Artist Statement – My Story

Hello, my name is Andrew Gable. I am an artist. A Canadian artist. I was born in Prince George BC in 1981. I started practicing art when I was around 6 or 7. I started signing my work before the age of 10. It was mostly pictures of super heroes, wildlife, and sword fighting ninjas.

My first serious works of art were wildlife when I was around 15. Fastforward to now and I am carving bears, eagles, and wolves out of solid blocks of marble, serpentine, alabaster and various other kinds of stone. Who would’ve thought. Definitely not me, though I did dream of it.

I loved Michelangelo and Leonardo…or rather, still love them as artists. In grade 7 I secretly put a Leonardo da Vinci book in my backpack on my last day of school and took it home with me. They had 2 anyways.

I used to play ice hockey competitively but I was smaller player and had to make a hard decision when I was 17 whether to continue playing or not. I decided that I would pursue my second love, art, and go to art school.

I left for art school in the year 2000 with big dreams. I wanted to be the best in the world. I decided that I would go to Alberta and study at the art college there. There was so much potential inside me. I am sure you can remember that feeling when you were young, before you come face to face with TIME and with Life, and slowly but surely that spark of optimism, of potential, becomes buried under layers of events, memories, experiences and Instagram notifications.  An optimism that I do believe is still down there deep inside us all, waiting, wanting, and longing to be let out, to be expressed!

Anyways, I decided to become a drawing major. Mostly because the program was more ‘open’ than the others which meant I could really just explore anything I wanted. I graduated with a BFA in 2004 from the Alberta College of Art and Design. The first one from my family to graduate from College or University! Not the first artist though. My father was a singer/songwriter and carpenter, and so I was introduced to the secrets of creativity when I was quite young and this has served me well within my path as an artist. A leg up perhaps through an early exposure to vocabulary centered around creativity.

After graduation I moved back home…btw I grew up on 5 acres out in the country on the outskirts of town. I moved back home and set up a studio at my parents house and lived rent free for the next year and half where I started to develop my body of work. What was fascinating about this period was that I was still quite naïve about how the world worked and so when I painted, it was for ME, not for Money. The specific conditions really made for some interesting art, though ultimately I have learned a lot more (thankfully) about how the world works and continue to this day to push and explore different ways to create art and Build an Art Career, learning how to find that balance of making money and maintaining originality, innovation, and depth in my art.

In 2006 I won the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Award for Canadian emerging artists under the age of 30 with a focus on realism. I was around 26. I had less than $100 dollars in my bank account when I stood there outside the post office, my shaking hands fumbling to open the letter that read “Congratulations…” with a 12 thousand dollar cheque inside. Holy Fuck! I couldn’t f-ing believe it. The submission I sent had a self portrait, a landscape, a portrait of my friend, and 2 large expressive surrealist type paintings.

With the money I moved back to Calgary where I went to art school to set up a studio there and pursue my dream of being a successful artist, or rather, to be the best artist in the world (lol)

I worked my heart out. I sacrificed a social life, I sacrificed money, I sacrificed parts of myself. I was determined to succeed, painting 8, 10, 12, sometimes 16 hours a day. I got gallery representation and had my first show. I had borrowed 3 grand to finance finishing the pieces for the show and everything was riding on it. 2 years of dedicated work and I only sold one piece at the opening. I was crushed. WFT? My dreams were not matching my reality. I was broke. At that time I refused to work a “normal job,” a mixture between stubbornness, pride, and naivety.

I slowly started fading. Doing less work, I had to give up my studio for a bachelor suite. I broke up with my girlfriend of 7 years. My reality was crumbling. From here came some soul searching, and some time off from art. Something I thought I’d never do.  There was a period where I believed I had given art up forever. If you love it, let it go, if it was meant to be it will come back…something like that but not really. More like, “LET GO, this thing has too much control over you and your life.” I in a way became possessed by Art. Obsessed with doing it, creating it, at all times. To the point where I became angry if I was not painting = Problem.

I allowed myself to let it go for a period of about 3 years. I did other jobs, did some travelling, did some art here in there, I still really enjoyed it. But I was on a different path now. In 2013 I moved to Squamish BC to pursue a sales job selling educational software. One day as I was perusing craigslist to look for some part-time work to supplement my income until sales started picking up and I came across a strange ad on craigslist that read “Stone Carvers Wanted – No Experience Necessary” What could this be?

You see, I love art. I am fascinated by it. The depths of it, the potential of it. I have always been very serious about the art I do. And I have felt grateful at having the opportunity to spend so much time investigating it and developing quite an intimate relationship with it.

There were about 30 to 40 applicants that showed up for the stone carving position. I was 1 of 5 chosen out of the first series of interviews to be a part of the 5 day trial. It was nerve racking but I wasn’t going to let this opportunity go. I was determined to get the job. It was kind of like I had reached in and grabbed hold, and I wasn’t going to let go! I had never encountered an opportunity like this one when it came to art. It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing I thought. I went all out. Fast forward to now, years later and here I am, the only one left from that group.

Art is an extremely competitive industry to be in. It’s strange that artists often get associated with being free-spirited or whimsical. I find for myself that I must be very structured, dedicated, and resilient to make it in this field. If I don’t make art, I have nothing to sell. If it doesn’t sell, I’m fucked. So I have had to quantify my education in sculpture over the past years. Essentially, I am carving for my life, for my survival. Reinvesting money from any sales back into the carvings to create more. It is a grueling and extremely rewarding experience. At the end of the day its my Passion that keeps me in it. I have watched many come and go, and I realize within seeing this that ART is my Passion and because of that it keeps me going when times get tough and keeps me motivated to continue to innovate and explore when times are good. I really want to see what potential exists with this expression.

My focus at the moment is wildlife. Wildlife and nature is a big part of what it means to be Canadian and so for the moment this is what I am representing in my art. I currently work in Whistler BC. When I am not in the studio carving, I am out in the landscape somewhere with my paints and easel developing a body of plein air work. Aside from that I am always looking at new ways to open up other subjects and expressions. I have always also had a deep fascination about human beings and life on earth in general. What makes us tick, why the world is the way it is and how to create the best possible human and world possible. So that is my story. I will continue to walk day by day pushing and expanding the boundaries of my art expression. Who knows where I will be next year, or in 5 years, or even in 3 months. I just work with what is here in the moment and push myself to do my best.