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Biography

Andy Friedlander

My life as an artist.

  • Guitarist and vocalist since 1963. For the past 20 years with the Prozac Mtn. Boys, a bluegrass band still active in northwestern Washington
  • Theatre professional and educator for 43 years – beginning in 1967 at Center Stage in Baltimore, Md and continuing in various cities and venues. I retired in 2010 after 26 years as the director of the Drama Program at Skagit Valley College. I currently work with Stone Towne Theatre, a production company in Bellingham.
  • Visual artist since 1998 as a painter and, most recently, a print maker. Past president of Skagit Artists.

My life as an artist has alwys been supported by excellent teachers. My painting teachers have been Mitsuo Kakutani and Colleen Hoffenbacker. Mitsuo was my first teacher and we worked together for the 1966-67 academic year. Mitsuos’ work leaned toward the abstract in a very flat 2 dimensional style and his teaching was clear and consistent – the process of the painter is to organize mass, shape and color into a composition that will engage the viewer. He also taught me the following 4 principles that have become a foundation for my work regardless of medium:

  • creating art is a process of making choices – the most important of which, perhaps, is when to stop. 
  • all art is ultimately collaborative – the nature of the collaboration differing in each art form
  • you must become adept at manipulating the elements of your medium in order to create art that is engaging.
  • inspiration and spontaneity must rest on a foundation of technique and discipline.

Colleen Hoffenbacker is a classically trained painter living in Bellingham. She was my second teacher – 40 years after my first. Over the course of 4 years we worked on technique, primarily in oils. She observes and works in amazing detail and helped me bring the detail out of my own work. The realistic techniques she taught me changed all of my work, making it more detailed, complete and engaging. I discovered as we worked that when painting in a realistic manner I am an impressionist.

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