When did you first become interested in art?
I guess initially when I was at secondary school, though it was always like a class you did. The education system and work system wasn’t particularly encouraging me to continue. Then, in 2014, whilst living in London, I decided I wanted to do something more constructive with my Saturday mornings and started attending classes at London Art Classes. Being in a studio environment fanned the flames of the neglected creative within on more than one level.
What were your musical influences growing up?
That’s a tricky question as I had such varied tastes, even big band, as I just liked music. Though if I had to really nail something down, the legends such as Eric Clapton, Paul Weller, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Eagles, Simon & Garfunkal … Just really too many to mention.
What is your style of music? Are you solo or in a group?
I generally perform solo, indie folk I am told, haha, though the EP has full instrumentals. We tried to give each song it’s very own feel and sound and it was great seeing the creations grow as they were written as acoustic songs, guitar and vocal.
What about your art?
I’m definitely abstract, I enjoy the flow and creation of what might appear. I can be a bit of a perfectionist so it also helps I think, where if I was a realist painter I’m not sure I’d have ever felt anything was right. With abstract and expressionism it’s more about the feeling which I like in art.
Has your style changed from when you first began as an artist and musician?
Yes, my style of art has definitely changed though that might be more down to self confidence and understanding more. I think my focus of subject has become more focused too.
Hmmm I don’t think my music has changed. I’ve hopefully improved, haha …. Big Eagle fan so there’s a lot of acoustic guitar folk influence, I should explore different styles really, but how I play really does express me I guess, so I feel it’s authentic and I like that.
What medium do you use?
Initially I started with acrylic paints and artist paper. As I progressed I started using canvas at home and have now started using wood also. I’m trying to look around at different options to use as a canvas. I still paint with Acrylic, I really enjoy it as a medium though am playing with charcoal and pencils too at the moment.
What about musically?
I sing and play guitar, I tried various instruments at school but guitar got my heart. On the EP we brought in session musicians depending on what we created cause we really didn’t know where each one was going other than my vocals and guitar. The rest was all part of the creative process.
What made you choose those things?
Initially it was the influence of the art class and the artist Nick Malone who is predominantly an acrylic artist. Obviously for the classes it’s a good medium so people can “take their master piece home” as Nick says.
Musically? To begin with it was most definitely the teacher. I was going through some tough stuff in my life at the time as a little boy and this teacher sort of became my idol I guess. He was a violinist in a folk band too and encouraged me to try violin and mandolin. He really encouraged my creativity. Really great inspiration. I loved the guitar so much though so the journey begun.
When painting, do your ideas come from life or imagination?
Hmmmm Good question! Mostly from imagination, though I have thought about getting into landscapes. I like the idea of expressing something from the universe that’s just flowing through rather than just copying an image. I’m quite the musical and spiritual character so there is a huge influence from sound and spirituality. What I listen to will often be part of what I’m painting, whether it’s POP, or Classical, it all has a place.
How do you choose your images and colours?
I guess at this point it’s a bit of pot luck, I’ll start with a base colour and that will dictate where I go but the images are imaginative and based around what I’m feeling at the time.
Do your write your own tracks?
Yes all of the tracks are my own, I’ve written on an off for years but one piece stood out and I decided I wanted to record it. Gypsy Girl I wrote for a friend, then decided to do the EP and wrote all the material whilst we were recording last year. There’s more to come I hope.
Do you prefer writing or performing?
Oh writing and recording 100%! I love to see something coming from nothing, it’s such a great experience. Maybe I would enjoy performing more in a band. I think the group dynamic could be fun.
Have you had concerts/records?
Yes, so my first EP “Soulsearch” was released last year which is getting heard and liked. I had some CD’s made too which I’ve used to promote myself and sell. I’m currently living in London so I have been lucky to play at some great venues, including Proud Camden, and Cargo Shoreditch. It’s all about getting yourself in the seen. It’s all the same circuit so you soon get in the right venues and meet the right people. Just played at Proud in Camden on the 7th Feb.
Have you any concerts/records planned for the future?
At the moment I have been pretty busy with my painting. Talking to a promoter about going forward. I’m online 24/7 though for you to enjoy hahaha
Are you nervous playing live?
I do enjoy it. At the end of the day you’re there to help people connect and enjoy themselves depending on the gig. I love connecting with the audience and will have a little chat between songs. I also found last year that if I perform to enjoy it myself it relaxes my performance.
Do you paint in a studio?
I’m currently working from home but would really love to eventually work in a studio, I think it would be more freeing as I could make a mess haha
Who is your favourite artist?
I think Wallis Kandinsky, A Russian artist who was also influenced by Sound and Spirit, he felt there was so much flow and freedom in music and wanted to portray that in his art.
What is your favourite music track by yourself?
Tricky one, haha Probably “Have you Heard”. It’s a personal story but I think will resonate with peoples lives and also getting a string section was a stroke of inspiration I really love, sweet sound.
If you could have anyone’s music career, whose would it be?
Oh easy – Eric Clapton, great guitarist and singer, love love love
What is your favourite painting by yourself?
I’m currently working on a collection of images. I think Soulsearch II it was the first I used darker shades and some metallic, really enjoyed creating it.
How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?
The smaller ones I will try and do in one sitting at the moment, which is about a day. The larger ones have taken up to a week at this point as I go back to them more with additions, and I’ve figured out pondering time is actually working on them. It’s an important part of the creative process.
How well do you take criticism?
I’m probably my worst. At the end of the day I don’t like everything I see or hear so I try to look at it critically and not take it personally. Not always easy.
What do you do to overcome a ‘block’?
