Australian artist Andrew Yee is a modern-day Renaissance man. The dude illustrates, raps, creates video content, and heck, he even puts out wrestling podcasts.
Unlike many artists, the Sydney-based creative doesn’t just stick to one medium. He explores different creative avenues, tailoring each one to suit his interests, which range from films to music to anime.
One of Andrew’s latest projects is MAD LOVE, a video series focused on the works of many established and up-and-coming artists. Started only seven months ago, it’s already attracting quite the following.
>>Also watch: the full interview and live art session with Andrew Yee
When he’s not working on his art show, Andrew can also be seen – or heard, rather – on his self-hosted podcast ‘Nightlies’, which he describes as “a podcast about everything and anything for nothing.”
But what Andrew is really known for is his illustration. Along with his younger brother Chris, the two have built a name for themselves in the Aussie art community. Think of the siblings as the two sides of the same artistic coin.
Chris is known for a punk aesthetic filled with bold linework and brooding colour palettes, while Andrew is recognised for images that are altogether humorous, colourful, and surreal.
Different styles, yet the same brilliant results.
We interviewed Andrew to find out more about the inspiration behind his incredibly diverse work.
What were the comic books you read when you were growing up? What about now?
“I used to read a whole bunch of comics growing up. This was back in the day when you could get singles at the news agent, so they were like $3 a comic.
“We would buy most of the big titles like X-Men (and later X Force, Generation X, X-Caliber, and whatever other X title you could think of), Batman, Superman, and of course my guy Spider-Man (watch Spider-Man 2 again and lie to me and tell me you didn’t love it).
“Later, we got into anime and manga which used to cost something outrageous like $30 a book (for a kid the conversion would be like a down payment on car).
“I haven’t read any comics super recently but the few I remember are ‘This One Summer’ by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki (a really good coming of age story!), ‘Sunny’ by Taiyo Matsumoto (a little sad but still gets the two bug thumbs up), and the Instagram account ‘carlingfordgirl‘ (really funny and honest slice of life stuff).”
What were the other pop culture influences you took, and continue to take, inspiration from for your work?
“I loved – and still love – a lot of the really big blockbusters from the ‘90s and ‘00s. I would draw a lot of Spielbergian dinosaurs and terminators because to me they were the coolest things anyone has ever imagined, ever.
“Now I tend to get inspiration from more abstract stuff and try to fold into my work, whether it be old school manga, music (and music videos), toys and figurines etc. Recently I’ve been inspired by a lot of combat sports and have been trying to capture the energy, violence and pageantry of the whole thing.”
Tell us about three music acts that totally rock you world.
“The Dream, every RNB singer’s favourite RNB singer. You wouldn’t pick it from looking at him, but maybe the most beautiful/dirtiest songs ever have come out of that guy’s little mouth. Just listen to ‘Love vs Money’, classic.
“Hyukoh, probably the biggest band out of Korea at the moment. Their music is pretty melodic, and can range from somber to upbeat and catchy. I don’t know what they’re saying but it sounds good!
“X Trilliams, the man himself! Local Sydney rapper who just released a new EP. Go check it out now!”
Who are the artists these days that continue to excite/inspire you?
“Aside from the people around me (James Jirat Patradoon, Gerald Leung, Stellar Leuna, Zeke’s Lunchbox, Rel Pham, my brother Chris) who are always pumping out crazy stuff, I like Nohseokmee, Park Gwang Soo, Motohiro Hayakawa, and Choisungmin.”
If you’d like to see more of Andrew Yee’s work, you can check out his website here.
>>Also watch: Interview with Aussie art icon Ben Brown about his work