Andrew Holder doesn’t look like an artist. You imagine an artist to be small and delicate, wavering between being fully present and stuck in the complicated world they’ve created. Andrew is the antithesis of that. He is a tall bearded man, who very easily looks like he could kick your ass at any sport you throw his way. But, that’s not him. He’s a quite gentle and manly gentleman, a creator whose work often features brightly colored items from nature. Andrew is a surprising individual who almost unintentionally ended up in Los Angeles.
Born in Saint Augustine, Florida, Andrew was never really tied to anywhere particularly as he and his family seemed to live everywhere. “I’ve moved around a lot,” he
explained, “But, I mostly lived in San Diego, as we’d move somewhere and then return to San Diego. We lived in places in Texas, Nashville, parts of South Carolina, Colorado—some of these places for as little as eight months.”
“I was one of those people who cared about art class in highschool,” he said. He clarified though that he was also a jock and participated in athletics. After high school, Andrew endeavored into music for a bit while also working and still painting and drawing. “It wasn’t an option for me,” he said of his need to create, making it very obvious that deep down inside he needed to be making art.
He eventually was drawn to Los Angeles for school, where he attended Art Center. Obviously, it isn’t very far from his hometown of sorts in San Diego–but it’s far and
different enough, lacking in the some departments (particularly surfing, another passion of Andrew’s). “I was a little concerned because life up until I started Art Center had been pretty carefree,” he said of the challenge of school, “I worked at a job where I didn’t have set hours, just playing music and surfing and did all that California kid stuff. I came to Art Center and I didn’t surf anymore because I was really involved with art, sleep deprived, and everything else associated with being a student.”
Two weeks before he graduated, he began working with Roxy, which was integral to building his work. “They had a retainer on me, which meant I gave them a certain amount of images every couple of months. Everything started from there.”
Things really did escalate, even to where he got to work on a project with Arkitip. “I get to work on all kinds of projects, from editorial illustration to shoe collaborations, which is nice for me because I get bored easily,” he said with a small chuckle. “Sometimes I just need to get something different out.”
That need stems from his working alone more often now, something he’s still trying to get used to since leaving the more communal working environment at Art Center. His work also is very centered on nature and animals, he says. “I think, initially, it stemmed from my whole world being indoors. All the nature I saw was through glass, through a window. It was this want, since I was not going to the beach or out anywhere, that got me concentrating on nature. I still kind of feel that way so I try to get out as much as possible, to get something else besides concrete around me.”
He laughs, in a self-deprecating manner. “I sound like I’m all hippy and nature obsessed but I’m really not. I just get cabin fever and want the opposite of being inside.”
His current space–an Eagle Rock house he, his wife, and newborn daughter share–adds a lot to that, drawing him outside to work and get out of his head. It’s also much better than apartment living, which slightly isolated him. “My [old] place was just windows in the front and the back of it and it felt like a cave. It was super claustrophobic and dark. Here, this house is much better environment for me.”
“The way I approach my personal work is a little different these days.” he said of his process. “I go over and over things, everything is thought out and designed beforehand, little is left up to chance in the final piece.” he explains, adding in how he labors over sketches sometimes.
“A lot of my recent work has been a lot simpler.” he says, “I used to be looser with the images I created. Now, they seem almost stiff or rigid, full of meticulous parts within them. I have been using pen and ink and painting a lot more.”
“Space is a great thing,” he declares, referring to what the city has alotted him. However, Los Angeles was never on his mind when moving here and not really a
place he particularly cared for. “I ended up here mostly because I went to Art Center,” he explained. Besides living in Pasadena and Eagle Rock, he did spend a very brief amount of time in Westwood, which he explained as “totally different from Eagle Rock.”
“I really never pictured myself living in LA because I really didn’t understand LA,” he clarified. “LA was just too much to wrap my head around.” But, he does enjoy it. “It’s crazy how close you are to everything. Sometimes it can be a little claustrophobic–but it really is nice. Eagle rock is awesome, too.”
“Can I be totally honest?” he asked, “I do like living here. But, I miss the beach.”, his diehard surf enthusiast beginning to creep out. “I know that sounds stupid because the beach is here in Los Angeles as well. But, it’s different when you live a mile from the beach versus living here, in Eagle Rock. It’s an event to go to the beach.” But, that doesn’t mean that the city is without merit. “Living in LA has literally opened my eyes up because there is so much going on,” he says, “I’ve even become a bit of a foodie from living here.“
“LA is good for me right now,” he says with a smile. “There is just so much going on here all the time. It is definitely motivating. I’m sure I’ll be here for a while.”
For more on Andrew, be sure to check out his website for new updates. Editor’s Note: For Andrew’s portrait, we wanted to take it outside in his backyard. He–and our photographer, Justin–had the same idea: take his portrait in his very climbable backyard tree.