Interview by Katya Guseva
The stuff thant Andy Hixon does with clay, camera, light and Photoshop is uniquley genius. Through a complex creative process, he redefines the mixed media art by creating stories and characters that could be interpreted in millions of ways. But the one thing that Andy leaves us undoubtful of is the brilliance of his creations.
How did you grow up and what were your first steps to becoming an artist?
I grew up around Manchester, UK, where I am still based. I’m not sure if I can put my finger on exactly what first made me want to become an Artist/ Illustrator, but the more I think about it, and if I am totally honest, I just found things of a visual nature to be more stimulating than anything else that I was surrounded by, like music and literature, and I suppose that just stuck.
What is your process?
It depends totally on what I am working on. If it’s commissioned work, which is usually for bands, they tend to have a set idea of what they want the imagery to look like and the messages they want to convey. If it’s personal work, I feel I can literally ‘go bananas!’ All of my work is rendered in clay, Plasticine or Polymer clay and a dab of paint that is then photographed and taken into Photoshop for arranging, colouring and texturing.
How would you describe the mood and feel of your characters and your art?
This is kind of odd. I generally get polar opposite opinions from different people on the characters in my work. One half will usually say something like “They creep the hell out of me,” or “They look like dead children,” “Do they have Leukemia?” The other half say along the lines of “They’re so cute,” “I wish I could kiss them all in the mouth,” “Sweet,” “Beautiful” etc. A lot of my characters are dark, and that’s to do with a lot of my influences and sculpting techniques. I am influenced very much by the work of Jordin Isip (check his work out!!!). The ‘darkness’ in my work also has a lot to do with the way the sculptures I create are photographed – usually with one light source casting dark shadows over the sculpture. I feel that this adds a lot of darkness and intensity to the figures and the image as a whole. I am investing in some new lighting equipment as we speak, but I wouldn’t expect to see rainbows or happy gleaming faces kissing butterflies in my work anytime soon! Having said that, you never know!
Most of your characters look like very sad aliens. Must be the eyes. Why is that? Who are they?
Sad aliens, eh?! Not heard that one before. I try to sculpt the figures so that they have an ‘obscure/unusual’ look to them, whilst also retaining a human element.
Does music play any role in your art?
Yes, most of the commercial work that I do is for bands, usually from the rock and metal genre. My work tends to lend itself more to those genres as it’s on the darker side.
What would you do if you weren’t an artist?
I’d probably be making a lot more money in doing something that I would enjoy a lot less.
Do you have a favourite piece of your work?
The piece of work that I am working on at the time tends to be my favourite. Partly because I am not that familiar with it, but also because I am very critical of what I produce and end up disliking many of my older pieces of work as my style develops and my skill set increases.