Andrew Salgado is an active Canadian painter. His studio is based in London and according to his website, He has been listed by Saatchi as “one to invest in today”. We had this chance to have a interview with him, and you can read it below:
- How do you describe your artworks?
It’s strange, this is one of the questions I find most difficult to explain properly. On a cursory level, they are figurative paintings, verging on abstraction. But that’s a bit banal – a bit over simplified and vague. I realized at one point that my goal as an artist was to create figurative works unlike those anyone had ever seen. Picasso achieved this. Bacon achieved this. It’s a lofty goal but I have a lifetime to pursue it.
Most recently the works have become less confined by what I call the shackles of concept. I’m having more fun playing with paint. My approach is looser and more exploratory. There’s a strong element of narrative and whimsy that perhaps wasn’t so effortless before.
- As it can be seen in your artworks, human figures, especially male bodies are the main subjects. What attracts you towards this subject?
I often say that I’m a “young white dude” so I paint what I know…thus a lot of paintings of “young white dudes”. That explanation is only slightly tongue-in-cheek. I’m attracted to the brutishness, grotesqueness, and strange – even monstrous beauty – of the male form. We see this a lot in classical art archetypes. The Dionysian. The Laocoonian. From Michelangelo to Bjarne Melgaard. I like playing with the physicality and jarring edges of masculinity (both literally and metaphorically speaking) and for me, often women (as a concept and a physiognomy) can be perceived as too soft. As viewers, we view paintings of females as objects of lust. Its how we are indoctrinated to read images. We don’t view men through such a dismissive, objectifying lens.
- The combination of colors in your artworks is so interesting and unique in a way. What is the concept behind such a combination?
I paint organically. Whatever feels right. My colour palette is becoming increasingly more restrained, more tempered. More greys and browns. Less bright colors. I almost never use blue. To me, colour has a direct correlation to psychological readings.
- Are you willing to have any exhibitions in Iran?
I love the idea of exhibiting in exotic, different locations. I’m working on Miami, FL and Sydney, Australia at the moment. I’m off to Taipei in 2015. These are all exciting prospects for me. Iran would be wild. So, yes.
- How crucial it is for you to make your audience understand what you mean?
I think this is a difficult question. Sure, my intentions are important. My work isn’t void of thought or purpose. But one can only inform the audience so much. You know the saying “you can lead a horse to water (but you cannot force it to drink)”. I feel like I have equipped the audience with all the information at their disposal. Should they choose to consume it, that’s their prerogative? But it’s not crucial. The work needs to exist and speak without this context.
- What inspires you most?
Everything. Simple things. A conversation. A line of prose in a book. A song. A face. That look. That jaw. What he said. What I said. The thoughts that occurred afterwards.
- Do you listen to music while painting?
*TAKEN FROM NUMERO CINQ MAGAZINE OCTOBER 2014
I think music definitely pervades the creative process. And to me, it’s crucial. Of course, we’ve all heard the belief from a particular camp that considers music to be a perversion of the artist’s true vision, as though there exists some fundamental or erroneous cause that will destroy your artistic vision if you – god forbid, listen to music while you paint – but you know, I will do whatever I need to do in studio to make myself comfortable. I don’t drink alcohol when I paint, and I know some artists that work half-cut most days, and I don’t think them any better or worse for it. So any real practicing artist will get past these strange stigmas and work however they want, in whatever context allows them to tap into that creative source. I listen to music obsessively, and this has often greatly informed my practice. For me, there’s a brilliant marriage between the two, and to think that they are or should be mutually exclusive is foolish. The greatest brains of all time have always considered art as a whole and complex entity: think of the Italian Renaissance, these people were artists on the largest sense and this idea encapsulated all art forms.
I spend the majority of my time alone, performing upon my own set of expectations, and music keeps me calm and focused. I’m very particular about what I listen to, but I think music can have beautiful effects on the brain and how that in turn affects the performance of the body, and translated thereafter to the brush upon the canvas. I tend to fixate rather obsessively on things in studio, and over the years certain albums have epitomized periods of my work. One of the first albums that struck me so profoundly while working was Kate Bush’s 2005 Aerial which is such a complex, obsessive piece of art in and of itself that it actually changed how I worked as a painter. Antony and the Johnsons The Crying Light was really affective, but I had to stop listening to it because it became too all-consuming, and quite sad. Some favorites since then have been Wild Beast’s Smother. St Vincent’s Actor has been played steadily for a couple of years. Wooden Arms by fellow Canadian Patrick Watson is an album close to flawless for me. And I love Radiohead, but who doesn’t? Right now I’m relishing an album by iamamiwhoami called Bounty.
- We put our signatures in whatever we do daily. What is your signature in your artworks?
I feel like I exist in each of these works. It was Oscar Wilde that said each portrait says more about the artist than the sitter, and I believe that. I’ve purported to talk about myself less, and in doing so, I think I’ve actually sharpened my message. People often ask if I do self-portraits and I sort of feel like this is a superfluous, narcissistic act. Each painting is my self-portrait. Each show is my message.
*For more information visit his website