“I want to find ways for art to change perceptions of banal things and things that are taken for granted”
AT: Where are you from and how/why you start engaging to art?
AR: I’m originally from Miami, Florida, and spent most of my childhood in South Florida. I started engaging in art because it felt logical. My extended family is somewhat of a mystery to me, but I had heard that some members were engaged in art and it felt like my birthright. I always had an analytical personality. I found myself taking things apart and putting them back together often. At some point I started turning that observational impulse into art.
AT: When did it become serious?
AR: It was always serious for me. I never liked the idea of hobbies. If I started something I invested. I received some encouragement in school and my investment ballooned from there.
AT: Are there any person that have been significant in your progression as an artist?
AR: I would say Bob Dylan was a big influence on my progression as an artist. I was perplexed and excited by the combination of imagery in his lyrics. I wanted to be able to recombine images like his songs did, and to weave political ideals into my work while maintaining the works own integrity.
AT: What’s your first approach to the work? Could you describe your practice?
AR: I devise methods of engagement for me to explore which usually yield several pieces that get finished around the same time. I try to find a methodology of construction that reinforces the narratives that I’m interested in at the time, so I end up with a body of work of all bent metal, and then a body of work entirely made of plastic shells, and then a body of work made of machine parts or computer renderings, etc. Materially, my work changes constantly, but the content almost always progresses from the last body of work, usually dealing with themes of transformation, collective fantasy, and common and mass-produced objects and imagery.
Installation view of solo exhibition, “Chassis,” 2017, Light bulbs, aluminum, plastic, electrical components, wood, high density foam, dimensions variable | Clima gallery, Milan.
AT: What do you want to reach with your work?
AR: I want to find ways for art to change perceptions of banal things and things that are taken for granted. Through my methods I create open ended narratives around thing-ness that make alternate realities physical, and in my new realities emotions, ambiguities, and desires are made more evident. In some way, when my work is successful, it is also creating a case for itself as a particular form rather than more ubiquitous products of visual culture.
AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?
AR: I enjoy using plasticine clay, but I also am growing more and more excited about basic drawing materials. I think I am drawn to these things because they are associated with planning or prototyping, and most of what I do is planning a technique for the work to be realized within.
AT: How do you feel while you are working? You think of the final result?
AR: While I’m working on a piece numerous things are made that I think of as artworks for myself. There are so many moments in the making of a work that are to me just as exciting as the final result, but they are ephemeral. I am thinking of my goal as I work, but I try to stay open to where those ephemeral works can lead me for later pieces. I take notes and process pictures as reminders.
AT: How do you understand when a work is finished?
AR: A work is finished when I can’t work on it anymore without it turning into something else.
Second Hand 2, 2019, Reactive dyes on cotton sateen, varnish, 100×73 cm | 39×29 in
Second Hand 1, 2019, Reactive dyes on cotton sateen, varnish, 100×73 cm | 39×29 in
AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from?
AR: My work comes primarily from observations. I notice tendencies in conversations with friends, my surroundings and current events, and I elaborate relationships between them and the content that I want to explore and processes I want to employ. I am also interested in alternative fictions where the author becomes implicated in the story.
AT: There are any artists who influenced your works? Why?
AR: Fischli/Weiss and Paul McCarthy come to mind. I love work with a transgressive quality and conceptual sculpture that reconstructs the familiar.
AT: How important is for you the role of social media?
AR: I don’t think it’s particularly important for me, but I do use it as a hub for information about my projects, which are dispersed across other channels.
Bernini Bobcat, 2019, Graphite on Shikoku surface Gampi paper, 18 x 23 in (framed)
Get Well, 2020, Graphite and UV Protected Varnish on Primed Gampi Paper, 30×20 in
AT: What’s your opinion about the contemporary art system nowadays from your point of view as an artist?
AR: I wonder what it would look like if it weren’t so fast paced. Every artist knows that time and space are your greatest assets but they’re hard to find.
AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?
AR: Being an artist is highly rewarding because you develop a way of seeing the world that appreciates aesthetic and material qualities throughout everyday life. And I appreciate combining resources in ways that may otherwise never work together without the pursuit of art. Reception is always daunting before it happens, at which point it is always rewarding so long as you actually wanted to make what you ended up with.
AT: What do you do outside of art?
AR: I watch horror movies and think about the metaphors in the tropes of the genre.
AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?
AR: I hope that the importance of art becomes evident to all people, and that maybe this comes at a time where success under capitalism isn’t also a determinant for life or death, access to healthcare, or the ability to live a comfortable life.
Auto-Didact, 2019, XPS foam, Aqua resin, pigment, PLA plastic & wood, 30″ H x 36″ W x 24″ D
Andrew Ross (b. 1989) is an American sculptor working across traditional and new media. His works examine the fraught relationship between objects and images in the digital age. Ross merges a broad range of art, historical, and scientific references into fragmentary constructions that combine figures, objects, and spaces with a nod to the metaphoric associations they elicit.