Interview: Artist – Andrew Ensor

I am a big fan of the Hardware Gallery on Enmore Road because of the wide variety of artists they promote and the great events they put on like Sound Series which is a monthly night of sound-based performance and installation. There is always something interesting happening at the gallery and the month of April has been no different.

One of the current exhibitions, Castellum, showcases the work of Andrew Ensor. As soon as I walked into the gallery on opening night, I made a bee line to a particular artwork that grabbed my attention and instantly fell in love! That may sound dramatic, but if you are lucky enough to have already seen his work you will understand how he can draw you into his fantasy world of castles and beautiful temples. If you haven’t yet been to the exhibtion make sure you pop into the gallery before April 21 (which is next Thursday). Don’t miss it!

Huge thanks to Andrew for sharing his art with us (make sure you let us know when your next exhibition will be)!

Interview with Andrew Ensor:

For those who may not have seen your current exhibition “Castellum” at Hardware Gallery, how would you describe it?
The exhibition could best be described as fantasy illustration and words like ‘tour de force’ should be thrown about as much as possible. It focuses on castles as a base subject matter while maintaining a colourful decorative quality. There’s usually a search for beauty in my artwork but in this case the aim was to create a visual aesthetic halfway between a Monet impressionist painting and a Japanese woodblock print.

Where did your inspiration for your current body of work come from?
I’ve had a rough idea for a ‘castle’ themed show floating around for a couple of years now. Travelling to Japan recently has definitely had an influence on the work, seeing the castles there and the notion of strength in beauty. I think the idea of combining Japanese castles with French chateaus was the really the starting point for the work as a series. The birds came later.

How would you describe your style?
I try to blur the boundaries between drawing and painting on paper. It’s a juxtaposition of delicate detailed line and drawing with the chaos of paint.

My favourite piece from the exhibition (the one I made a bee-line to) is “Choose Your Threads as the Past Unravels”. Where has the bird imagery come from?

The figures were probably more about the dresses than the birds, they were meant to act as decoration, hinting at cycles of fashion. The birds were a continuation of my own past work having spent most of 2009 drawing birds for a couple of shows at Gaffa gallery last year. Once I stopped drawing birds I soon missed it and thought it added an extra layer of mystery and fantasy to the work.

What is your favourite piece in the exhibition?

It’s hard to pick one, but I would say ‘A turquoise tomorrow’ It was a drawing that came quite easily and quickly. I like the stance/stride of the figure and the way the arches of the building remind me of cascading water. It was one of those pieces where everything just seemed to work together.

How did you become an artist?
I’ve been drawing my whole life, from the time I was old enough to pick up a crayon I’ve been scribbling and finger painting, I’ve always loved it.  I knew I wanted to make art long before I ever considered being an artist or what that meant. Even though I eventually dropped out, going to study a diploma of fine arts after high school was an important part of becoming an artist. It forced me to make more conscious decisions about what I was doing and to realize there was more involved than just wanting to draw pictures.

How does an artist go about getting their work exhibited at a gallery?
Artist run spaces are a good starting place, it’s where I began. Enter competitions and groups shows to get experience putting your work in front of people. The main thing is persistence. You need to keep working at it, go to a lot of galleries, go to openings, talk to the owners, other artists that are showing, find out what other people are doing, what the gallery(s) you’re interested in look for and how you fit in with that.

Where do you turn for creative inspiration?
Anywhere I can find it really. It comes from books, movies, music, other artworks and real life. I used to joke that my work came more from a result of isolation than inspiration, having grown up in a country town where there wasn’t a lot to do once you reach a certain age.  If all else fails I go back through my drawings and look for new approaches to old ideas.

What’s next for Andrew Ensor?
For the moment I’m just trying to do what I can to promote this show while it’s still on. After that I’m planning to have another solo at Gaffa gallery in the CBD in September and I’m also thinking about getting an idea together to put to Hardware for a show about this time next year. I should also start paying more attention during my day job for a while too.

And of course I had to ask a couple of questions about the Inner West:

Best place for a caffeine hit in the Inner West?
The Olympia Milk-bar on Parramatta Road Stanmore, although you may need to supply your own coffee or can of coke as he’s not always well stocked for that sort of thing.

What/where was the last great meal you ate in the Inner West?
Again I have to go with the Olympia milk-bar, they do a pretty good toasted cheese sandwich as long as you buy two.

The Inner West’s best kept secret?
Art Rush and the New Termites are worth checking out if you see them playing a gig at your local.


Do yourself a favour and join the Hardware Gallery mailing list so you can find out about all the upcoming exhibition and events.

Hardware Gallery
263 Enmore Road

Opening Times
Tues – Sat (11am-5pm)
Sun – Mon (closed)

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