Artist Andrew DosSantos is not a man of many words but he uses his art to speak and he has created a niche in Guyana and even internationally through his remarkable work, painting and more so with his graphic designs.
In 2010, Andrew graduated from E R Burrowes School of Art, majoring in painting and minoring in graphics and he has not looked back since.
Andrew, like most children, began by drawing stick fingers; a little stick boy or girl and by Primary Two while attending Cove and John Primary, he entered into his first competition. But art, according to Andrew, was not so much of a big deal for him them. It was when he began attending Cove and John Secondary that things changed.
In 1997 when the movie Titanic movie was released, Andrew sat in front of his television soaking it all in and the part where Leonardo DiCaprio supposedly did a pencil drawing of Kate Winslet sparked his interest.
While at school, he had found a way to make money and instead of drawing for free for classmates, his drawings usually came with a price attached. Agriculture was probably one of his favourite subject periods, though he didn’t say. According to the artist, he knew that specific class period came with all sorts of animals to be drawn and classmates who needed help getting theirs done.
Although Titanic may have sparked his interest in wanting to better his drawings, he never thought to pursue art as a career until during his time at the Government Technical Institute. “I used to do engineer drawing at GTI and from doing mechanical drawing and three dimensional, that gave me a fair idea that this thing has more than one side and it’s not just flat,” Andrew said. He added that it was during one of the sessions that a teacher, on seeing his drawing, encouraged him to attend Burrowes.
This he did after completing GTI but started part time for the first year as he had a job by then. But the he realized that he needed to give more time to it and quit his job to continue his remaining three years full time.
Andrew did not only have a passion for learning art, but a passion for learning and after graduating from Burrowes he thought to advance his skills in the graphics sector, doing courses at Global Technology.
His biggest break was a piece called ‘Broom Seller’.
Andrew is inspired by Jorge Bowen Forbes and Josepha Tamoya. “I’m inspired by Bowen Forbes because he’s a ‘colourist’. He paints [memories] from way back. With that he inspired me somewhat and for that reason I was doing some research in the whole aspect of palette knife painting and the expression of colour though sometimes, you don’t see the colour. In reality the application of colour and perspective is an asset in painting a good picture. Josepha on the other hand is one of my past teachers in the art school. She’s very good in drawing and watercolour and even sculptures to some extent though I’m not really into sculpture so much. She draws a lot of floral and that gives me the interest in getting the technique of these subjects to perfection,” he told The Scene.
Andrew is also inspired by artist Maylene Duncan’s work. “She did a lot of moonlight scenes and her style is like no other. Her application, even in her pastel work, she did a lot of lighting aspects. I really wanted to meet her but unfortunately she passed away the same year I was planning on meeting her. I’ve to do my research now since I was unable to do a one-on-one with the artist,” he added.
But for all his talent and hard work, Andrew still runs into challenges from time to time. “[One] of the challenges I face is not having market for my stuff. There is hardly a market for artists and it’s only the passion for art that drives a person to keep doing this.” Getting the materials is another challenge as it’s rather expensive and yet when “you charge persons they think you’re asking for a jewel and a crown,” he said.
“I did some murals once for a guy who lives abroad. After I finished the painting the guy only paid me part. He later told me to come collect the rest. When I turned up he was talking with someone and just looked at me and said nothing, he totally ignored me. I never got the rest,” he said. To avoid this happening again, he usually charges fifty per cent upfront.
He shares the view of many other artists that Guyanese are not as supportive of or interested in art, and it’s actually foreigners who support the industry.
He believes once the tourism sector is boosted, the art industry would be helped a great deal because tourists are many times looking for art. This he added would not just help Guyanese artists but the economy as well.
A member of Victoria Seventh Day Adventist Church, Andrew added that if God allows him his part time business, Resolutions Graphics, will start operating full time.
He took the opportunity to admonish aspiring artists to know what they want to major in because if they do not have it figured out they would be all over the place but once they are specific in the area they want to pursue a career in then they will see their work progress.
Andrew is currently working as a gallery technician at the National Art Gallery, Castellani House, restoring and managing the national collection there. He’s also linked to an overseas based company in the States doing layouts and emails.
Among the list of entities he’s done work for here are: King’s Jewellery World, GTT, Fazia’s Collection, the Guyana Conference of the Seventh Day Adventists and Wartsila.
For paintings, flyers and calendars and banners find Andrew on Facebook.