Artist Andrea Lewicki draws from nostalgic sources and recycled materials to create mixed media abstract collages. Visit her website to see more of her work.
Art is a portal to my second childhood.
When I am in creative flow in the studio, I return to the optimistic and curious version of my younger self. I am four, maybe five, years old. My imagination has not yet met the limits of peer pressure or comparison.
In my formative years, my neighbors were my closest friends. They were older than me by at least 70 years. While they knitted, sewed, or crocheted, I absorbed their stories. We lived in a small cluster of rural houses off Route 66 in Arizona. Nearby towns played up bygone times to attract tourists. I was immersed in nostalgia.
It is not surprising, given my upbringing, that materials become interesting when I see their history or evidence of former use.
In elementary school, the prized decoration in my room was one of my dad’s model airplanes, salvaged from its crash site. The drooping, snapped wings and battered, faded film was mysteriously compelling to me. The feeling it evoked is one I did not experience again until I became an artist.
I grew up insulated from formal art yet I was surrounded by people who worked with their hands. Everyone I knew put a life together from whatever could be found, making repairs, or building from scratch. That sense of resiliency is inherent in my creative process. I will even reuse my own artwork. My earliest collages contained pieces of my canvas paintings.
Collage is the perfect medium for me. The cutting, dissecting, and re-imagining fuel perpetual reinvention.
What fascinates me is how changing one physical thing about an object reveals another reality. I find pristine, blank space uninspiring. Point me toward the discards or paper bin and I am immediately in creative mode. With experience, I am getting scrappier. Rougher edges and less control are evident in newer pieces.
I am often asked how I find inspiration as an abstract artist. It’s a long simmer that starts when I am preparing materials. It takes a generous helping of creative faith to do this without a result in mind. Sometimes the lag between preparation and the act of collaging is measured in years.
When I’m ready to start a new series, I shop from trays and piles in my studio. I enjoy observing how bits and pieces relate to each other. When I collage, I hunt for a visual puzzle to solve.
Previously a painter, sewn collage emerged from the unintentional home artist residency of 2020. Without commitments or deadlines, I began making art without an audience in mind. It has turned out to be the happiest and most satisfied I have ever been making art.