[About the Artist]
Andrew Cathers is a 38-year-old, self-taught artist from Whistler, B.C. As an adult British Columbian with autism, he often creates his brilliant work at DDA’s Main Street Drop-In. Creating art on a regular basis keeps him interested, busy, and creatively challenged.
Andrew began his art career six years ago at a Developmental Disabilities Association (DDA) art class with instructor Kim Almond. “I enjoyed doodling and drawing long before that, but hadn’t started exploring with paint [until] I started taking art classes with Kim at DDA, she encouraged me by telling me I was good. Being told I was good at something motivated me to keep going with it. Also, I didn’t really have any hobbies at the time, so painting was something that I enjoyed doing at home in my spare time. Art has really helped to fill a big void in my life.”
[A simple evolution of style: “I’m interested in things you can’t see with the naked eye.”]
“It really just came naturally. I really enjoy working with dots because it’s very satisfying. I like to challenge myself to get the dots as close together as possible without having them touch. It reminds me of little galaxies and constellations.”
The artist says quantum physics inspires his work. “There’s a law that particles can be at two places at once and that they can go through matter. It’s called tunnelling. I’m also interested in colour charge (related to the theory of chromodynamics). It’s confusing to explain. It’s the idea that each element has its own colour in a spectrum of light; quark colours are red, green, and blue. Anti-colours are magenta, yellow, and cyan. That’s why I make pieces with colourful dots of particles. I’m interested in things that you cannot see with the naked eye.”
“I’m inspired by science and the universe. Particularly galaxies and stars. I love to listen to science lectures and watch videos online about different topics such as gravity, dark energy, and philosophy. I’m curious about things I don’t understand, it makes me want to learn more about those things. I love to paint patterns and play with colours. I like to use colour in different ways, I’m still learning about colour and colour coordination. I like to paint things that make people think and find out what it means to them.”
[So, how does this creative artist feel about having his own show?]
“I have mixed feelings. It feels good. I’m proud of my work. But I don’t trust those feelings. I’m not a happy feel-good person. I also feel a little confused, I didn’t expect to have my own show but I’m very grateful for all of the support I’ve received, especially from Kim. I wouldn’t have my own show without her.”
Andrew says art will definitely be in his future and has plans to try new techniques in his work. “I want to explore new mediums such as clay and various objects. I like using different materials to make my art. Currently, I’m working on a piece using pistachio nutshells. I also want to try using digital art techniques. I’ve recently downloaded a digital art app and am learning how to use it.”
[Advice for those who aspire to the art world]
“You don’t have to be a formally trained artist to make good art and have creative thoughts. Put the time in and, if you can, find a mentor. Also, do your own research to draw inspiration; look at other cultures, look at the world around you, and try different things, different mediums. Don’t restrict your thinking.”
[Outsiders and Others]
Outsiders and Others, a non-profit art society, whose focus is to bring non-traditional artists to the forefront, was instrumental in putting together Andrew’s first solo exhibition.
Operator Yuri Arajs says Cathers’ work has many levels, “Andrew takes in the world around him and returns it to us in the form of detailed fields of intense colour and pattern. Seeing his work in person allows you to feel all that has gone into the creation of each piece.”
Andrews’s first solo exhibition has come to an end however, his pieces can also be purchased from Outsiders and Others’ website.