Andrew Hem's introspective, otherworldly paintings and sketches explore realities one step away from our everyday waking life. What if our thoughts flickered across the surface of our skin like ephemeral silent movies? What if spirits walked among us, trying to find their path? What if there were no racism, and even the most outlandish people were accepted? What if the children of Andrew's native land had been allowed to live in peace and thrive?
Born during his parents' flight from Cambodia in the wake of the Khmer Rouge genocide, Andrew grew up poised in the balance between two cultures — the gentle animistic society of his Khmer ancestors, and the dynamic urban arts of the tough Los Angeles neighborhood where his family eventually came to rest. Fascinated by graffiti at an early age, he honed his skills with graphics and composition on the walls of the city before following a passion for figure drawing to a degree in illustration from Art Center College of Design. Working in gouache, oil and acrylic, he weaves atmospheric, richly textured narratives in a vivid palette of twilight blues enlivened by swaths of deep red and splashes of golden light. His haunting impressions of culture and landscape evoke the life of the spirit through the visionary manifestation of memories and dreams.
- Amanda Erlanson