Drawings and Dress-up with Andrea Smith
Name: Andrea Smith
Currently: Brooklyn, NY
Follow Her: @andrea_smith
Last week, we caught up by playing dress-up with OG Break Babe and resident artist Andrea Smith while she refreshed our seasonal window display. Andrea has been an integral part of the Break community since we first opened our doors in December 2016 and has been creating beautiful one-of-a-kind window paintings for us ever since. Always a breath of fresh air, Andrea truly embodies the "good vibes only" cliché well, literally.
Read about her creative process, guilty pleasures, and advice on beating writer's block below.
To see her current work on display and shop her edits visit us in store.
You've been collaborating with The Break for over a year now, what was your favorite project to work on?
I loved painting on canvas for the SS18 presentation! Having the opportunity to paint something more permanent than my usual window installation and the space to showcase it was so special. Hannah's request for something bigger than I usually do initially made me really nervous, but has encouraged even larger scale work to follow. I did that one in a week, in the office space at the back of the shop, and I'm really appreciative of that push.
Creatively, what has changed (or not changed?) for you since your first collaboration with us?
I've been really lucky to work with friends who have given me work space for my last couple paintings, but I've been dying for my own. In my last Break interview I was new to life as a full time freelance artist, and didn't think it would ever be possible on my living wage—but six months into it, I'm moving into my first live/work space. I've never had more than an 8x12 room and drawing table, which really informed the kind of work I was doing. So I think having my own studio space will drastically change the rate/size/medium of work I'm making.
What is your favorite NYC based museum or institution to visit?
Do you have a favorite playlist or genre of music you like to listen to while painting?
I have always gravitated towards the 60s-70s — everything from Disco to Soul to West African swing to Grateful Dead to Los Panchos. I have a playlist on Spotfiy called "painting" that holds a lot of that.
If you could do a residency anywhere in the world where would it be?
I have been looking into different cities in Mexico. Potentially as a next move or sabbatical from NYC. I am open to going anywhere, really! I think one of the keys to living a healthy life here in NYC is finding time away from the city, and creatively speaking this is so beneficial. I'd be eager to see what direction my work would take in another/more natural setting.
Do you have any tips for overcoming artist’s block?
Don't be too hard on yourself. Like writing, the words don't come any quicker if you stress yourself out. I am someone who mentally bookmarks many ideas at a time, and because I am generally working on a few things at once, I can manage the block by switching between projects. If you're in the thick of it, go cook yourself a meal or take a walk.
Early riser or night owl?
It's quite dependent on my schedule, but I love to rise early. Morning is a special time of the day to me. When the time is my own, the hours feel more precious than other times of the day and I like to use them wisely.
What movie have you seen the most?
When I was a teenager I was obsessed with Into the Wild. I thought it was so beautiful, and now I'm past the age that Chris McCandless was when he died. He reminded me of a good friend I had in high school who I had this crush on. I can see now how it was a little problematic for me to glorify it, but I still cry every time. It's interesting to watch, listen, or read something over again that made you feel strongly in those formative years.
What is your biggest vice?
Chocolate. I give into every single indulgence and I've never regretted it. I get ice cream a few times a week too.
What are you reading right now?
Bad excuse, but all of my books are packed up right now. The last one I read was Perfume by Patrick Süskind which is filled with many delicious and disgusting adjectives. I still look at a lot of picture books.
Pick an obsession: shoes, bags, or coats?
Coats! I've always lived in 4 season climates—though what is New York these days??—so having options feels essential. Wish I had more shoes and bags but alas, I am practical.
What project are you most excited about right now?
This month, I completed two larger panels that will be featured in the pop-up space I helped design with my friends' brand, James Veloria, for Opening Ceremony. Like the work I've done with The Break, I get the most out of my art when it's shared with the community. There are moments in the process of painting that can be very isolating, and sometimes I am energized by this kind of solitude—it's very intimate. At times, though, it can be a little defeating. To have these paintings up in a very public space, where others can engage with them, felt a little vulnerable at first, but I am honored and excited by the prospect of it leading to more art and community engagement!
Tell us something people may not know about you?
I'm good at impersonations.
If you'd like to learn more about Andrea and her work (who doesn't) visit her website.