One day last fall, 'Easy Does It' was no longer being tagged in bathrooms all over San Diego. The Blackout Party lost their bass player, Irradio lost their keys and Ocean Beach lost a prolific artist. Last October, Andrew Heine left San Diego to start anew in the Bay Area. We caught up with Andrew to ask him about his art, his latest projects and the seeds he's planting in San Jose's burgeoning Art & Music community.
You tend to dive into either music or painting for 6 months spurts, why do you think that is?
I find more success/enjoyment when I periodically change my entire life. I think it's the same reason you're supposed to exercise different muscles on different days of the week. The art-muscle I am currently working out is engineering, specifically in mechanics.
Why are you so interested in drawing people's faces?
The human face is something we've all seen more than probably anything else. And they're all so similar - much more similar than are, say, buildings. So we're trained to notice very minute details as cues to emotion, history, etc. I like drawing faces because any little variation in a line gives the person a different story. All these little variations are basically random when I first lay them down in a drawing, so there's also an element of excitement for me. I'm eager to see who comes out.
How come your faces are mostly tendons?
There's this word game I saw in a coffee shop once. It was a paragraph of text, with the first and last letter of every word in the right place, but with all the letters in between all jumbled up. The weird thing is that you can read the paragraph perfectly, as if it wasn't changed. When I draw a face, I do the same thing. I put the main parts in the right place - eyes, nose, and mouth - and I sort of jumble up the flesh in between. They look like tendons because I am interested in experimenting with sort of a mechanically minimalistic structure. I like imagining the tension and the balance.
How do you choose what words to put on your paintings? Are some of the words made up?
While I am working on a painting, usually a word just pops into my head and I see it in a particular space in the painting. Sometimes it's a traditional word and sometimes is a brand new word that seems to me to already have certain intrinsic connotations. Either way, once it pops into my head that's it - there's no decision-making process.
Will you please make a piece of artwork relating to Bucky Fuller's Dymaxion Map? (Describe the map for those who are confused.)
Buckminster Fuller saw that all maps are both out of proportion and Euro-centric. They divide the world into separate land masses with oceans in between. He created the Dymaxion World Map with the continents in perfect proportion to reality (Europe seems to shrink considerably), and laid out in such a way that all the land on Earth is generally connected as one island. He used this map to show that if we created a worldwide electrical grid (which could be done by land with the existing 1500 mile range between power plants), there would be no "peak time" power costs, and power plants would not have to have all the back-up generators they currently have that remain mostly unused except in the hottest days of summer. Currently the US Secretary of Energy, Stephen Chu, is working on the same grid for use in the Continental United States. Maybe I'll make a poster to help the cause. Thanks for the idea-
We heard you have a series of photos you are putting together regarding the inauguration. Can you tell us about those?
I was watching the inauguration on small black and white TV set at our house and "recorded" it by taking iPhone pictures. I plan to put all the pictures together for a show.
Some of your art is political in nature. What's the story on that?
I love a good discussion, and art is a good conversation starter. Democracy is a form of self-government fueled by street-level political discussion.
Besides machines, what's next with art?
I'm thinking about making wind chimes.
Why is art an important part of your daily routine?
I like new things, and art is making something new.
How is the art/music scene in the South Bay?
Good, some of it is in our living room.
Favorite book? "Critical Path" by R. Buckminster Fuller.
Best thai food in San Diego? Amarin Thai, Hillcrest.
What do you miss most about San Diego? Chad's house.
Favorite artist Norcal/Socal? Eric Taggart / Knorphus Zortorch
What have you been working on lately?
I have been working on a system designed to fully process all electronic equipment in order to recover as much value from our technological waste as possible - the current blueprint is for a 30,000 lb/hour system recycling with 95% effectiveness. I have been paring down my belongings in order to approach a maximally-efficient lifestyle. I have been brainstorming machines that I plan to build, mostly related to automating non-creative tasks. I have been developing a plan for an Art Farm, which is a neighborhood of friends who will utilize both nature and technological achievement to create a zero-cost-of-living lifestyle focused on education, invention, and natural, tangible, work. I have been studying the writings of Buckminster Fuller with the intention of realizing his dream of a fully integrated "Spaceship Earth" that uses all current and soon-to-be-available technological advances to produce a US-level middle-class life for all of humanity at one tenth the present-day cost. I have also spent a great deal of time walking through the cemetery next door to our apartment and studying the tombstones aloud to myself, which has been documented as an audio art project.
A Video Interivew and more Live Drawing can be viewed here.
To see more of Andrew's work, visit his 'Fan Page' on Facebook.