Andre Woolery is an internationally know artist whose art lives at the intersection of black culture, history and digital media.
It’s expression that is my gift to the world, and that gift should be accessible to all.
ENM: Everybody has magic; what is yours?
My creative mind and a pair of hands that follow. Throughout my life, creativity has allowed me to excel and capture people’s attention. Using my mind as a weapon, I continually seek new thoughts and possibilities. Luckily my hands have been able to bring those thoughts into reality. I’ve now channeled that energy into being a visual artist.
ENM: How are you currently using your magic to create impact?
I recently just moved to Jamaica to focus on art full time and my mission is to leverage that creativity to create impact. Outside of the studio work that I will create focusing on black culture, history and digital media, I will be building case studies on the impact can have on community. My time in Jamaica will be fueled by community based projects that will hopefully drive civic pride, youth empowerment, tighten family bonds, boost moral, and contribute to the community’s economic status. Stay tuned because it’s going to be an interesting year.
What does “Art is for everyone” mean to you? It’s on your website.
The visions I have for my art are larger than the dimensions of the canvas that they exist within. It’s expression that is my gift to the world, and that gift should be accessible to ALL.
Fortunately in the world we live in, allowing artwork to touch the global world is much easier than ever. The digital world has made accessibility a modern virtue that I stand behind firmly. I want everyone to be able to own it, experience, and be affected by it. The world needs to be filled with the power of art.
ENM: When did you decide to exist no more and live life fully? Was there a specific event that happened?
It happened in the summer of 2009. I was working on a startup, Mylinia, alongside Detavio and other members of the team. We developed a program called 7 Day Recess, that aimed to encourage Millennials to take a “break” from their jobs and seek their passions. I was fortunately the guinea pig and took the month of July off from my advertising job. During those 30 days, each day was dedicated to a different creative passion or challenge that would hopefully open my eyes. After the first few days, I was already compelled to spend my time painting and ended up completing two paintings that month. From that moment, I had a heightened awareness of my passion and a painting hobby slowly turned into a visual arts career within 4 years.
Through art I’ve been able to reveal so many parts of myself that I was never able to see before.
ENM: How did you get from the decision to exist no more to where you are today? What was your process?
Prioritized Grinding + Unconditional Support. Putting in the hard work in the places that count and having the right people in your corner supporting you.
ENM: What has been the most amazing part of your journey?
Learning about myself and being able to inspire others through my work. Through art I’ve been able to reveal so many parts of myself that I was never able to see before. As a result, people have been able to follow my journey and take whatever value they see in it.
Through the process of getting inspiration, I’ve learned about aesthetic preferences and how I evaluate the world. Through prioritization of my time, I’ve understood how to establish discipline to be my most productive self. In the anxiety of starting a piece, I’ve recognized my own insecurities and weaknesses. In the process of creating, I’ve learned about my patience to focus on the details and my perseverance to carry that detail through to the end. In presenting my art, I’ve practiced articulating my thoughts and developed parts of my personality that quickly connect with people. I’m speaking as a visual artist but I think whatever your “art” is, the same self-realization will occur when begin to truly live the life you want.
I’ve always felt vulnerable to the world’s critical eye. Those whispers of insecurity are what you hear in those silent moments of brainstorming, creating and sharing. But I came to a realization that there is no one like me in this world so only I can create the greatness that can come from me. If I don’t do it, I have robbed the world of one more unique expression and perspective.
ENM: What has been the most difficult part of your journey and how have you overcome it?
Managing a healthy dose of self-doubt. Every brush stroke could bring new life or create a slow death to a piece.
Being self-taught and operating within my own bubble of expression, I’ve always felt vulnerable to the world’s critical eye. Those whispers of insecurity are what you hear in those silent moments of brainstorming, creating and sharing. But I came to a realization that there is no one like me in this world so only I can create the greatness that can come from me. If I don’t do it, I have robbed the world of one more unique expression and perspective. It was then that I began to no longer seek permission for anything. The world you want is yours so just create it.
ENM: If you could only pass on one piece of advice to anyone reading this interview, what would it be?
Keep striving to be who you want to be. It doesn’t happen once you decide who you ultimately want to be. It doesn’t happen after things have gone pretty well either. You have to continually go on a personal journey to chip away pieces of the current self to slowly reveal your own true greatness. Just like when I paint, each stroke reveals the vision I see in mind. There are no shortcuts but eventually the painting is completed and what you see may be better than you could imagine.
ENM: What is your personal philosophy towards failure?
I view everything as an experiment which has allowed me to remove the expectation of winning or losing. If you have a goal, the journey there is a calculated experiment that requires the necessary upfront research to be strategically grounded and from there you pull levers to see what “happens”. At each step there is a reaction that helps you to find the truest path to your goal. You reveal something to yourself and about yourself.
Failure means there is an end. Experiments are just the beginning.
ENM: Name 1-3 tools, resources and/or people who have been the most helpful along your journey?