Pro Artist Spotlight: Andrew Peña

Pro Artist Spotlight: Andrew Peña

Social media can be a helluva time-consuming distraction...fortunately, it can also be awesome for finding and connecting to artists you've never met.

Andrew came to our attention when he tagged us on one of his plein air sketches done on his Etchr Art Satchel, which he pledged for on our Kickstarter campaign.

What immediately caught my eye was his almost impressionistic simplification of shape and details + eye for color, yet with a very distinctive flat stroke that takes great advantage of texture. It was very cool and even cooler still is that his digital stuff captures a very similar energy.

His paint sketches were great and I also loved the very methodical layout of his tools in our gear (I am a neat freak myself...), so I wanted to find out a little more about him.

Turns out he's a pretty chill dude and I think he's got a pretty bright future ahead of him - as you get to know him, his zany art really does reflect his personality and wonderful attitude about life. It's pretty infectious and he comes across as the kind person you'd want to hang out with.

We hope you enjoy reading about his thoughts.

- Daz, Etchr CEO

Daz: For our readers who aren't familiar with you, could you give us a quick rundown of your professional background?

I am currently an Animator for a new-ish show on Adult Swim called “Dream Corp LLC”, which is a cross between live action and animation that I definitely recommend checking out. Season two just finished airing on Adult Swim!

I've also worked on some background and world building for an upcoming animation, a number of album covers and a music video for Utkarsh Ambudkar, and even a growing clothing design line called “Infinite Future Gear” that I have been with since the ground up.

I guess you could say I like to stay productive with all my time.

What mediums do you like to work with outside of work?

Outside of work I am constantly sketching and plein air painting. I go out at least two days a week for a few hours to different locations. I like to use watercolour and/or gouache during these outings.

Gouache is definitely a go-to these days for the on-site plein air paintings, whereas I prefer to sketch an underdrawing before using watercolours. Then head to a café and work from a photograph.  Each allows me to stretch a different muscle: quick and bold painterly brush strokes (Gouache) vs slow precise marks (watercolour).

How do you seek inspiration for your work? 

Honestly, as cliché as it may sound, inspiration comes from everything around me. I get inspired from being outside and looking at every facet of the world. That's why I'm always sketching or drawing in a different café, or city, or location during my free time. Each new place has its own life and vibe.

I also get inspiration from conversations I have with other people, especially if they are not an artist and I can learn things from them I never knew.

For example, I have a close friend that is a biology major and another that’s a botanist. The amount of things I learn from them is insane and it always finds its way into my art and concepts when I get back to sketching.

My favourite form of inspiration though is just doing. By this, I mean going outside and experiencing new things. Whether that’s a new hike, an escape room, a movie, a theme park, a bookstore, a museum, random road trips, or anything else out there. Basically, going out and experiencing life.

It's comfortable and safe being in your studio, so I get why a lot of artists stay indoors all the time, but it's really easy to grow stale because of this practice of staying in a comfortable environment.

The physical act of going to a new place and experiencing whatever comes from that new day is my biggest form of inspiration and will always keep me creating and wanting more in life.

What’s been your coolest outdoors/out of studio experience as an artist?

I think one of my most enjoyable and memorable outings was when I held “open invite” plein air outing with a fellow artist at Echo Park. Over 15 art heads gathered to paint and share with each other. I got the chance to meet so many new friends as well as reconnected with old ones that I hadn’t seen in a while.

There's just something about a bunch of artists that managed to drag their butts out of the safety of their studios into the real world to talk and paint with each's so refreshing. And addictive!

I will be doing another one again soon so keep an eye out.

Advice to aspiring artists?

I learned this from my dad as a child: kill the word “bored” from your vocabulary. Don’t think it and don’t say it.

It seems small and insignificant, but think of it like this: if in the entirety of your whole life, you're able to live without ever being “bored” then you are likely to never just be sitting there, wasting time and complaining that there's “nothing to do”.

There is always something to do or learn as an artist, whether it's sitting and sketching people at a café, staying in and meditating a bit, working on a new portfolio piece, or just heading off to a new location to adventure. There is inspiration and wonder everywhere you look.

We are artists. It's a privilege to be able to see the world the way we do - let's act that way.

Andrew Peña

Older Post Back to Blog & Art Tips Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.