Written by Mandy McGee
Andie deRoux is a Seattle native and a brilliant fine artist, sculptor and beautiful model. The first time I met Andie she posed for me for my first fetish shoot. She was also the first Transsexual female I had ever photographed. I was proud of our work together and have been friends ever since. She has been a mentor (in a way) and a great friend to me. Andie opened my eyes to a whole new world of artistry and way of thinking; I began accepting certain things about myself. Her art takes you through her life journey, her struggles and growing confidence. I have been truly inspired by her beauty, passion, hard work and talent.
Andie has original art up in many places throughout Seattle (and surrounding areas) such as Redmond City Hall, Seattle University, Safeco Insurance, Seattle Chinese Medical Center, CRS Financial Center, Seattle Center and the Pike Place Market Foundation. She has exhibited at many galleries and has been featured in numerous noted Seattle publications as well.
Mandy: Have you always been an artist?
Andie: Yes I grew up with my hands in clay and paint. My mother is an artist, so I’ve always been surrounded by art. My father was also a painter for a brief time.
Mandy: Why are you an artist?
Andie: There are no rules in art. Everything is allowed. I have a conversation with the world, and it has one with me through my art.
(Photo above taken by Carson Rader)
Mandy: What kind of art do you make? Why?
Andie: I create flat sculptures mostly. Some people call them paintings, but to me they are just flattened sculpture. I also create cast pieces, bas-relief and in the round. I model for photographs, my own and others. I collaborate on art projects.
Mandy: What themes do you pursue?
Andie: A lot of my work deals with my own dreams, and also my own personal journey through life.
Mandy: Did you go to art school or are you self taught?
Andie: I got a BFA from Washington State University and I was also self taught. Art school does not make you an artist. You cannot be taught to be an artist. You can be taught to be a thing-maker, but not an artist. You need to already have that inside you. I definitely learned skills in art school, but it did not make me into an artist.
Andie at age 3
Mandy: What role does the artist have in society?
Andie: There is no culture without artists. Society is glued together by culture.
Mandy: What has been a seminal experience?
Andie: I traveled to Stockholm in 2009 to meet my best friend, Kimi Kawabori and also to see a portrait of me that was painted by Ulrika Warmling. I walked into the Charlotte Lund gallery in Stockholm, before her show opened, and I started tearing up when I saw the life size portrait that Ulrika had spent a year painting. I had to leave the room until I was not so overcome with emotion from seeing the portrait. It was such a powerful moment in my life.
Link to Ulrika Warmling’s work
Mandy: What materials do you use in making your art?
Andie: I love working with a lot of materials. I work mostly with epoxy resin, dry pigments, sumi ink, pastels, watercolor and acrylics.
Mandy: Why do you choose those materials?
Andie: They are incredibly versatile. I use them both for painting and sculpture.
Andie in her studio, photo by Seattle Next Door
Mandy: What artists do you most identify with?
Andie: I like artists that make their own work.
What’s your favourite art work that you have done?
Andie: My favorite piece right now is one I did in 2004/2005. It’s called “Never Look Back/Gate”. It’s a self portrait of me opening a gate. I made it when I realized I had to start changing my life in a big way, in order to be happy, and not kill myself. Too many people love me, so that really kept me from doing it. All of my work is very symbolic.
"Never Look Back/Gate"
Mandy: Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
Andie: My life. My friends.
Mandy: What’s your scariest experience?
Andie: I was once almost attacked by two large pit bulls. My small dogs were almost killed. It was the most terrifying moment in my life.
Mandy: What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Andie: Too many to list here. I have had so many jobs.
Mandy: You are also a model. What drew you to modeling?
Andie: I wanted to be a model when I was 12. My parents got very upset at the idea and told me I would never be doing that. Now I model for photographers and some of them are national and internationally known. I think I’m mostly a muse that gets photographed. It’s just another medium to create in. I really enjoy the collaboration and the immediacy of the process. It’s part performance, part planning, part spontaneity. A lot has to do with the chemistry between the models and the photographer. Without that, there is nothing. It doesn’t matter what kind of fancy camera and lights you have.
Photo by Death By Photo
Photo by Picasso Muse
Mandy: What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Andie: I was once told that when someone was standing near one of my pieces, they felt like a forest was running past them and they were feeling all of this deja vu….That my work was triggering memories of dreams that they had.
Mandy: How do you feel about funding the arts and what role does arts funding have?
Andie: I have no idea. I’ve never liked the idea of arts organizations funding artists. Artists should be valued so much by society they should not need arts funding. As long as artists get hand outs, that will never change. I don’t care to beg. I’d rather starve.
Mandy: What superpower would you have and why?
Andie: I already have a superpower and that’s secret.
Mandy: What is your dream project?
