Esao Andrews

Esao Andrews

United States 1978

Pop Surrealism

Esao Andrews
Esao Andrews
United States
October 27, 2015
Aya received her MA in English Language and Literature in 2012. She likes dancing, traveling, cycling and spending time with her pets.

Esao Andrews makes dark and mysterious, yet warm and tender paintings of imaginary worlds. He works with oil paint on wooden canvas, and his technique contributes to the general feeling of warmth his canvases display. There are images of trees sinking into the ground, castles being attacked by monsters, little girls traveling alone, or riding a bike with the grim reaper. What he offers in his work is not a cohesive story. It pushes the audience into the deep contemplation where they can think of the story behind the images by themselves. Not lacking in essence, he shows us just the sequences of the larger narrative that is happening in the world beyond the visible. His colors are clean, the tone is dark, and the surface of the painting looks gentle and soft as velvet. Working on wooden canvas requires a steady hand and great skill, and this artist holds both.

Esao Andrews - Chelsea, 2010 (left), Poppies (detail) (right), 2010
Esao Andrews – Chelsea, 2010 (Left) / Poppies (detail), 2010, (Right)

Michievous Females and Twisted Worlds

Andrews was born in Arizona and he moved to New York in 1996. He graduated from School of Visual Arts, majoring illustration. Before dedicating himself to painting full time, he did illustration and flash animation, and still does it sometimes. He designed and illustrated skateboards in a collaboration project with the artist Tara McPherson for DC Comics. His artwork was exhibited worldwide, and he is quite popular among the alternative scene, where people are getting tattoos of his pieces and musicians are choosing his pieces for album covers. Andrew’s signature elements are beautiful, detailed painted women, often caught in a mischievous endeavor or in an unfortunate event. He is not trying to pursue morbidity at any cost; his ambition is to subtly emphasize the presence of darkness in nature. The darkness is neither violent nor dangerous; it is more of a literary kind, the one that announces its presence in giving mild goosebumps.

Timelapse video of Esao Andrews working on Spring Hare

Destination Nowhere

Andrew’s earlier series called Nowhere featured various mysterious females, fantasy creatures, and anthropomorphized animals. These characters are placed in an imaginary world, but they with real world emotions and events. Every single of his pieces can stand alone, acting out as an essay on life, hope, and resurrection. The source of his creativity, besides imagination and talent, is his desire to grow and evolve as an artist. That is the reason he puts his characters in difficult times of maturing, growing up and overcoming obstacles. The erotic moment in his art is never vulgar, it is there to show attraction and appeal of female figures in a fantasy world. The eroticism is not focused on their bodies, it is delicately exposed in their attitude, how they cope with the situation they are in.

Andrews combines different worlds and mixes them together in order to create a self-sustainable piece

2016 oil 2016 oil 2016 oil 2013 2011 sold print 200 2008 link 2013 2011 sold print 200 2008 link 2013 2011 sold print 200 2008 link Esao Andrews - Matrimony, 2014 (left), The Hiker, 2014 (right)
Esao Andrews – Matrimony, 2014 (Left) / The Hiker, 2014 (Right)

Eppilogue for the End of an Era

With the ambition of leaving an open door for every genre, Andrews incorporates many elements of gothic, macabre and pop-art. He combines different worlds and mixes them together in order to create a self-sustainable piece. However, his works together tell a coherent story. It could be a story about growing up, coming out of age, or coming home after years of wandering. The artist does not insist on finding the meaning and story behind everything. Looking at his work is like reading a fairytale, on every page there is a different story and characters are taking turns as protagonists. In his latest collection Eppilogues, he worked on making a closure. All the characters were on a journey, and they were ready to come home. Whatever their story was, it is now finished, and the ongoing narrative reached its peak and at the same time the completion.

The artist is represented by Jonathan Levine Gallery New York.

Esao Andrews lives and works in Los Angeles with his dog Soybean.

All images used for illustrative purpose only, courtesy of Jonathan Levine Gallery © Esao Andrews

YearExhibition TitleGallery/VenueSolo/Group
2014EpiloguesJonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2014Masterworks: Defining A New NarrativeLong Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CAGroup
2012NowhereThinkspace Gallery, Culver City, CASolo
2012LAX/HKGAbove Second Gallery, Hong Kong, ChinaGroup
2012Death and the Maiden Group ShowRoq La Rue Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
2012Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With MeCopro Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2011Art on the Edge 2011Vered Gallery, East Hampton, NYGroup
2011The Emergence of the Pop Imagist54th Venice Biennal curated by Jonathan LeVine and Giovanni Bonelli, Venice, ItalyGroup
2011SuggestivismGrand Central Art Center, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2010Solid VoidJonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2010DrawMuseo de la Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico City, MexicoGroup
2010Five Year Anniversary Group ExhibitionJonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2009Farewell AveryThinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles, CASolo
2008Inside Nostalgia (Three person show)Dorothy Circus Gallery, Rome, ItalyGroup
2008Separate Lives (Two person show)Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, NYDuo
2007Aqua Art Fair at the Aqua Hotel with Roq La Rue GalleryMiami, FLGroup
2006DrawFuse Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2006Breast Cast Charity AuctionReceiver Gallery with Keep a Breast Foundation, San Francisco, CAGroup
2006SubterfugeThinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2006Fresh MeatRoq La Rue Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
2006Three Waves of the ApocalypseCopro Nason Gallery, Culver City, CAGroup
2006Parallel UniverseRectangle Artspace, Miami, FLGroup
2005SamhainCopro Nason Gallery, Culver City, CAGroup
2005Permanent CollectionL’imagerie Gallery, Studio City, CAGroup
2005Vinyl KlashCPOP Gallery, Detroit, MIGroup
2005Monsters of Lowbrow: A New Art InvasionGreco Building, Miami, FLGroup
2005New ArtFuse Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2004The Flaming Fire Illustrated BibleCBGB Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2004War & Peace: The Art of PropagandaWoodstock Gallery of Art, Woodstock, NYGroup
2004The Explosive Art ExhibitFletcher Gallery, Woodstock, NYGroup
2004Fuss FreeObjex Artspace, Miami, FLGroup
2004Age of AquariusCopro Nason Gallery, Culver City, CAGroup
2004Art ShowdownCopro Nason Gallery, Culver City, CAGroup
2004Mortis Dabora IIDabora Gallery, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2004Meathaus MeltdownMeltdown Comic Gallery, Hollywood, CAGroup
2003Misfits and MisanthropesFuse Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2003New WorksDelphi Lounge Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2003New Urban Legends (Two person show)Fuse Gallery, New York, NYDuo
2003Decadence: The Largest Erotic Art ExhibitionNiagara, New York, NYGroup
2002BP Portrait AwardsNational Portrait Gallery, London, UKGroup
2002The Art of Esao Andrews and James JeanSuperCore Gallery, Brooklyn, NYGroup