VFA Presents Andrew Bolam, Cutting-edge American Wildlife Painter
Artist’s Reception to be held at the gallery on August 21 from 5 to 9 pm
Andrew Bolam is a contemporary wildlife painter whose star has risen exponentially in recent years. Far from an overnight sensation, Bolam’s artistic portfolio reveals that since the ’90s he has produced continually important work. This August, Valley Fine Art will offer many of his large pieces for sale.
The artist pulls from an internal wellspring of spontaneity and joy, and he comes to his studio with no other buyer in mind but himself. Bolam explains, “I don’t paint for anyone else, I paint for myself,” he says, adding that he asks himself, What would I like to hang on my walls if I had a giant house with giant walls for canvas? Bolam insists that when an artist stays true to himself or herself, a consumer will walk into the gallery and spot the authentic piece every time. This level of authenticity has been his ticket to success.
Having been on Valley Fine Art’s hit list of featured artists since 2016, Bolam will enjoy the sole spotlight on August 21, 2021. The opening reception will be from 5 to 9 pm in the Gallery. Buyers and art lovers are invited to view paintings like “Piqued,” “Sensitive,” and “Job,” among eight others offered for sale. “Andrew’s pieces play with people’s perspective of what they’re seeing. He challenges your idea of what contemporary wildlife art should be,” says Mia Valley.
Andrew Bolam was singled out in his early teenage years as a rare talent in his region of northern England. The grandson of a coal miner and son of a bus driver, Bolam did not personally know any artists, but he knew he had a gift and the hunger to pursue painting. He moved to the U.S. and found his muse in western creatures and culture. In 2000, he opened a studio and gallery in California. “I promised myself that I didn’t have to make a lot of money, but I had to keep painting my way, and as long as I could afford food, I’d keep going.” The painter is seeing the fruits of his labor. Decades of continued excellence in his craft have yielded recognition and sales.
Bolam’s paintings defy categorization. Every year he introduces a series of paintings, the idea for which germinates in his mind for months. To represent each series’ idea, Bolam explains, “I go into my toolbag and choose the resource that best expresses the idea,” selecting among different substrates like canvas, panels, or paper, and using either oils, acrylics, watercolors, gouache, or crayons. “I don’t want to limit myself to one style, I think artists have ideas, and the end result should be in service to that idea,” Bolam says.
His pieces sing with authenticity. That voice you hear when you stand before “Piqued”—it’s Bolam’s invitation to question what you’re seeing: “Come up close,” he recommends, “look at the way the knife lays the paint on the canvas. See the drips of paint and the deliberately left runs. Notice the surface quality of the piece. Now step away and notice that the very simplified shapes and marks on the canvas build like puzzle pieces from an abstract idea into a representational image.”
Using his alchemy of texture, abstraction, and design, Bolam ensures that every square inch of the canvas is visually interesting. He believes that good art leaves something for the viewer to do; good art asks questions like What’s happening with the alignment here? Why the thick paint here in this quadrant? Why has the artist made these decisions? By then, he’s got you. You’re in conversation with the art and having a feeling. Which is, after all, the point.
About The Gallery
Situated in the heart of downtown Aspen at the historic Wheeler Opera House (behind the scaffolding), Valley Fine Art is open to browsers and collectors alike. Come enjoy our happy atmosphere and chat with our knowledgeable staff.
For further information, please contact Mia Valley of Valley Fine Art.