In 2001 Andrew Litten abandoned his dream of becoming a successful artist. For years he had worked at a series of mostly part-time jobs while painting and trying to get his worked exhibited. But it just wasn't working out - for his career or his life. So he decided to give up the dream, dispose of most of his art, and move his wife, Emma, and two children to Fowey, Cornwall. Litten, however, had not lost his passion for drawing.
Soon after arriving in Cornwall, an area that has been home to and inspired so many great artists, Litten began to doodle with a pencil and a light wash just to relax. He wasn't trying, as before, to be creative. But he realized that what he was doing was his best work. He know intuitively that he had been liberated, free to draw and create whatever came to mind. Cornwall was now home to another rising star.
Litten's artwork appears similar to self-taught or naive painting, even though he did study art as a teenager. Nevertheless, he successfully shed the rules and structure of training and achieved the artistic freedom and inventive quality seen in so many great self-taught artists: Alfred Wallis, Albert Louden, and Patrick Hayman (who also disregarded some early training), to name just a few from Britain.
Early in his artistic life Litten made technical drawings to help understand how things are made. His style evolved as he matured, but his rough sketches of today would still resemble those of earlier years, confirming his stylistic destiny. He never makes preliminary sketches for a painting. He prefers to work with found materials or fiberboard, and after he prepares their surfaces, they typically spend time around his studio accumulating nicks and blemishes. These markings often become the starting points for his work, and from there he just sees what happens. There is no planning, just the visualization of a face or an image, and off he goes. What's most important is the feeling and emotion he puts into the work.
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