Existent within are double-brains with top hats and long cigarrettes, not to be outmatched by a conglomeration of foods that reveal utter malaise. Even winged hearts with hands and people made of clouds are part of the possibilities. Andrew Riggins is always looking for new modes, methods, and angles for creating something in the image of his most recent great idea.
Collage, digital, photography, and apparel are all part of his repertoire, with each new update containing news about his latest favorite tool. He is one of those artists who can think across applications and bring things to life via computer, scissor, or lens. IPMM first linked up with his apparel company, Krank Empire, when we printed the 2nd round of Mandala Logo T-Shirts. After getting to know the quality of his apparel and printing projects, IPaintMyMind delved into Andrews’ personal artwork and were thoroughly impressed.
It’s the versatility he exhibits that peaks our interest most. Regardless of the tool, Andrew is intent on deriving and constructing his own meaning from what he sees in the world. His collages take visceral content and kick it up several notches, overloading the senses with food en masse, giving one that feeling you get when you’ve had enough food for 15 people. Whether lines drawn in hard drives for perusal on screens, or amalgamations of breasts, produce, and saws, Andrew Riggins is clearly resolute in his desire to actualize his own interpretations. The questions and quality involved in the resulting work are certainly a bonus. Ahead, we catch up with the dude behind Krank Empire, a dedicated artist who’s certainly helping keep Austin weird.
EL: We were glad to be able to meet up when you came through Chicago, Andrew! How was that trip, I know you hit up a few locations.
Andrew Riggins: The trip was quite nice. It was the first time I had been to Chicago as adult. I was able to explore some neat spots, museums, etc. – as much as I could for an extended weekend anyway.
EL: Your art is all over the map, and I mean that in a good way. Various types of collage, digital works, photography & light. What do you spend the most time on? Which comes most naturally to you?
Andrew Riggins: Collage is the foremost consumer of my time and resources. The large collage pieces take up most of my art time with the smaller ones acting as a reprieve from the monotony of achieving whatever theme I’ve embarked on. The digital photography is the least planned and in my opinion the most disposable.
EL: It’s gotta be fun being creative in a place like Austin, TX. How does the city facilitate creative output? People seem to flock there to start a band, make great art, or cook great food.
Andrew Riggins: Austin is the liberal dot in a huge state of deep rooted conservatism. I was raised in Dallas but came here after school. I should say more escaped. Austin breathes fresh air into this stagnant south tip of America. There are more creative outlets and venues in Austin but there are also way more artists. Competition is stiff but support, culture and community thrive.
EL: Instead of put words in your mouth, tell us more about the idea behind “Land of Plenty”…
Andrew Riggins: Land of Plenty is made entirely from original food ads from 1960’s magazines. While looking through these for source materials I was struck by the contrast from food ads then and now. Today, it’s all about the packaging, the label and most importantly, the logo of the company and/or product. Fifty years ago, it was about the food itself, even though you see the beginnings of the throw-away food culture that permeates today, emphasize on frozen and quick-to-make food products. For example, on one page there is a wholesome, rather large, say 5″ in diameter, detailed, juicy orange hanging off of non-contextual leaves and stem, all photo-realistic in beaming color. This would be followed by an ad for frozen pizza with what looks like – an actual slice of frozen pizza – lacking depth, thin, sporadic cheese, minced undetermined meat bits with crust that looks like a stale cracker. And these are touted as equally healthy – the fresh food and the frozen, processed product.
The point I’m getting to is these ads are the foundation for the glut and backwards food culture that the vast majority Americans currently find themselves in. But of course I am aware of the multitude of factors contributing: no viable alternative to a corporate chain, or no grocery stores at all, not being able to afford decent food after paying rent on minimum wage and finally simply a complete dismissal of healthy eating regardless of income – apathy.
EL: How long did it take to complete that? What was the process like?
Andrew Riggins: The cutting took about a month of a few hours a night. I would leaf through every magazine I had, cutting out whole pages that contained the appropriate photo and color scheme I was looking for. Then I went through the pile of whole pages and cut down the actual image I wanted. After I cut each they were sorted into “red”, “white” and “blue” boxes. I glued the stripes and star background down quickly after finishing cutting, but stalled the completion of the rest of the stripes to buy the epoxy coating that sits in between the red stripes and on top of the white as well. Then, as things go in my studio, it got pushed aside for almost a year before I decided to finish it in a weekend. Funny how upcoming shows motivate.
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