Words by: DukeDuRock
The incomparable artwork of Andrew “Android” Jones has become an integral part of The Do LaB’s Lightning in a Bottle (LIB) Festival going back to its earliest days. The innovative artist has fully embraced the family aspect of the event by collaborating with many of his fellow performers at the festival, such as his now next-door-neighbor Random Rab, whom Jones most recently worked with on creating the stunning album artwork for Rab’s latest, “Visurreal.” At LIB 2011, Jones unveiled his mind-blowing series entitled, “Night Rainbow,” which entranced festival-goers with its eye-popping use of colors and Jones’s notoriously intricate details running rampant throughout each piece.
“I’ve been making art at LIB since 2007 and every year there is more to draw upon,” shared Jones during a break from his recent “Night Rainbow“ showcase in London. “The art is cool and the music is great, but what drives me is seeing and being around so many people that I love all at once. When you are surrounded by other artists who are operating at high potentials and giving it their best, it naturally elevates everyone’s ability to create. I remember when LIB was a small intimate gathering in the woods. It was truly romantic. I fell in love with all of the people back then and every year it only evolves and grows stronger. I make the best art for the people I love and I make my favorite art when I feel that energy in return.
“The ‘Night Rainbow series‘ is an extensive new body of work that I had created during my first independent ‘Digital Art Road Tour,’” Jones added of his latest artistic endeavor. “The Night Rainbow is also the name of my mobile digital art studio which is a converted decommissioned military box truck. I equipped it with an electrical generator, a sound system and several high-powered projectors. The Night Rainbow helped support a caravan of renegade underground digital artists that made up my crew. We traveled along the west coast where LIB was our first tour stop. We set up a live digital art/sound stage as well as installations at each venue, which was where I worked on adding to one continuous work of art throughout the entire trip. So ‘The Night Rainbow series’ is the collective body of work from this tour and it may be viewed as an integral whole or as individual pieces.”
Becoming “Android” Jones
The moniker “Android” may serve to be the perfect reflection of Jones’s futuristic style, but the name also acts as a poignant reminder from the artist’s past as well.
“It’s taken on many meanings over the years but a lot of it dates back to the first time I had my mind blown,” Jones shared. “I underwent major brain surgery at eleven years old and without the precision of CAT scans and the technical advances in modern neurosurgery, we would not be having this conversation. I am literally a product of technology as I owe the last 23 years of my life to it. So the half-man, half-machine metaphor became a fitting reminder of my mechanical debt.”
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Striking the Fire of Imagination
Jones puts countless hours and expounds endless energy into personalizing each of his pieces. He created the Night Rainbow mobile to specifically serve as his new “home” studio, and now he can embrace his creativity no matter what setting he may find himself in.
“Each work I make is unique and I employ a variety of techniques and creative strategies to create my results,” Jones shared. “Often before I begin I will spend hours collecting and curating a collection of new images, shapes and patterns that may have a particular relevance to my mood, emotions and inspiration. Next is music. I select a playlist that will enhance the emotions that I want to infuse in the work. The tempo and BPM will have a direct effect on my mark making, stroke pressure, or pattern selection. The playlist may possibly be the most influential decision I make.
“I then establish the pixel parameters of my canvas as I stare into the white infinite abyss for a moment to define my place in time and space,” Jones added. “Early strokes are often dynamic and intuitive and the marks become more intentional and specific as the work evolves. The trial and error and chances of the new brushes are exciting for me because it always keeps the art interesting and maintains a sense of wonder that is a crucial component to striking the fire of imagination.”
To achieve the incredibly detailed artwork that he’s become known for, Jones pulls from his artistic upbringing but also embraces technology while feeding off of his strong spirituality.
“I was trained using charcoal, graphite and paintbrushes,” Jones explained. “If you’re painting a still-life or a plaster-cast and time is not an issue, then it is a wonderful practice and discipline to use brushes and pencils. But when I have a dynamic environment with throbbing sound and a landscape of constantly shifting lights, bodies and colors to draw inspiration from, pigment and synthetic animal hair just doesn’t do it for me anymore. It creates a bottleneck from what my mind wants to express through the limitations of what a limited tool set can reproduce.
“I often attempt to view my work and its place in the several thousand year long conversation of art history,” Jones added. “I’m constantly fascinated by the nature of creativity and the mind’s relationship to the definition of shapes and symbols that comprise a framework for meaning. The tools that I harness in my creative process allow me to paint with an endless variety of patterns, shapes and images which I strive to arrange in novel combination until an intentional, or more often than not unintentional, narrative begins to emerge.”
Want to learn more about this innovative artist? Stay tuned for the second part of our interview with Andrew “Android” Jones, where he’ll discuss his creative evolution and up-coming plans for 2012, including Lightning in a Bottle!