November 23rd, 2016

Jesse Gussow

For a lot of people their first introduction to the art world is more than likely Saturday morning cartoons. Montreal artist Andrew Da Silva is no exception, except he’s let it heavily influence his “monstertoons”. With his signature thick bold line work, cartoony monster characters, and bright vibrant colours, his work is an absolutely stunning visual. With the growing art scene in Montreal, especially its street art and graffiti scene, and galleries like Matthew Namor, I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of Andrew and his “monstertoons”.  


Where are you from?

I am from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


How did you get interested in art?

What got me interested in art was, as a child, waking up early every Saturday morning to watch cartoons. As a child I was obsessed with cartoons, and this obsession lead to me wanting to create my own cartoon creations.


What was the first serious piece you made? What happened to it?

The first serious painting was for my first exhibition I had at a bar a few years back. It was a painting of a group of monsters, in various poses and facial expressions. I just remember being proud of the piece. It was my first "serious" painting, and once I finished it I instantly became addicted to painting monsters and continued to paint more. The piece was later sold at my exhibition.


How do you describe your work?

I would describe my work as "cartoon art". It is heavily character-based but most certainly not limited to this description. As I evolve as an artist I am constantly soaking up inspiration and ideas, both aesthetically and conceptually. My monsters, which I call "Monstertoons", are a hybrid of monster meets old fashion cartoon aesthetics, which helps distinguish my personal style and gives my art a distinctive edge.


What influences you in your artwork?

Having grown up on a hefty diet of comic books and animation, I was always drawn towards these mediums of storytelling.  Comic book artist Jeff Smith (Bone), Marvel comics, and Ren and Stimpy creator John K, have inspired me to no end. Once I became aware of the graffiti and lowbrow art movements, my whole perspective on art changed completely. The rawness of graffiti inspired me to embrace a more spontaneous approach to how I create my work. While lowbrow's absurdity pushed me to not be afraid of making art that does not fit comfortably in any genre of art.


Are you a dog or cat person? Or maybe a dinosaur person?

I would say I'm more of a dog person, but cats are cool, too. I do not own any pets, but having a dinosaur, probably a herbivore one, would be neat. I'd give that lil dude a bowl of kale or something.


What is your creative process for making a piece from start to finish?

My creative process is different with each piece. I'm not an artist that finds inspiration easily, I have to work at it. With that said I usually do some research on the internet, animation stuff, graffiti, drawings and stuff. Surprisingly I find really bad clip art inspiring, and good source material. I do not always use a sketch to go off of, and many times find myself with an image in my head that I try to replicate on canvas. For me, I'm in love with the original line, that line you can never get back if replicated, that rawness...this is why spontaneity plays a great part in my work. Once my sketch is done I apply the paint, and then finish with my trademark bold line work.


What is the best/worst thing someone has said about your work?

One time while exhibiting at the Montreal Comic Con, I had made these black, white, and red paintings, which were pretty popular. I remember one man had passed by my table and referred to these particular pieces as new age Inuit art. When I corrected him on my style of art, he then proceeded to argue with me insisting that these paintings were Inuit art lol. Not necessarily the worst thing ever said about my work, but a weird experience none the less. The best response is just when people understand or relate to what I do as an artist, people that appreciate my style and just connect with a particular piece or pieces.


How do you feel about the term "lowbrow" to describe art?

The term lowbrow does not bother me. It is a term that has been around for a long time, and just another way to put a label on a genre or style of art. Some may like it, others not so much; to me what matters is the quality of the work, rather than what it is referred to. Personally I just consider myself an artist.


How is the art scene where you are from?

The Montreal art scene is extremely competitive. We have a huge Graffiti and Street art scene, as well as fine artists, illustrators and everything in between. In my opinion, maybe I'm a little biased hehe, but I strongly believe that Montreal has some of the best artists in the world. The community here is quite strong, everyone knows each other and collaboration is a common practice amongst peers.


Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies?

At this point in my life I tend to eat fairly healthy, but if I had to choose, it would be Fudgee-O cookies.


You can find Andrew Da Silva on social media, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, or check out his personal website. I personally am really digging his work on skateboards. Been meaning to start an art collection on skateboards, and now seems like a good a time as any.

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