“When I see really good artists, I’m really jealous,” adds Andy. “I’m always ambitious to be better than I am today. Besides, everybody seems to know my painting of the Presidents sitting together swapping stories, but in the art world nobody knows who I am!”
Andy describes himself as a diligent and hard worker. He has a daily routine that helps him be productive. A late riser, he begins his mornings around ten with coffee and the paper before going upstairs to his studio. At 11:30 he breaks for lunch, and then paints until dinner at six followed by time to relax. He concludes his final painting session of the day around midnight.
His late-into-the night work schedule today, Andy says, is a carry-over from his time working his day job at Leggett & Platt while attending night school for five years to earn his BS degree in marketing. Though surely sleep deprived, he graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Missouri Southern State University.
Andy credits his mentors Ted Watts and Chet Wilson for keeping him from growing up to be a bum. At seventeen he begins his sixteen year career at Leggett & Platt. Before digital technology was the norm, he spent ten years in communications and graphic design learning all the ins and outs of his job in the printing industry. He especially enjoyed mastering hand lettering and calligraphy while working with various type fonts.
During his Leggett & Platt years, Andy paints at home in his off hours always knowing he wants to be a full time artist. He meets and admires local legends: Lowell Davis, Bob Tommey and Jerry Ellis. They’re making their livings painting full time and supporting their families. He’s inspired and thinks, “I can do this, too!”
Meeting his wife and muse, Dina, makes the difference. Dina believes in his talent and his ability to succeed. She’s willing to take the financial risk, while he’s unwilling for her to take an uninspiring job to pay the bills and cover their insurance. Andy’s committed to working with Dina in a partnership of equals.
As they started out, once Andy and Dina decide to take the chance for his success, they make a plan. They save enough money for a two year cushion and set up their small business. They load Andy’s body of work to travel and they hit the art fair circuit. Quickly they learn selling art isn’t as easy as they hoped. More than once as many as 75,000 people see Andy’s work at an art fair, yet the artist and his partner return home without selling a single painting. They know they have to get better. They do.
Together they challenge each other. Andy grows and refines his painting skills. Overnight Dina increases
sales by simply adding a feng shui element to their ten foot display booth. Through the years they find with their diverse talents they’re perfect business complements.
Dina, acting as business manager, affords Andy the opportunity to be the nice guy. She says her personable and friendly husband will talk on and on to anyone about anything. She gives Andy some good advice that every artist needs to hear: “Modesty and self-criticism don’t sell a painting. If you can’t say something nice about your art, don’t say anything at all!”
Andy’s advice to painters aspiring to succeed: “When you’re able to make a living painting, then you’re a success! You’re successful because you keep going. You have to want to be better. A positive attitude goes a long, long way. Put on a happy smile and surround yourself with positive thinking and positive speaking people. I learned this from my mother, Olive. She’s always cheerful.”
For the love of art, cheer your heart and lift your spirit. Visit artCentral’s spring exhibition “Art Speaks” on view in our elegant Hyde House during weekend gallery hours and by appointment through March 18, 2018. Admission is free. Call (417) 358-4404 for information.