Andre Petterson discusses development of his mixed media paintings


Andre Petterson's mixed media on panel works combine elements of photography, painting and drawing. Taking inspiration from his frequent travels abroad, current contemporary art practices, and art history, the artist offers insight into his studio practice and the different techniques involved in developing Transition from concept to fine art: 

"How I develop a concept for a new series varies from year to year and show to show. My exhibitions are always conceived as a series where a development of each work happens, keeping in mind how it will contribute to the bigger themes the show is tackling. At times I get inspired by the smallest thing: the image of a typewriter, which recalls thoughts of the past and how I relate to the technology today. There is potential to find a new subject anywhere:  it could be the way piece of cloth dances on a clothes line in the wind or a horse standing on its hind legs, seemingly frozen in time. 

I’ve been fascinated throughout my career by images and their relationships with other images. It’s not always easy to determine how an image will inspire a body of work or how to approach a new subject that fascinates me. Transition, the title of my latest exhibition, is emblematic of the latter. The title appropriately expresses what I see as a shift or change happening in Buenos Aires and other cities I've visited recently where a large population of people live with economic, environmental, and political uncertainty. There is an overwhelming feeling that young people need to find a voice and a way to make ends meet as they begin their adult lives. The suit jacket is a symbol of authority, prowess and professionalism that is indicative of the challenges facing youth. It stands in stark contrast to the radical graffiti effacing so many buildings in these cities. By merging the two subjects and the inherent symbolism associated with each in a way that is meaningful, I came upon a new direction. 

I began development on the series by acquiring a variety of suit jacket from second hand stores and photographing each in their pure, unaltered state. I then paint directly onto the jacket and photographed it again. This process is repeated many times until I feel that I now have an image to work with. I hang things from the jacket: ribbons, string, bits of cloth, wire, etc. These things represent a kind of stash of possessions that someone who may hold dear for various reasons. The items represent memories of the past and their original function now changed and celebrated by the new owner.

Once the photos have been applied to the panel surface, I paint over it using a variety of tools and techniques to unify all elements into a complete, finished composition."




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