Andie: I would love to design the interior & exterior of a public building or hotel.
"City of Light"
Mandy: Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
Andie: Louise Bourgeois, Andy Warhol, Grayson Perry.
Mandy: What is your favorite or most inspirational place?
Mandy: Professionally, what’s your goal?
Andie: to have integrity, and to have a unique viewpoint.
Andie at one of her art openings, photo by Rebecca Jones
Mandy: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Andie: Judy Chicago said to me: ” Never read the reviews, just count the inches. That is the only thing that matters. It doesn’t matter what they are saying about your work, it’s the fact that they are talking about it.” That’s what I remember at least. I like art that creates a discussion.
Mandy: What advice can you give others who are pursuing art?
Andie: Keep walking forward one step at a time. Don’t ever look back. Don’t be afraid to discard old work. You need to be able to purge at the same time as you create. other wise you will become one of those art-hoarders.Show your work everywhere, but don’t give it away. A show can be successful even if you don’t sell a thing. Many times people will ask you how much you sold. I ask them, how many people did your art touch? That is the greater value.
Andie and me
Check out more info on Andie at her Facebook Page
Written by Mandy McGee
Gabino Mabalay is a Seattle (born and raised) based photographer. He is a friend and an artist I greatly admire. He has a great eye and really gets his models to open up and work it. Gabino has a great work ethic and process when it comes to his shoots and he is very determined to get a great finishing product. He has an, ever growing, inspiring and varied portfolio of work with strands of experimental concepts, fashion and nudes. He works with digital as well as film and has recently started doing more alternative processes. I have him showing at one of my events this month in Seattle and I am more than pleased with what he has come up with for the show (digital transfers on wood canvas with rabbit glue). If you are in the Seattle area you should check it out.
Mandy: How long have you been doing photography and how did you get started?
Gabino: I have been doing photography since junior year in high school. I was also given a little camera back when I was in grade school but really didn’t take off with it till then.
Mandy: How did you learn photography school or self taught?
Gabino: During high school I took classes both there and at a non-profit teen program. I went on to go to Cornish College of the Arts where I got my BFA.
Mandy: Have you always wanted to do photography?
Gabino: I guess I had an appetite for it back when I was young and it sort of just spiraled out from there.
Mandy: Why do you choose fashion photography to focus on?
Gabino: Fashion photography is a great way to make connections and to work with some very talented people. After doing a few shoots here and there I was hooked.
Mandy: What else do you enjoy to photograph?
Gabino: I love night photography and I really do miss going out at very late hours capturing surreal scenes with long exposures.
Mandy: What is most important to you, technique or vision?
Gabino: At times I can be very technical, while others I care more about the final image and less how it took to get there. My personal philosophy about photography is that when you focus too much on the technical aspects of getting the “perfect” image, you miss it entirely.
Mandy: What equipment and software do you make use of in your work flow?
Gabino: Of course the most economic route right now is to shoot digital and I have my fair share of both Nikon and Canon digital. For film I have Polaroid kit cameras, Holgas, and an old Hasselblad to name a few. On the computer side I love Lightroom. I can get about 80-90 percent of the work done on there and for the final finishing touches I can jump into Photoshop.
Mandy: What have you learned lately in photography?
Gabino: Lately I have been working on alternative printing. I’m also considering learning how to make Wet Plates, but the chemicals associated with that stuff scares me. Ha, but you only live once right?
What he is working on now and what is currently hanging for my event.
Mandy: What photographers inspire you?
Gabino: Some of the photographers that I have been following lately would be J Caldwell, Burroughs, Mark Velasquez, Amy Fries, and Corwin Prescott
Mandy: What inspires your photography style?
Gabino: Good question, honestly I don’t really have a straight answer for you. I browse tumblr a lot lately and I see all this amazing imagery on there. I also work with some stellar people who help focus and develop my artwork.
Mandy: If you could work for any publication what would it be?
Gabino: This is one of the most difficult questions to answer. The industry as I see it has had some major shifts in the past decade.There is not too many huge print organizations that I would really consider. There are of course Vogue, Vanity Fair and Elle to name a few… but not the US versions.
Mandy: If you could have any super power what would it be?
Gabino: I am a fan of Iron Man… but that’s not really a power. It’s a toss up between flight and Ludicrous Speed.
Mandy: What advice do you have for individuals interested in pursuing a career in photography?
Gabino: I think the best advice that I can give someone is to get out there and start working on your craft. Do what you can to learn from those that are willing to teach you. It doesn’t matter if you take classes or tutor under someone. Just have fun, get messy, and make mistakes.
Mandy: Where can people find out more about you, your work and how to buy images?
Gabino: Find me on my tumblr, flickr and follow me on twitter. Almost all my images are for sale. Email me for info and prices.
All images are owned by Gabino Mabalay