Andre Kan & The View From Here

24-year-old Andre Kan is an up-and-coming Toronto-based artist, whose art not only appeals to the eye with its multitude of well-blended colours, but also brings depth into a whole new perspective, melting away from the confinements of a flat, 2-dimensional surface.

Andre has been leaving his mark around the city, with his artwork featured on some of the utility boxes at various locations.

It’s also featured on a worldwide scale as well, with permanent collections being showcased in the U.S. and China.

The View From Here is Andre’s first solo exhibit, taking place at Gallery 50 (50 Gladstone Avenue), until December 6th. It showcases some of his earliest work, to paintings made  within the past few weeks.

“Evolve”, 2015. Photo courtesy of Brianna Roye.

One aspect worth noting in the exhibit is the progression of the artwork over time – particularly when it comes to borders, going from prominent and defining to few and subtle. Andre explained that it’s to open the viewer’s perception of the space they are observing, and not to be simply limited by borders.

I had the pleasure of asking Andre some questions to further glimpse into the workings behind his style.

What inspired you to become the artist you are today?

I always wanted to do something in art. Maybe not necessarily in fine art, but something that required some form of creativity. To be honest, I thought aiming to be an artist was like shooting to become an astronaut, or a scientist. A profession that was just way beyond my reach. 

But it wasn’t up until a couple of years ago, during my third year of university, my direction in life took a turn. I had realized my lifestyle, my outlook on life, and my aspirations became incredibly dull. I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have a girlfriend, the art I was making at the time seemed pretty pointless, and I was barely passing my classes. So naturally, I was just negative all the time. Complaining about everything and everyone, when ultimately, I had no one else to blame but myself.

Soon, I guess you could say I had hit rock bottom. Anyways, long story short – I started painting more, started focusing/researching more, and stopped complaining about stupid stuff. I started repeating the same questions and answers in my head until I started believing it. “What else would you rather be doing? Nothing.”  “What job would you rather be working at? Nowhere.” And, “If you did have a job, would you be able to stay there longer than three months, still motivated? Probably not.”

Some of your artwork seems to take on a more sporadic nature, especially with your earlier pieces. What’s the inspiration(s) as to how those came to be?

Besides the architectural aspects of my work, and the structural fundamentals behind how we perceive space, the sporadic nature comes from my interest in kinetic movement, and a combination of  the arrival and departure of objects depicted in everyday life.

 The constant and never-ending shifting of things.  

Of all your showcased pieces, which do you have the closest connection with?

In my current exhibition, (The View From Here, INDEXG) probably “Crawl”.

In general, over the years? Probably a piece in 2013 called “Shifting”.

It’s still hung up at the Mental Health and Wellness Center at OCADU (Actually since early 2013 haha). Weird feelings, every time I look at it for some reason, so perhaps I’ll leave it there longer.

“Crawl”, 2013. Photo courtesy of Brianna Roye.

Outside of the artwork, what else have you been working/focusing on?

Currently, I barely have a life outside of my artwork! As of right now, I’m working 7 days a week.

I’m planning on curating a couple interesting exhibitions in the new year. Oh, wait! Besides the art,  I’ve been focusing on getting good gifts for my friends and family this year for once.

Seriously. I tend to do my last minute Christmas shopping days before, so perhaps this year, I’ll start earlier.

What do you have in store for the near future?

Lots of stuff! I’m not going to say too much right now, but 2016 is going to be fun. I’ll be announcing some sweet news soon. But for now, you can expect a lot of new work, more experimentation, a lot of shows, and bigger installations.

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