A young, upcoming artist with a passion for architecture and abstract painting is creating waves in Cayman’s art industry.
Andrew Christian, 18, was the featured artist at The Ritz-Carlton’s “Land and Sea” art exhibition last Tuesday. At the event, Mr. Christian was happy to talk about his parents, his paintings and his artistic inspirations, alongside 42 other local artists and guests.
Since the age of two, Andrew had been exposed to the art world through his father’s involvement and has developed a keen eye for interpretation and expression.
His father, Chris Christian, is a well-known local artist with an impressionist style. He was self-taught and then trained at an art school in Canada. He draws inspiration from his memories of Cayman. He is proud to say that his son has developed his own style over the years.
The younger Mr. Christian feels that a great piece of art intrigues the mind and insinuates thoughts; it leaves the mind forever pondering the true message behind it.
“Clearly my dad was my biggest inspiration – but one thing that really got me inspired was when my dad’s friend, Al Ebanks, an abstract artist, came by and purchased a small painting I had done for $250,” he said.
Mr. Christian was only 5 when the abstract painting, “Egg Yolks,” was purchased by Mr. Ebanks.
“He saw what I had done and wanted to inspire me to do more painting like it, so he purchased it. For me, that was a lot of money for a small painting,” Mr. Christian said.
After that Mr. Christian said he started taking art a bit more seriously but got out of it for a while. It was not until the first children’s art show happened at The Ritz-Carlton that he would head back to the drawing board to work hard and create something new.
“It was really interesting putting art in the art show,” he said.
At age seven Mr. Christian painted eagle rays.
He was offered $3,000 by a buyer but his parents, Chris Christian and Trina Savage, would not allow him to sell it. They encouraged him to hold on to it because it was the first painting that he had put up in the gallery.
At the time, Mr. Christian said the money seemed like the best thing that could happen – but now he thinks it is kind of cool that he has something to look back on to see how far he has come.
He said he choose the medium of eagle rays because he was interested in painting realistic scenes and he loved the colors of the water – of turquoise, greens and blues. His favorite color is blue.
“I wanted something that I could paint that would capture all the colors of the water found by Cayman reefs and being that Cayman seawater is one of my favorite subjects,” Mr. Christian said.
Mr. Christian’s most recent painting, a 48 by 60-inch abstract of a subliminal image – a face on a black background – recently sold for $6,000 at The Ritz-Carlton. Mr. Christian has sold more than $20,000 worth of paintings, which he said will go toward college.
“I always saw painting as a hobby and pastime. Then again, I always thought that if I could make a career doing art it would feel like retirement to have a career out of just doing art,” Mr. Christian said.
If you have a goal, he added the best thing you can do is start to pursue it, even if it seems like something is out of reach or impossible.
“The more you work creating it, the more opportunities fall into place, it has given me opportunities to meet many people, clientele and connections that can help make my dream become a full time career.”
Mr. Christian said his main goal is to become internationally recognized for his art.
In 2012, his art was donated to make holiday cards, with all proceeds going to the Cayman Cancer Society charity. In 2013, he won the prestigious Walkers Art Competition, raising $5,000 for his school’s art department. During his last year of high school, he won the “Artist of the Year” award given by the National Gallery.
Since graduating high school this year, he has built an art studio with his dad in West Bay and is making painting his full-time job for now.
During his last year of high school, he said he was stressed at times, but it calmed his mind to think – “If only I can be painting right now.”