects on a regular basis.  I feel as though I have gone full circle, and it feels so fulfilling.

The work itself has changed, as I am now mostly doing photography; before I was working with print media, painting, sculpture, and projection art.  I do have several projects currently planned including painting and sculpture and am excited to see where they will take me.

Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?

During school, friends and teachers were a huge influence on my work.  They helped shape specific pieces and their inspiration was irreplaceable.  Now I am still in touch with a great deal of my past classmates and I like to think we do still inspire one another.

Although inspired by friends and professors, my real inspiration has come from past artists; specifically, Pop Artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, and James Rosenquist.  But no artist, past or present, has influenced myself and my art the way Andy Warhol has done.  For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated (some might say obsessed) with celebrities and pop culture icons.  I love brand names, logos, and consumerism also.  Essentially everything Warhol based his art around, I have adored since before making art or even knowing who Warhol was.

If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?

It is still hard for me to think of myself as an artist, as I labelled myself as an ‘art student’ for so long.  But recently I have realized that I am indeed an artist and it feels empowering, satisfying, and just feels right. I know that I am most definitely in the right field of work and will always be an artist. 

If I wasn’t an artist, I’m not quite sure what I would be…..I would definitely still be doing something within the Arts – whether it be teaching, or practicing another craft within the arts, such as acting.  It’s hard to think about that world/life, as this one feels so right.

About 

BEIKO.HEADSHOTThose who know me well, know that photography is an enormous part of my daily life; both taking photographs, and admiring others creations. Having studied and practiced photography for years now, I am finally attempting to make a living from my craft. 

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, I have loved making art as long as I can remember.  Exhibiting since 2007 in cities across North America, I hope to one day soon expand my art and my business to further regions.  

www.andreabeiko.com

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission. 

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