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Andrew Baines Artist

Australian based quasi-surrealist artist

About Andrew Baines

My story

 

For years, I struggled with the daydream of giving up my commercial art career and becoming a fine artist, a “real artist”. When you have kids, a house to pay off, bills, dogs, cats…the idea seemed a fantasy.

 

On weekends and after work, I grasped at the few hours and chased my dream, painting, sketching and marketing my art to local art galleries. I made some minor in roads but to have any success I had to put in considerably more time. 

 

Some nights after Jacqui had put the kids to bed, she would come out in to my studio and watch me paint. I would talk to her about my dream of becoming a real artist, painting everyday, exhibiting, attending openings, travelling and meeting noted and interesting people. I wanted it all, I desperately wanted the life of an artist!

I now hated my commercial career. I worked long hours for minimal pay, any creativity I tried to introduce in to my work was stifled by deadlines and budgets and I detested customers haggling over my prices. There seemed no light at the end of my commercial tunnel. I could feel myself slipping into a semi conscious existence, where life never changed, I was living my own ground hog day.

 

One night while painting, Jacqui seemed a bit different, wasn't really listening to me, she appeared preoccupied with more serious thoughts. “What’s up?” I asked. Jacqui replied “I think you should give up your commercial art work, I think you're wasting your life, you deserve a chance to chase your dream, I want you to go for it!” “What about the bills?” I asked. “I know we’ll struggle but I believe you can make it” She responded.

I felt anxious but at the same time excited, this was it, there were no more excuses, I was going to make my day dream a reality.

 

I lay awake most of that night rehearsing my farewell to commercial customer speech over and over in my mind. The next day, I spent all morning ringing my customers to tell them the great news, my calls weren't greeted with the same enthusiasm as were delivered. Some of my customers leaving the door open just in case things didn't work out. My decision was made, there was no turning back, for me it was do or die. There was one more call I had to make. I had decided If I was going for broke I would start at the top, so I made an appointment with the director of Greenhill Galleries Russell Starke.

 

I lay six paintings against the wall, Russell quietly studied them for a moment before saying “Yes, I like them. Anna come and look at these gorgeous paintings!” Russell then introduced me to Anna his gallery manager, “Surely a good sign?” I thought. Russell then announced, “Now, we have an opening this Sunday at one pm, we’ll find a bit of space for your work and see what happens?”

 

I arrived at one pm to the sight of a gallery spilling over with jovial, champagne wielding patrons. As I politely barged my way through, 

I eventually discovered my six paintings. Russell had found a strategically clever spot, they where hanging in a small space the size of a walk pantry, which on this occasion was being used to serve drinks, for anybody who hadn't the patience to wait for a waiter, so there was considerable action in my space! 

Every fifteen minutes, I would return to my space to check for red dot action. As the afternoon wore on I slowly lost faith, the front gallery had broken out in red dot fever! After an hour and a half I’d conceded defeat, I decided to make a quiet getaway. I had just stepped out the gallery door when I was suddenly grabbed by the upper arm. “Come with me my boy, I have something to show you” Announced a straight faced Russell Starke. I was being led back into my space? Don’t tell me a patron has thrown red wine all over my paintings in disgust but no, quite the contrary. I was greeted by one, two, three, four redder than usual dots! Russell gave me an oriental smile. “Come and see me Tuesday, when everything is back to normal” Russell said as he was dragged away by an elegant woman wearing a white flowing dress and dripping with gold.

 

As I stood in the now empty gallery space counting my red dots, I was engulfed by a comforting feeling of fulfilment and a realisation that this was what my life was about, it wasn't complicated, it wasn't hard, it was simply about creating and selling art, my art.

 

I’ve never looked back…

 

 

Recent career Highlights:

Award for inspired contribution to the United Nations Association Australia.

 

Judge of the 2016 & 2017 Walkerville Art Prize

Judge of the 2018  Goolwa Art Prize SA 

 

Commissioned to do the cover artwork for the Griffith Review 2018 Commonwealth Edition.

 

Commissioned by GOLDOC (cultural part of the commonwealth games) to create a surreal event for the 2018 Gold coast Commonwealth games. Titled “The Water Cooler Games”, 30 suits carrying briefcases & mobiles in a race along the beach & in the sea.

 

Collaborated with Holstein Australia, Frances Keevil Gallery & the East Sydney Business Chambers to put dairy cows in the sea at Double Bay. The event received international media coverage.

Recent exhibitions in the London Affordable Art Fair, Brussels Art fair, NY Affordable Art Fair & Lisbon Portugal. 

Commissioned by the United Nations Association of Australia To create a painting to be used on official UN envelopes to celebrate the UN’s 70th Birthday. 

Brolga Publishing published & distributed internationally Andrew’s first book entitled ‘Museum of my Mind’, a collection of Andrew’s photo, paintings & quotes

Short documentary Andrew wrote & produced titled The Existentialist  

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItLFEsHeXlI