Andrew O’Brien took a risk leaving a successful career in the corporate world to become a full-time artist. But it turned out to be a good decision. He’s now had his work featured on Channel 9’s program The Block, as well as on the June 2012 cover of Real Living. And he was selected to create an artwork for the visit of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark to the Corporate Culture and Cult showroom in Melbourne last year. He will be opening his second solo exhibition at Corporate Culture, Sydney, this evening.
Which five words best describe you? Try rest inside the action.
How have you progressed to a career as an artist? I was a very creative person at a school which did not encourage the arts. Dad built structures and forms whilst Mum shaped with colour. I was restless for expression, but unsure how to go forward with this. I hid my painting behind the façade of a party trick or a hobby. I sought work in creative environments - new hospitality concepts, products or businesses. It still did not give me the means or voice to satisfy, so finally, I leapt off the abyss to trust in the absolute control and freedom you have as an artist.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Trust your inner voice. Make time to observe poetry in the landscape.
What was the starting point for this exhibition? I work outdoors to complete a series of studies of the landscape, focusing on how colour and form shift and shape light throughout the day. For this work [upcoming Sydney exhibition), I studied the landscape of Quarantine on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. The place has a powerful beauty - the ocean beaches, and the sheltered waters of Port Phillip Bay - colliding with a subtle rawness not found in many places.
What’s your proudest career achievement? A client received an inheritance from her Mother. To remember her she bought some of my works.
What’s been your best decision? Choosing to show my work at Corporate Culture. I knew that a traditional gallery model would not allow me to connect with my customers in the way that I needed to. It’s very important to me that I know and understand the people who buy my work. I want people to engage with my paintings in a manner that is relaxed and contextualised.
Who inspires you? Sean Scully, Gerhard Richter, Viv Richards, Hemingway, Foucault, Anna Meares, Cathy Freeman.
What are you passionate about? I’m passionate about the environment and building a better, more sophisticated community. Art thrives in connected, literate and clever societies.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Jackson Pollock in a bar on the lower East Side, NY or Hemingway during the Spanish war.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To build a country studio… And to grow potatoes.