EK Interview: Andrea Joseph

Andrea Joseph proves the pen is mightier. Our own Konahrtist featured her work here. We asked her for an interview and she replied ‘sure but I’m busy for the next three months working on a time machine so I can go punch a Tyrannosaurus Rex in the face’. I asked her if she was worried about creating continuity paradoxes, she told me not to worry about ‘all that sciency bullshit’. Back from her trip to the Late Cretaceous period here is her interview:

Did you go to school for art?
Nope. No training.

How do you think being self-taught has made you a better artist?
Hmmmm. It’s hard to say. The only thing I can thing of is that being self taught means that I have not been exposed to the external influences of working in a class, group or under tuition. It’s an insular way of working that could be seen as a negative thing but personally I quite like that.
art blog - Andrea Joseph - Empty Kingdom

When did you decide that you would use ink and paper as your preferred medium?
I guess I just came to that realisation after much practice. I did think, way back, that I should probably be using pencil. I thought my work would be suited to the graphite pencil. And, I thought that I probably should not be using ballpoint. But after practice both of those ideas went out of the window. I’m not a fan of pencil at all. I enjoy seeing other people use it but it’s not for me.
I used to do a bit of painting too, but it seems an awful lot of faffing around. I’m a bit lazy like that and can’t be bothered with washing brushes and all the setting up process that painting involves. And, anyway I always ended up drawing with the paintbrush as opposed to painting with it.

Have you experimented with other media?
Yep, as I’ve said; pencil, paint and I did study ceramics for a little while. I’m always experimenting creatively. I can’t be anything but creative. I’m hyper-creative to the point of obsessiveness and often to the detriment of other areas in my life.

I do use colour pencil quite a lot. All my colour work is done with colour ballpoint and colour pencil.
art blog - Andrea Joseph - Empty Kingdom

What advice would you give a beginning artist?
I don’t like giving advice cos I’ve just stumbled upon all this myself. I don’t think I’m qualified. And it all sounds so clichéd.

Tell us about yourself.
I’m from Wales. A small dark industrial town which was also the hometown of Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins and Michael Sheen – who I sat next to in my junior school (Michael Sheen, that is).

I now live, and draw, in Derbyshire, England. I like the hills around here. I live to draw. I think about drawing all the time. I have ideas running through my head always, from when I go to bed at night to when I wake in the morning.
art blog - Andrea Joseph - Empty Kingdom

What is your artistic process?
I don’t like distractions. I am not a public drawer. I am too self conscious. I like to be alone, usually sat in the armchair in my living room. Give me some paper and a pen and I’m off.

What are your sources for inspiration?
I am a big music fan. And I love illustration. They rock my world. Music is one of my biggest inspirations. Most of the music I obsess over comes from the 60’s and 70’s. I like a lot of the British music scene from around that time. I love the Who, the Smallfaces and, of course, the Beatles. I’m a hardcore Paul Weller fan. The whole Mod scene is a big influence on me, from the style to the music. The 60’s has been a bit of an obsession since I was a kid. I also love a lot of the West coast stuff that was coming out of US at that time. I’m a Neil Young geek. But I just love great songwriters from all eras.

I love art too. I’m a big fan of the Pre Raphaelites. I loved their attention to detail. And also Pop Art, specifically the stuff coming from the UK in the early 60s. Peter Blake is a hero of mine. And, of course, illustration. If I had the time I could easily spend hours, days, on the internet seeking out beautiful illustration. Children’s books are a passion too. Good children’s books, that is.

But, you know, I think inspiration comes from everywhere. From what you happen to be reading to your friends, from the weather to the big pile of dishes that needs washing. At the end of the day it’s the everyday stuff that inspires me the most.
art blog - Andrea Joseph - Empty Kingdom

Can you remember a specific moment that you found the inspiration for a piece?
Yeah, I can get inspiration for drawings in many ways. Mostly it’s an organic thing and will start with some words or lyrics or an idea and it’ll wallow around in my head for a time until I have to draw it. But now and again a drawing will just pop into my head fully formed.

That happened with this drawing. I was driving on the motorway. It was on a long drive back home. I was listening to Johnny Cash ‘Hurt’. Then ‘ping’. I saw this drawing – all the components, the black background, everything. I got home and put it down on the paper.

Can you describe the ideas or emotions you’re trying to convey through your art?
I really don’t try and convey anything. I think that just happens. When you have found your voice that just happens naturally. People have often told me that my work makes them feel emotional and that is the greatest compliment I could imagine. If my work can touch another person then I’m doing something right. I don’t know how that happens but it makes me feel good.
art blog - Andrea Joseph - Empty Kingdom

What reactions and responses have you gotten to your art?
The response I’ve had to my work has been so over whelming. I started drawing again about four and a half years ago, when I first started my blog. The response, almost from the get-go, was a beautiful surprise to me. I didn’t think I had any particular skill back then. It’s certainly encouraged me to continue although and there’s any stopping me now. I feel humbled daily by the messages and comments I receive.

Who are some artists that you are following?
I don’t really have the time to follow anyone in particular anymore. There are SO many people doing such great work. You have to wade through the crap to find it sometimes, but you’ll always find amazing artists creating amazing work.
art blog - Andrea Joseph - Empty Kingdom

Who are some of your influences?
All the musicians I listen to.

How do you think they have affected the work you’ve done?
I feel it’s given it texture. I’m not sure how else to explain it, that’s how it feels.
art blog - Andrea Joseph - Empty Kingdom

How do you see your field of work changing in the future?
Obviously the internet and technology has changed everything over the last couple of decades. Who knows what’ll happen to the publishing industry. I don’t know what’ll happen to the book but I hope they’ll always be around. There’s something about paper that’s lost when reading or viewing on a device. But then I’m a book nerd.

I do believe that the zine world will thrive. It’s just a hunch. Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking!

What is the best kind of pizza?
Anything that’s loaded with chillies.
art blog - Andrea Joseph - Empty Kingdom