Drew Wittig is an artist. He is currently living in Brooklyn and working as a designer in New York City.
“My friends, do you guess to what solitude we ascend? I must learn that the dregs of my thought, my dreams, are the speech of my soul. I must carry them in my heart, and go back and forth over them in my mind, like the words of the person dearest to me. Dreams are the guiding words of the soul.” – Carl Jung
Rae: Now let’s begin our journey into Drew’s world.
Rae: Recently, I was introduced into your art pieces. I felt a connection to the art that you are making. What is your work about and what inspired you to start on it?
Drew: My work is mostly about self-discovery, trying to uncover images that are buried like old relics of the sea.
I remember that feeling when I first started in this automatic style, where it felt like I was in the stream of consciousness. I was pulling images from another place. I know now that place to be deep within my soul. It was like I was watching these images leave my hand, out of the pen onto the surface, and seeing them for the first time was a real trip.
Rae: When did you first become interested in art?
Drew: My mom is an artist and when I was growing up she would have me help her finish paintings and drawings. She was very helpful and supportive. It gave me the confidence to view myself as an artist from a very early age. I guess, I’ve always been interested in art.
Rae: Who or what do you turn to on uninspiring days?
Drew: Having a range of different mediums within reach. For instance, I got myself a nice point and shoot camera last year and I’ve been shooting about a roll of film a week. The photography has really balanced me out. If I’m feeling uninspired I know I need to do something physical too, like hit the gym or go for a run. That can really shake things up. My wife is amazing and when I’m feeling especially useless she’ll always know what to say to make me feel better.
Rae: What does art mean to you?
Drew: It means everything to me, it’s vital to my mental health.
Rae: How would you describe your subject matter or the content of your work?
Drew: In my recent work, I am exploring the psyche as an internal space, a landscape. The content is created through chance and action. I’m trying to uncover these archetypes, the treasures of my soul.
Rae: You’ve expressed you’ve been reading the out-of-body book? Can you express how this relates to your art?
Drew: When I was about 12 or 13, I was in my room working on a still life, using pencil and one of those conte crayons.
I was so focused on the shading, the next thing I knew I was floating above myself in my room. I was there just watching myself drawing, then I was above my house, looking down at it. Then, I was further up and I could see the park down the street. I realized how high up I was and got scared and then I went right back into my body. I remember waking up and seeing that the drawing was finished and that an hour or so had gone by. It was my first out-of-body experience and had a very profound impact on my life.
Rae: What do you hope to communicate through your work?
Drew: I try to make work that is sincere and built upon a spiritual foundation.
I never try to say what the image means to me or what its all about, I think its important for the viewer to make their own conclusions. If they see something they identify with and talk about it, that is when I feel it’s successful.
Rae: Describe the process within yourself when creating new pieces. Do you have a ritual that you start with?
Drew: Sure, the ritual is almost always the same. Make some marks onto the surface, try to hallucinate some sort of reality within those marks and set about trying to explain it. I try to do all this without questioning it, kind of like “oh, there’s a figure, it’s a man and here’s a hand, he’s reaching for something,” and just go with it, until the images start taking shape. When I’m creating new pieces it always feel cathartic, like the image needed to come out. When I can let the process be as natural as possible, it works best.
Rae: What are your favorite materials to work/create with?
Drew: Watercolor & Pen, and Oil on canvas.
Rae: What colors/shapes/subjects speak to you the most?
Drew: I’ve always had a thing for reds and blues mixed together- it feels intense when I use those colors, it really speaks to me. The shapes and figures come out as people or faces and they all have different expressions and limbs and it all seems to connect in some way.
Rae: Any upcoming new projects in progress?
Drew: Yes, actually, I’ve been meaning to finish this process project. I did a series of watercolor paintings and then scanned them into the computer. Then I took the paintings and went over them with pen. Then I scanned that image back into the computer. What I envision is a book or a zine where the spread shows the image before on the left and the finished piece on the right.
Rae: What do you think about collaborations with other artists?
Drew: I’m all for it. Almost 7 years ago, I did a collaborative oil painting with artist, Ivan Bridges and the result was transformative. I still look at that painting and it gets me fired up every time. We were both meditating a lot and we’d sit before each session. The times when we were working on that piece were great.
Rae: Lastly, what type of music or bands are you listening to right now while making your pieces?
Drew: All that chill shoe-gaze stuff. My wife hates it, she’s always trying to get me to play R&B and hip-hop, but I’m a sucker for ambient stuff. Some old Kaki King, El Ten Eleven, The Books, Future Islands, old Modest Mouse, Built to Spill, Mogwai, Ducktails, stuff like that. At the Drive-In really gets me going too, though I think it’s good to have a few albums on deck that you know will set the tone.
Rae: Exactly, I agree about setting the tone.
Thank you very much for the interview Drew. Hope to see you more in the future!
Click here to check out Drew’s website WITTIG-ART.COM