Name: Andrew Colin Beck
Where do you live: Currently I am traveling the world. So it is really hard to say where I live currently. Originally, I am from Utah in the United States. In my most recent travels, I have been to Amsterdam, Morocco, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Turkey. By the time this interview is posted, I will most likely be in India.
Known for: Illustration
When did you realize that you were going to work with this?
When I was a very little boy, I was already an illustrator. Drawing was what I wanted to do all day. I used to draw monsters and wizards and animals and spaceships every day. When I began to grow up, I still drew often, but I gained many other interests: writing music, film-making, animation, acting, writing, instrument-playing, etc. When I became an adult I was really unsure what I wanted to do because I had accumulated so many interests. In college, I studied graphic design, and after college I got my first job in a graphic design firm in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. During my first year there I think is when it really hit me that I wanted to be an illustrator. I quit my job in Amsterdam and started freelance illustrating and traveling the world with my family.
If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why?
Wow, that is a hard question to answer because there are so many places I haven’t been yet. So far in my world travels I have really enjoyed Santorini (a small Grecian island), as well as a small, secluded mountain village in Spain, called Cutar. But I don’t know. I have a dream of building a cabin-like structure with large glass walls, somewhere in the middle of a forest – not sure where….
How would you describe your creativity?
Every project starts in my head, and then goes into my sketch book, and then goes into the computer. My job is to wrestle my imagination and personality and ideas and get them down onto the page. I think that what each creative person has to offer (that makes them powerful and unique) is their personality. You are the only you. Your unique voice is what makes you interesting to other people – and what makes your work speak to someone else, is when they hear your unique voice coming through your work. So for me right now, my creative work is all about trying to be as transparent as I can and get my true creative voice to be heard, loud and clear, in my work.
How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner?
Well, I only officially became an illustrator about 6 months ago. I had been working more intensely in the graphic design/branding world until recently when I felt it was time to change over. I was trained in school as a graphic designer as I mentioned. I think graphic design really introduced me to the idea of “Editorial Illustration”, which is what I am working at the most these days. Of course I have been drawing since I was just a little boy.
What do you do at the moment?
Right now I am making some illustrations for a few articles in a new magazine called “Grand Circus” out of Detroit. As well as some illustrations for an online publication in Germany about building your own house. Recently I created work for Monocle magazine and the Boston Globe. I also always try to have a few personal projects going on. I find personal projects to be CRUCIAL to my development and happiness as a creative person.
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business?
My recommendation would be that you start small, and maybe start your business as a side-project. Then you have the flexibility to learn about the ins and outs of the business and gauge how things are going while you are still bringing in the revenue of a separate job. Once you feel you’ve got a firm grasp of the game, and you feel like you are ready to do your creative side-project full time, cut the corporate chord and let yourself sail!
Tell us how it all started.
I have mentioned a few times that I was an artist as a little boy. I wrote stories, songs, films, claymations, drew comics, built robots, put on plays – I think it was all started when I was born.
What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you?
Light. I need to be in a room with big windows, or beautiful natural light. It inspires my brain, allows me to do some photography of my work, and makes me feel alive. I think a dog would be really nice too. I don’t have one of those right now though.
What is your favorite film?
Oh man, I have a couple of favorites, but let’s say “2001: A space Odessy” by Stanley Kubrik, or “The Royal Tennenbaums” by Wes Anderson. They both have an incredible graphic quality, as well as a powerful and unique emotional weight.
Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why?
The Ghost of John Lennon. I want to know him – and hear what is in his mind. I am so fascinated by John’s Lyrics, as well as his personal convictions and beliefs.
How do you like to spoil yourself?
Movies and chocolate with the wife.
What is luxury for you?
Luxury for me is being with my extended family – just hanging out and talking. That’s what makes me the most at ease.
What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom?
For some reason I love it when people swear about how excited they are about my work. I think it’s because I was raised in a religious/Christian home where we never swore, and it still kind of throws me off…hahaha.
What do you fear most?
I fear I’ll never reach my potential.
What is a happy life to you?
A happy life is being able to do your favorite activity and get paid to do it.
What does a regular day look like for you?
I wake up at 6 am. to the sound of my baby boy, Colin. He, Ashley and I eat breakfast together and spend a little time together. By 9 I am at the computer, battling my emails. I work on illustration projects until lunch time. Then I eat with my wife Ashley and baby Colin. I continue to work until about 6, when we go out and explore whatever magical place we may be in. We eat dinner together. Colin goes to bed and Ashley and I stay up and hang out/watch a movie/cuddle. 🙂
Tell us about your dream project.
Currently my dream project is pretty simple: I just want to do an illustration for the OpEd page of the New York Times newspaper. Once I accomplish that, I’ll move on to the next crazy dream.
Who is your professional role model/inspiration?
I really look up to Olimpia Zagnoli.
How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)?
How would I describe my style? Formally, my style is geometric, colorful, grainy, and mid-century inspired. Emotionally, it is loud, dead-pan, curious, and naive.
Which is the one thing you can’t live without?
My wife Ashley. I thought about giving a more interesting answer – but this is the only true answer.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by great films, music (the Beatles, the Mammas and the Pappas, Cat Stevens, all kinds of classical music, film scores), philosophy and spirituality, fine-art, other illustrators (Tim Lahan, Giacomo Bagnara, Philipp Dornbierer, Johee Yoon, and more) and my desire to grow as an artist.
A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life?
The book, “The Lord of the Flies” really opened my mind when I was young. It introduced me to a subversive way of thinking, and revealed that society and people have a fragile underpinning.