Andre Kan is a Toronto based painter. Since graduating from the Ontario College of Art & Design University in 2014, he has continued his creative pursuits as an Artist, Photographer, Curator, Producer, and Musician. His paintings have been showcased throughout Canada, with permanent collections in the U.S and China. His exhibition of new work, “Levels”, is presented by Project Gallery (1109 Queen St E) and runs from April 7th – 23rd, 2017.
How would you define or describe your style of work?
Loud, energetic paintings with an oddly calming undertone to it. I make a lot of these architectural “playscapes” that infer multiple viewpoints of a landscape. The paintings remain playful through their colour use, yet a level of complexity is still sustained in all of the works. Over the years, this maintained level of intricacy and underlying theme of interconnection have become a prominent characteristic in my work. Besides the obvious geometric aspects, I’ve been trying to push this conversation further in my paintings.
How has your art been influenced by architecture, and what are some of the other influences on your work?
Architecture plays a big role in my art because I’ve always been inspired by the possibilities of architecture, as well as the stories that come with it. The historical references that every building has and how those structures came to be interests me. In a way, buildings are also successful pieces of art that withstood the test of time. Finally, how the new developments of contemporary architecture dictate our future, and how things will one day be, are themes in my work.
Those are probably the main things that inspire my art in terms of architecture, but there’s a bunch of other things like music, friends, family, pop culture, netflix, psychological thrillers, cute animals; just life stuff, and being young. Those are probably the bigger inspirations that affect my daily art making.
Your new exhibition, ‘Levels’, contains pieces that look quite different than your previous works. How do you find your art, and artistic process, has evolved over time?
I think it’s all just human experience and how much time you’re willing to spend on something to get good at it. That’s part of it, but a bigger factor is allowing yourself to grow with your art so that the art is able to evolve on its own naturally. That’s something I’m still working on but is so fundamental in being an artist.
I’m glad you find it quite different than my previous stuff! I’m really hoping people see it that way. It’s still the same conversation but I think with less noise. ‘Levels’ talks about that more. Dealing with less noise, less colour, showing more possibilities, but still cohesive with my older work. That’s what the paintings are trying to do. But the whole idea behind “Levels” (which will probably be a continued project or continued body of work after this show) is about the multiple viewpoints of a landscape. In my previous works, a lot of my landscapes relied on a vantage point or two, and the optical possibilities that came with that. As broad as that might sound there’s still restrictions to it – for instance, a certain colour palette I wouldn’t use, being too minimal, or being able to paint things besides buildings. Those are some really big restrictions and “Levels” is about how the art is so much more then that now.
I love the colour palette of your works; retro contrasts and calming pastels – can you talk a bit about your colour choices?
Yes! Lately you’ll see less colour, maybe even a monochromatic colour palette later on. At least that’s the direction I think it’s going!
I’ve been trying to use less colour for a while now just because it’s been a challenge, so I’m into it. Over the past year, learning the whole “less is more” thing has been very interesting because it’s sort of a brain game.
Your works seem to portray a lot of explosive movement suspended in a moment. Can you elaborate more on these implosions or explosions of energy?
It’s definitely a big characteristic in the work – what energy, momentum and sporadic yet mathematical thinking does. That’s all important.
But I’m a pretty loud and awake person, so the “explosion of energy” is an accurate statement.
Your art really transports the viewer on an optical journey, into dreamlike terrain. What do you hope to evoke from the viewer when they experience one of your works?
Well, I want the viewer to perceive the works as surreal landscapes, maybe even psychological ones or a dream-like terrain. And I want the paintings to be graphic and bold. Those were always the main things at the back of my mind when making this work. The viewer understands it’s a portal into a cyber journey with the artist. But the viewer also understands a painting has stages to it, allowing them to arrive at some conclusion in how the artist made some of these structures. Thats what I’m hoping it evokes.
Who are some artists that inspire you the most?
Thanks to Instagram, nowadays my favourite artists always change! It’s always different like every few weeks. Of course I have a few main artists I’m always looking at or referencing (Daniel Deluna, Eli Bornstein, Frank Nitche, Jim Darling, Denyse Thomasos).
But recently some of my favourite artists (in no specific order) would probably be:
Oliver Vernon, Cinta Vidal, Morten Anderson, Vanessa Maltese, Chris Austin, Jerry Ugg (Birdo), James Olley, Howard Lonn, Joanna Gresik.
‘Levels’ will be on display at Project Gallery (1109 Queen St E) until April 23, 2017 and can be viewed during regular gallery hours, Wed- Sun 12-5pm.