Walk Walk and Walk some more … I wear out trainers. I think a block can be a little depressive and getting out in the fresh air (cough cough London) is good to free the mind and you might see something that inspires you along the way. Also give myself time, our world is based around achieve, perform, result, repeat of course I want that in my creativity but I would like my art and music to give people time.
How do you know something is ‘finished’? Is it easy to walk away?
I do ponder a lot on pieces even when I am sure they are finished they might get an extra little flick of something. I think for me at the moment it’s just a gut feeling, sorry maybe a bit random.
Have you had exhibits in galleries?
I entered into the New Artist Fair, London in 2015 as my first exhibition, I sold three pieces, as my first exhibition of any sort I was really happy, gave me the courage to expand in what I do. I hope 2016 will bring more opportunities as really I’m a new boy anyway.
Have you any exhibits in galleries planned for the future?
Sorry not at the moment, I may do the New Artist Fair again, it was interesting meeting other artists as well as the people that came through, I also have very different art to show from last year. I try to be active online so if people follow me they will know if something is happening.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a series called Soulsearch. In todays stress filled world there seems to be an uprising in mindfulness and meditation so I am working on painting images expressing different feelings and ideas of meditation even if some of it is the annoying thought forms that interrupt the peace of mind.
What are your plans for the future?
Ideally I would like to work at Art and Music and creativity full time. I was lucky enough to have some savings that carried me through 2015 but really taking up the challenge now. Maybe have a nice place by the coast I could run art retreats to help support my own work. Just More and More creativity, I have found my heart and I’m letting it out there. Rooooaar haha
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
Trying to not make this a one line answer but “Nothing is wrong” I know it’s a bit of a cliche but that freed me up to just experiment, be the little child that is just playing and I soon felt my way through.
What advice would you give new artists?
See above, haha …. No, really, just get some kit and paint, paint, and paint. Try and put your emotion on the paper and go for it, I think it was a bit therapeutic for me in the beginning but you soon get to a place where you get more focus.
Have you done any courses to help you?
Other than the 10 Saturdays I did at London Art Classes (which I really recommend) not really. I am looking at doing some but I’m a bit of a loose cannon. I enjoy the experimentation rather than the “This is how it should be”. Surely art is about the discovery not the mould of a system ?
Musically, No not at all, other than the few lessons at primary school. I’ve learnt myself and just write stuff down a lot. You’ll write a lot more rubbish than good songs, it’s the same with my art though I tend to try let it flow and adjust later .
What do you do to market your work?
I have my own website www.andyjouan.com, I at the moment try to limit where I’m at online, there’s so much out there and I think you can over stretch yourself. Website wise I’m on Fine Art America. I like the format of the product options and SaatchiArt mainly because people know the name and there’s some kudos it carries…. and most important a nice business card and the gift of the gab when I am out and about.
With the music side, live performance is a big part cause it is fun, Social Media Twitter, FB, Instagram, youtube it’s all part of life these days I don’t quite get how people make massive amount of cash from just talking about themselves, but I guess that’s the Kardassian world we are in … I like to think my authenticity comes across. I’m also on management sites where you can apply for your songs to go on Radio, TV and general A&R agencies.
Do you use social networking in your day to day life?
I’m probably slightly addicted lol …. I figure there is so much of it you have to post to be remembered and to hopefully gain real followers who are interested in me rather than just the numbers game where people don’t actually interact.
Twitter – @andyjouan
Instagram – @andyjouan
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Andy-Jouan-Music-Art-Soulful-Living-125902237495445/
I think it’s pretty important to be out there to see what’s going on as well as people finding you, try not to be to distracted by it all though, it’s so easy to think you’re being busy when really you’ve just posted all day, don’t forget to create too
Are you available for work (commissions)?
Absolutely! I have dedicated myself to committing to following the creative internal me. It is who I am and I am 100% sure it’s the road I need to walk to fulfil my happiness – contact me on social media or my email is andyjouanmusic-at-gmail.com
Have you got hobbies?
Other than enjoying my creativity, Walking, Kayaking (only ever had to be rescued once whoops) , anything outdoors I guess. I have been lucky to travel a lot so love to get into the culture of where ever I am.
Where are you based?
Amazingly London – I’m believing it can still work for creatives in London. It’s a great city with lots to do and see and some amazing characters to meet. I hope the powers that be see the importance of us all.
Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend? Are they supportive?
Nope not a the moment. I Actually did have a boyfriend during the process of recording and he gave me the idea for “have you heard” asking me “what would you sing to yourself?” I’m a bit of a free spirit I guess. I’m sure I’ll find someone who can be happy with my creative craziness eventually but no stress, I love life.
What do you dream about when asleep?
HAHA a friend of mine thinks I have a CGI budget for my dreams, they are often really amazing and graphic, space travel, different worlds, spiritual realms …. I’m honestly not on LSD haha
Do you think the internet has altered the way musicians can get known?
It’s difficult. It’s certainly opened up opportunities but I’m concerned it’s just flooded. It’s so easy to upload a song (even if you’re not particularly great) maybe contributes to the loss of so many music venues too It’s a different world but I can’t knock it, it’s helped me a lot but I am a big fan of keep it live. I funded my EP myself in a professional studio which I hope shows my commitment to my journey.
What advice would you give to young musicians looking to get into the profession?
Ummmmmmm “You can do it” haha! Seriously, just start because you love doing it for yourself. Get out to open mics to help your performance skills….treat like a gig though. Make it real. You’ll convince yourself and others you’re going somewhere. What’s that saying “Fake it till you make it” haha!