Inspired by old Hollywood classics like Casablanca (1942) and To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), Andrea (Andi) Bozym brings an earlier era into todays world. She paints equal parts drama, glamour, and suspense into her work in a way that would make Humphrey Bogart proud. That is to say, it’s completely original, believable, and non-cheesy. As a young artist, Andrea’s contemporary take on an earlier era shows that borrowing from the past, doesn’t mean you can’t live in the now. Meet this week’s Artist You Need to Know.
Andi in the studio.
Why do you do what you do?
A: I’ve been doing art my whole life. I love to create and am constantly being inspired to make new pieces and I can’t imagine life without this creative outlet.
How does vintage cinema inspire your work?
A: Ever since I was a kid I’ve been enthralled with classic movies. Films like Casablanca, Rebecca, The Maltese Falcon, To Kill a Mockingbird and many more inspired me to draw people in the dramatic way that the characters in stark black and white films were portrayed. I find myself drawn the the way lighting hits a person’s form or face, so when starting a portrait for example I start with a person’s nose. It can create some dramatic shapes and shading.
If you could live in any decade, which would you choose?
A: Even though I like to paint people wearing classic suits and dresses from eras of the past, I would choose to live in this decade. We still have all these inspirations from previous generations but there is more equality and many different people are celebrated today than ever before throughout history. People are encouraged to be strong within their identity and I think thats a beautiful thing.
We really love your pieces that mix abstraction with figures, how did that start?
A: I like to paint portraits and figures in more of a realistic way, offset by bold colors and gestures of the space surrounding them. This is mostly due to the fact that I tend to finish a painting by finger painting. I like to get messy with the paint or whatever medium I’m using. I find that when I use my fingers instead of a paintbrush I get a unique effect with the paint that isn’t typical with the acrylic paint that I use. I like the abstraction of backgrounds and colors paired with the realism of a face
Horizon, 40″ x 30″ acrylic.
Do you listen to music while you create? What songs would we catch you listening to?
I love listening to music when I’m painting. I listen to all kinds of music, but classical music is my favorite genre to paint to. If I had to pick several songs that you’d catch me listening to they would be:
Ballade in G Minor – Frederic Chopin
Vanessa – Grimes
Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92 – Beethoven
The Villain – Austra
Gnossienne No. 1 – Erik Satie
E Lucevan le Stelle (from Tosca) – Puccini
Seasons – Future Islands
Take Me On – A-Ha
(I’m kinda all over the place with my music taste)
Walk us through your process in a few steps. Basically, how does a piece go from conception to finished?
A: I approach every piece I paint a little differently. I tend to just jump right in. I don’t map out the figures, so i start in the middle and work outwards. I think of painting kind of like sculpting, in the sense that I figuratively chip away at a subject until I have an image that I like and it feels natural for me to focus on another part of the piece.
How do you create drama in your work?
A: I work from a photo or from my imagination. I find myself being very inspired by different senses of lighting so I think that those touches add to the sense drama of my pieces. I also like to use bold color.
The artist leveling-out a painting for her show.
You’ve spent time in California and New York. Has anything about these environments that have influenced your painting?
A: I grew up in California and lived in San Francisco for 3 years while I was going to undergrad. But I moved to New York City a couple months after graduating and have been living in Harlem for almost 3 years now. I love New York because of the people and the fashion. It’s definitely a city that still holds the dramatic and stunning characteristics of the classic movies that I grew up loving and being influenced by.
If you could pick a muse from modern-day cinema, who would you choose and why?
I find that my muses for my art tend to be mostly old Hollywood actors and actresses, first and foremost Paul Newman. But a modern day muse of mine is Tom Hardy. I think that he’s an incredible actor and he reminds me a lot of the actors of the 40’s and 50’s. Like a modern day Humphrey Bogart.
Tom Hardy, British actor and Academy Award nominee. Makes sense.
What’s next for you? Plans?
A: As much as I love living in Manhattan, I have been applying to MFA programs in schools all over the country in search for another adventure and to fulfill my dreams of becoming a professor at a fine arts college.
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A Glimpse at Andrea’s Art
Marlene, 78″ x 48″, oil on paper.
Seedbed in the Sky, 40″ x 30″, acrylic.
Andi, 24″ x 28″, acrylic.
Concentration, 22″ x 28″, acrylic.
Impatience, 36″ x 36″, acrylic.
Spade and Chopin, 18″ x 24″, acrylic on canvas.
View Andrea’s full portfolio >