About Grandma Anna
About Grandma Anna
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Above: Camping Out in Demon Country (Family Portrait during "The Teepee Era")
I call my work “Sophisticated Primitive” – “sophisticated” because of its subject matter and message – and “primitive” because it is sometimes raw and direct in its presentation. I am a self-taught, figurative artist, working in acrylics on canvas, paper, wood and masonite. Titles and narratives are of utmost importance to me and play a large part in my work – as do the use of humor, parody, and allusion. For subject matter, I draw from the imagination, dreams, jokes, family history, current or ancient events, famous people and paintings – it is all grist for the mill.
I often refer to my Polish ancestry in my artwork. One of my longest running series, Selling My Own Grandmother, revolves around my Polish grandmother, Anna Andryc, who has appeared in my work for more than 40 years. These paintings were featured in a solo show at the American Center for Polish Culture in Washington, DC, in 1997.
My grandmother serves as an archetype, the Baba Yaga in world cultures, as a symbol of the strength and imagination of the Immigrant –American experience. My grandmother’s spirit often saves me (and the world) with her cautionary tales and sage advice. On the other hand, she is sometimes a harbinger of the darker side of human nature. Her adventures – and misadventures – are not merely my own but touch upon the best and worst in the human condition. I am hopeful that her antics will bring joy and healing to a world seemingly gone wrong.
In some of my other paintings, I pay tribute to various artists and even rework their offerings. I try to inject some much-needed levity into an art world that oftentimes takes itself far too seriously. However, I try to do this lovingly and I don’t even spare myself.
Series such as: Final Masterpieces of Picasso, the Lesser (The Blue Period Re-painted); Not by Marc (Chagall); Scavenging from Rouault; are only a few examples of how I have altered – and learned from by parodying – some of the world’s most famous artworks. I think of it as being similar to the way musicians “cover” other peoples’ songs and literally “put their own spin on them.”
Many artists have influenced me. Some of my very favorites are: Chagall, Picasso, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Modigliani, and Henri Rousseau. I especially admire the painters of the Yugoslavian Primitive School; others are too numerous to mention.
In the end, not all of my paintings are irreverent or contain some heavy message or meaning – hidden or not. Some of them are just for fun and I had fun painting them, too. Be whatever as it may, my hope is that people enjoy my work, make art a vital part of their lives, and that I am able to continue doing what I believe I was born to do. Thank you.
- Michael Andryc
When Westside Studios went up in flames on Santa Fe’s West Alameda in 2012, Michael Andryc, was among at least a dozen individuals and groups displaced in the middle of the night. The event forced immediate change and growth in what was otherwise a comfortable (albeit rustic) environment. Andryc had resided and painted at Westside Studios for 26 years while living the life of an artist: painting, showing, selling in the out of doors, selling in galleries, engaged in the flow of art that infuses Santa Fe, Taos, Abiquiu, and all other towns New Mexican.
For Andryc, life in his beloved Santa Fe was at a turning point. Facing a higher cost of living, he could no longer afford to live there, create there, thrive there. So he did what many Santa Feans have done - he moved to the Big City, Albuquerque. Andryc “went indoors” to show and sell work and participated in five of the nationally-ranked festivals sponsored by Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Association.
At the same time, he became involved in two art venues on the “Loop” from Santa Fe, “up The Hill” to Los Alamos, through the Jemez Mountains, and to Albuquerque. He became an active member/artist at Jemez Fine Art in Jemez Springs where he regularly shows and sells his work in the main gallery. He also entered juried shows affiliated with Fuller Lodge Art Center in Los Alamos, NM. There, he has had work accepted into 12 themed shows each with distinct juries and culminating in a PORTAL solo exhibit in 2018, Haunted by Picasso thru the Streets of Warsaw. Also during this time, Andryc had two paintings selected by national and international juries, one in Taos, NM, the other in Providence, RI.
As his 70th birthday approaches on December 28, 2018, Andryc says he always wanted to be an artist or a writer and is grateful that he spent most of his life doing both. He grew up in Coventry, Rhode Island, in a Polish-American family of six children. In taking this path, he was heavily influenced at an early age by his mother, a homemaker, and his father, a florist and a natural storyteller who held artists and writers in high regard. His father always wanted to go out West, but it so happened that he was never able to realize that dream. But after graduating from Rhode Island Junior College with a degree in English, Michael did just that and moved out West himself – living at various times in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. He settled in northern New Mexico in the early ‘80s. There he and his young family lived in a teepee while building a stone house on an acre of land in the high mountains.
Still living the dream and following his star, Michael Andryc says he hopes always to be considered “an emerging artist” and hopes to continue painting the best work he can in the time remaining.
Artist Studios Burn
by T. S. Last/JOURNAL Staff Writer/September 1, 2012