"In an age of digital on-demand, people often expect immediate first-response answers. The more fun you have in the process of discovery, the more light-filled the result. There is no Seamless for invention. Relax. Make a mess. Have fun. Perfection comes from those who practice."
Until recently, Andrew Stewart lived in New York City and worked as a top stylist for brands like Martha Stewart and One Kings Lane. Then he moved back to Missouri in search of the freedom to do what he wanted. He's now an artist/stylist/explorer with slashes galore, and his work is better than ever.
Photo: Self portrait, Delta Flight 1986 ATL > NYC.
What was your pivot point?
I took an opportunity for studio experience working for a retail company and hit a point where the production volume was freaking me out. I was lucky to have an early mentor to teach me what makes an object special, and I became exhausted working, nay, selling, nay, brainwashing people/objects that did not meet that criteria. I felt gross. I quit. Now I am in Missouri in a time of limited rules and open artistic exploration.
Photo: Portrait, Mouse King - from a youth production of the Nutcracker, Mountain Home, Arkansas. I am very interested in the people of every day America.
What's your advice for someone going through their own transformation?
P L A Y. Not to go all class counselor inspirational poster on this, but what's that famous quote about Edison inventing the light bulb? "I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work." In an age of digital on-demand, people often expect immediate first-response answers. The more fun you have in the process of discovery, the more light-filled the result. There is no Seamless for invention. Relax. Make a mess. Have fun. Perfection comes from those who practice.
Photo: Maybe it is most important to communicate that I am after the experience. Portrait of myself (thanks, Mom) on Fuji Instax fun film on a NASCAR stock car ride along. You name it, let's do it!
If you could do anything in the world, what would you do next?
Explore! Make art on the move. My heart has never swollen larger than when I am shooting simple stories of the people you meet when you travel - fellow gypsies, shopkeeps, storied locations, artists, etc.
I'd love to live on a train - maybe someone is with me , maybe not - and broadcast the visual experience via Instragram, SnapChat, Livestream. Partner with a travel company (Amtrak? Maybe an international firm instead?) and a film company (Fuji?) to release the work. Write a book on the sly while it is all going down, release it when you're through. Robert Frank, Guggenheim Fellowship, The Americans.
Photo: Assorted works on early art, the dawn of creation, early mythologies, and some alien folklore.
Are you following the path of a trailblazer or being guided by a mentor?
Elana Frankel has fostered in me a spirit to ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE. Embrace the new. Your failed attempt is more of a success than those who did not bother to try.
Photo: New York > DC > Chicago > Southwest Missouri : this photo is less about where I went and more about HOW I went and WHO you meet. The people shown here are a young group of Amish, who I spent a small amount of time talking with on the train and who traded a small craft they were working on for a photograph of my own.
What's your soul place?
My place cannot be pinned on a map. TRANSIT speaks to my soul - the journey truly is the destination. A body in motion is a mind in motion. It isn't where you go but how you went.