We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrea Guay and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Andrea, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Over the years, my understanding of balance has evolved significantly. During my childhood, I had a rather typical experience where the promise of fun only emerged once all my chores were completed. Balance was prescribed. Now, as a full-time artist and a small business owner, I’ve learned to weave moments of tranquility between my various activities and have more self-possession.

Being an artist means we look at the world differently, constantly observing, questioning, and thinking critically. It’s a profound ability to communicate ideas visually that sets us apart. I cherish my career even though the creative process often constitutes less than half of my daily tasks.

Creating art is an exhilarating and liberating pursuit, yet it can also be a demanding and vexing one. The seemingly mundane tasks of cleaning my brushes, stretching canvas, and preparing painting surfaces sometimes seem routine. Yet, it’s precisely during these moments that creative inspiration strikes. I’ve come to realize that these seemingly repetitive tasks are not chores, but rather integral components of the artistic journey. They are the moments when my mind wanders, and creative ideas find me.

I love travel and find artistic inspiration exploring new horizons, and immersing myself in fresh experiences. This, too, is a form of freedom. Returning to my studio, I am confronted with the challenge of translating multi-sensory experiences into visual art. It’s a process that evolves organically rather than one that adheres to a predetermined plan.

In the mornings, as I set out for a walk through my neighborhood golf course, I’m confronted with a distinct choice. I can leave technology behind, granting myself the freedom to observe the world around me, watching reflections shimmer on the water, observing the graceful dance of the wind over the creek’s surface, taking note of the sunlight filtering through the delicate spring leaves, and listening to the rhythmic sounds of life unfolding around me. Or, I can opt to plug in and listen to talks that align with my current interests and ongoing research.

In this serene setting, I have the freedom to choose the focus of the moment. It might be about the physical workout, the intellectual lessons I glean, or the profound multisensory experience of being a part of something greater than myself. My evolving perspective on balance has enriched my artistic journey, allowing me to embrace both the mundane and the extraordinary as essential aspects of my creative life.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Art is inherently personal, and every piece we create as artists is an autobiography of sorts. It’s evident to me that I was born with an artistic inclination, but it took decades to unlearn the expectations that others imposed upon me and to embrace what I truly felt called to do.

My journey began with degrees in architecture and economics, which subsequently led me into a decade-long career in economic development. However, it was an unexpected detour that paved the way for my current path. During my senior year of college, I ventured beyond my major and found myself in an advanced painting class that would serve as the foundation for my artistic journey. When I decided to step away from the world of development, I naturally gravitated towards the realm of art, particularly portraiture. Drawing upon my architectural skills for precision and my rudimentary knowledge of oil paints for artistic expression, I launched an art career. I reveled in it, and after six years of devotedly painting portraits and figures, I even contemplated returning to graduate school. However, as life often unfolds, unexpected turns arise. My spouse’s career took us on a different path, my academic aspirations in Baltimore were deferred, and in 2004, we relocated to Dallas.

Determined not to veer too far from my artistic aspirations, I secured a studio in Deep Ellum, found a suitable home for my family nearby, and firmly rooted myself in the vibrant arts scene of Dallas. I continued to paint portraits, primarily on commission. It was half a year later, during a visit to Taos, NM, that my artistic trajectory was totally transformed. There, I encountered an indescribable force, a magnetic pull from the mountains, reminiscent of the awe I experienced as a child standing on the Atlantic coast in Maine, captivated by the vast world beyond. This “ah-ha” moment solidified what I had come to know deep within: I needed to explore landscapes and to move beyond the realm of mere likeness in my artwork.

In the years that followed, my family and I experienced more relocations, yet I clung to my studio in Deep Ellum as an anchor for my business. It was only three years ago that I returned to Dallas for good. Over the past two decades, while living in various corners of the country, I have delved into the essence of “place,” contemplated the unhurried passage of time, immersed myself in the study of diverse environments and their rich histories and cultures. My curiosity knows no bounds, extending to the realms of physics, where the concept of finding stillness amid turbulence has fascinated me deeply.

I have undergone a metamorphosis in my artistic approach, transitioning from precise rendering to impressionism and abstraction, experimenting with techniques involving thick paint and historic glazing. To better comprehend the complex facets of art, I have orchestrated diverse experiences, including flying, climbing, diving, and countless hours spent drawing and painting en plein air in a wide range of environments. My insatiable curiosity has led me down various intellectual rabbit holes, encompassing topics ranging from religion, philosophy, culture, and language to music, history, literature, space, time, biology, geography, and environmental science. I have deconstructed traditional notions of form, line, edge, color, material, texture, and surface, all in an effort to convey the essence of sensory experience. At times, I have purposefully broken the “rules” and challenged convention, pushing boundaries and embracing experimentation at every turn.

My creative work takes shape in series; sometimes I produce ten pieces, other times as many as fifty. Within each series, I endeavor to explore a specific idea, allowing it to manifest on canvas through a constantly evolving visual language. Life frequently presents us with challenges, necessitating pivots and prompting us to question our trajectories. In light of this, I have established an artistic objective: I aspire that those who view my paintings will experience a visceral reaction, followed by a sense of tranquility and wonder. Ideally, this encounter will spark curiosity, encouraging viewers of my work to question and engage with what lies before them. The vast universe teems with potential for growth and happiness, waiting to be explored if we simply remain open to inquiry and experience.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love Dallas because on any given day there seem to be at least 100 things to do. Because I loathe doing the same thing the same way twice, I have a really hard time picking favorites. Instead, I seem to go where the spirit moves me. I never know where my daily adventure will take me, whether its simply to pop outside of my studio and say “hi” to the graffiti artists in the Tin District, to go to a concert at The Kessler Theater, to visit a museum, to support a friend at a gallery exhibition, or to find a new outdoor spot to explore.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate this shout out to the artists who comprise my art family. These are artist friends who I have had the honor of working with, who have had studios near mine, who have supported me, challenged me, encouraged me, taught me, trusted me, and accepted me unconditionally. In each community: the Continental Gin Building in Dallas (15 years), the 14 Cedar Street Studios in Amesbury, MA (5 years), and the 516 Bedford Street Studios in Dallas (4 years and counting), I have met amazing individuals who started as colleagues, became friends and are now my forever family. The matriarch is Bunny Harvey, my college advisor, who put a paintbrush in my hand for the very first time and with whom I am still in contact about every aspect of life.

Website: www.andreaguay.com

Instagram: @AndreaGuayArt

Linkedin: AndreaGuay

Facebook: /AndreaGuayStudio

Image Credits
Heather Helen Ray

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