Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? * What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Gianna Andrews: I have really enjoyed creating my whole life, but I never saw myself as an artist until I had a life changing experience. It all began when I crashed and broke my back while mountain biking during the summer of 2015. I was about a millimeter from potentially being paralyzed, and this accident just really shifted my perspective on life - it was as if I realized how temporary and beautiful life is all at once. During my recovery, I was in a clamshell back brace for almost three months. I had taken a few art classes in college prior to my wreck, but it wasn’t until recovering from my accident that I really immersed myself into painting. During my recovery, my mom would put on my brace and help me out of bed every morning, where I would proceed to spend the whole day at the easel, painting. Though I have been able to fully recover for the most part, I haven’t been able to stop painting!
Do you work with other mediums?
I began painting with oils but switched to acrylic paints two years ago. Lately I have been salvaging different types of wood for painting materials, sanding them smooth, and priming them. I am really enjoying the process of finding unique wood pieces!
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from?
The mountains, the ocean, and the trees of the beautiful Pacific Northwest heavily inspire my work. I am super into outdoor sports like skiing, biking, and surfing, so I draw a lot of inspiration from these activities. In addition to nature, music is hugely impactful on my art. Specifically, I am fascinated by rap music, a culture that I am not necessarily a part of, but one that has inspired me to believe in myself as an artist and entrepreneur.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
Since being in nature is such an important aspect to my art, in order begin the process of creating, I go adventure outside. I love skiing, biking, hiking, and lately surfing has been getting a lot of my attention. While I am outdoors, I snap photos of the natural setting and also constantly take mental notes of my surroundings. After inspiration comes concept. Conceptualizing my paintings typically happens solely inside my head. I will sometimes sit quietly for an hour or two or three, just working through mental images and also through images that I have taken. This step in the process appears stagnant, but is more one of stillness. Once I have enough of a solidified concept regarding mood, setting and layout, I will occasionally sketch it out, but usually I just begin to paint my idea. I usually refer to a few photos that I have taken to being a painting. Sometimes I bring a piece of wood with me on a camping trip, so that I can begin my painting process outdoors. Other times I return from an outdoor adventure, finishing my conceptualizing process, and then begin to paint in my studio. I almost always listen to music while painting, as this is essential to my process. From here, my painting process takes anywhere from ten to 50 hours depending on the piece!
Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
Since my bike accident and becoming a full time artist, my main mantras have been to ‘go with the flow’ and ‘trust the process.’ I think this applies to not only my art, but how I live my life.
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
It is so difficult to single out a piece of art, but a painting that I completed a few months back, “Wandering in the Gloom,” was a huge breakthrough moment and I would say it is my favorite piece right now.
What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I am stoked to continue delving into Pacific Northwest themed art and am also getting really excited about some surf related art that I am working on! Other than that I have some secret projects brewing that I will be releasing eventually!
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
I like my coffee black or with coconut milk- depends on the vibe!