Andy started working with glass in his final year of high school, during a yearlong research project. After experiencing the craft first hand, he thought it was amazing and knew instantly that it was the career path for him. Following high school, Andy went on to study at the University of South Australia in 1999, gaining a Bachelor of Arts in Ceramics and Glass. He hadn’t considered a career in the arts and, in fact, was originally thinking of studying Science. He also enjoyed music during his school years, but realised his passion was with glass making.
After completing his studies in Adelaide, he spent two subsequent years at the Canberra School of Arts. He credits his lecturers and amazing mentor Stephan Proctor for his success and development. Stephan was highly inspirational and had a major influence on Andy. He describes him as a “meticulous maker and very passionate about glass and art”. Andy said that Stephan had a great vision and encouraged artists to make their work really meaningful, so what they create is derived from what drives them in life. He speaks fondly of Stephan and regards him highly as a role model.
After returning to Adelaide Andy undertook an intense program at the Jam Factory. It’s very rare to have such an opportunity and to gain this type of hands on experience, so he was very fortunate. He graduated from this program and then worked as a freelance artist using the Jam Factory’s facilities. Whilst he has set up his own studio and little workshop at home, most of the cutting and grinding is done at the Jam Factory.
Throughout his career, Andy has been fortunate to have travelled and worked abroad. His travels took him to the United States, Japan and Europe. It was in Paris that he had the opportunity of working with artist Phillip Baldwin (no relation) whom he had been inspired by since his days in art school. This was a major career highlight for Andy.
Much of Andy’s work is inspired by Venetian techniques. Famous Italian glass blower Lino Tagliapietra, an artist who brought the very secret Venetian techniques to Australia and America, really influences Andy’s new work. He creates work with his own personal interpretation of the old traditional Italian techniques.
To those who aspire to work in the industry, Andy’s advice is to “only become an artist if it drives you so much that you can’t sleep at night”, which is advice he was given himself when embarking on his own career. Andy believes you need to be driven by the passion of the art and whilst it’s tough, it is very rewarding.
Do yourself a favour and get along to witness some of the outstanding pieces of work on display that Andy has created and stay tuned for upcoming exhibitions. Following his current joint exhibition at the Art Images Gallery in Norwood, Andy has been invited to present his works in the Treasures exhibition at the Canberra Glassworks 2013 Christmas show, which will run from 20 November 2013 through to 5 January 2014 in Canberra, ACT.
By Lisa Mathews
Andrew Baldwin – Art Images Exhibition
Venue: Art Images Gallery, 32 The Parade, Norwood
Dates: 6 September to 6 October 2013
Photo: Andrew Baldwin