Today we’d like to introduce you to Andre Rochester.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I’ve been drawing since I received my first sketchbook at seven years old. I’ve used art to get me through the toughest times in life, specifically from ages 10-16, while caring for my mother, who was sick with Multiple Sclerosis. She passed away when I was 16. Throughout high school, I began to take art more seriously and decided to go to school for art after participating in youth programs that exposed me to mural painting and graphic design. I studied Illustration at the University of Connecticut but had to leave a semester shy of graduation in 2007 due to a debt I could not pay in time to register for classes. I found myself in a position where art would once again be my outlet, as I faced some hard times until I was finally able to return to college and finish the rest of my classes in 2014. I graduated with a B.A. in Studio Art from Charter Oak State College. I look forward to graduating with an M.S. in Organizational Leadership from Quinnipiac University in Fall 2019. I didn’t begin painting seriously and showing my work until after leaving UConn. Over the past 11 years, I’ve participated in various exhibits in various galleries, art centers, and colleges throughout CT, MA, and NY. My most recent endeavor is a traveling exhibit called Audacious Agency, in which I and four other artists from Hartford, CT will display work that promotes social awareness and social justice. We started at Yale Divinity School (opening November 1, 2018) and will be on display through mid-February 2019. Other stops include 5 Points Gallery (Torrington, CT), and Windsor Art Center (Windsor, CT). I also mentor young artists and curate exhibits.
Please tell us about your art.
I’ve evolved from simply painting and drawing people to making work about people. Our journey through life is unique to us but we can all relate to the emotions felt through life events. I painted a series of pieces that illustrated my own journey, using figures and color theory to evoke emotion, My current work focuses on the experience of people of color in America, tackling subjects such as immigration, school-to-prison pipeline in urban communities, unlawful police shootings, racial identity, and celebrating the beauty of who we are as a resilient people. My current work still focuses on the emotions behind the subjects, but they are not just my own feelings. I want my current work to be a symbol of solidarity, showing people they are not alone in their effort to overcome the issues I paint about. Art is a tool for making statements when you don’t have the right words. I want my art to make you feel, think, then discuss these issues with one another so that we can collectively find solutions for the obstacles we face. I also want to use my work to instill a sense of pride in who we are as people of color (no matter which ethnicity with which we identify). We have many similarities between us and there is beauty in all of our cultures. I am an African American Artist with both American and West Indian family. I grew up in and around a city and spent some time living in a suburban area. That experience has provided me with a broad view of who we are and the diversity that exists within our community.
I mainly create Acrylic but I also use charcoal, colored pencil, and pastels.
Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
It will get tough but you have to stick with it. No matter how hard this journey gets, never stop creating. You are born to do this and the journey to get to where you want to be is unique to you. Understand that it is in fact what you make it and know that you are not alone in this pursuit. Do what you have to do in order to do what you want to do. Never stop creating.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I am currently in a traveling exhibit called Audacious Agency, which will tour CT from Nov. 2018 through the end of 2019. For more info: www.audaciousagency.com
Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT- Nov 2018 – Feb- 2019
5 Points Gallery, Torrington, CT- Feb-2019
Windsor Art Center, Windsor, CT- May-June 2019
- Website: andrerochester.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drebpaintin/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rochesterfineart
- Other: audaciousagency.com
Keith Claytor- Time Frozen Photography