My work is cathartic, simply a reaction to life and my understanding of it. Impoverished, young, unprivileged, I was brought up learning some of life’s toughest lessons quickly and intimately. My paintings and drawings are a combination of my negotiations with life, morality, anxiety, depression, and a fascination with the emotional power of the human figure and its surrounding environment. My compositions contain crumbs of the everyday, of familial interactions, solitary walks in nature, of peace within circumstance, and utilise familiar motifs present within romantic painting and literature to create a dialogue with viewers that feels familiar and safe, but all the more unsettling and uncanny. My work seeks to show similarly, the beautiful and the tragic, while the precise and meditative nature of my practice allows me to tease out my own understanding of a given circumstance or form, before engaging with the viewer and having the dialogue anew.
My name is Andrew Elsten, and I am a figurative artist working primarily in charcoal and oil paint. I am originally from a small town in Michigan with more alpacas and horses than people, and so I discovered my love for the arts later in life than most. I am captivated by a great many things: classical art, literature, poetry, prog rock. All of these things shape the lens by which I view the world around me, and have contributed greatly to the way I make art as well. With my affinity for classical arts and classicists alike, I’ve always viewed art as something that should be just as moving as it is beautiful, and so, I send a lot of time trying to draw and paint the everyday with a kind of internalized poetry and melodrama in hopes that the mundane may be made as beautiful for my viewers as it is for me.