Andy “Zig” Leipzig is a contemporary artist whose work crosses the boundaries of classical art and modern technology. Diametrically opposed themes, He weaves together the visual language of fine art and the media driven realities of the modern world into an extraordinarily powerful synthesis and an incisive comment on art, perception and the human condition. Influenced by society’s increasing commercialization, “Zig” creates surrealist works that are acutely intuitive but do not take themselves too seriously.
Hi Zig, today you selected for MoW 4 of your artworks inspired by music. Can you tell MoW why you chose those music artists ? What was the music behind the artworks ? What inspired you to create them ?
A microphone is a powerful instrument. on my painting "Ruff Neck" the mix of a renaissance portrait with a microphone head came together when I saw the mic as a medieval helmet. They looked like they belong together, a juxtaposition of one time frame with another.
Jerry Lee has always been a man on fire. some trains there's just no stopping. 'Great Balls of Fire' is a nod to the rebel. a push to express the fire felt while playing. It needed explosives. I've been into using colored smoke and flames that aren't typical, against a black and white photo adds to the drama and intensity.
I went to CBGB's back in the late 80's.Saw Blondie there. it was a first hand jump into grunge before grunge was cool. My grandfather owned a bar on 39th and 8th near the garment district at the time, small bar, local crowd but you wouldn't want to use the bathroom there. CBGB smelled worse then my pop's bathroom. a mix of beer, vomit, piss with a side of reefer. the music was gritty, the place made an impression on me. when it closed i was 'almost' sad that no one would be able to experience that anymore. 'CBGB the last call' is a homage to the club. i tried to include pics of original stickers from the bands that played there. RIP CBGB.
"Rome if you want to" is a mash up of a previous piece I did called 'Madonna with Boombox'. Kept seeing flames behind her which led to Rome burning. If Nero can fiddle, Mary can boombox. We all have choices, we can have peace in our lives or burn it down, Rome if you want too. Titles, in music and art say a lot about a piece.
Why is music important to you and your art?
I grew up in Brooklyn in the 60's and 70's, played guitar in backyards where I almost got electrocuted hanging out on a fence, and playing in garages, I always liked to play original music and was never able to gel with cover music which most bands wanted to play at that time. There was always the split between being a musician and an artist. Art always paid the bills and I was never one for the late hours of a musicians life. I wouldn't say that it's the music that inspires my artwork, but the sentiment that goes into playing the instrument and the emotions that can be expressed when playing that fuels my inspiration. Music is a feeling and sensation, art is visual and challenging, I try to mix the two genres.
If you had to choose between the artworks presented today, which of your artwork would be your favorite ? And why ?
The next one is always my favorite. it's the challenge of pushing myself creatively to the next idea that poses the greatest challenge presented to me today. They all express different emotions and tell different stories. I like them all or wouldn't show them.
Can you tell MoW more about the techniques you used. How old is your technique? How did it start? How long does it take you to make an artwork ?
I've always cut up pictures and turn them into something with a completely different feeling or concept. That 'cut and paste' goes back really far. In college I worked for the Hilde Gerst Gallery in Palm Beach, she was a tough ol' lady, but trusted me and gave some great advice. She gave me an appreciation for the masters as well. She once sent me to a framer with an original Renoir. It was a painting he had done of a cherub on an old used pallet of his, she tossed it into a paper bag and sent me out the door knowing no one would ever suspect a kid walking with Renoir in a paper bag, it gave me an added appreciation for the masters and current happenings. I was an art director of a few newspapers when it was all cut and paste with a waxer doing layouts. then moved back from FL to NY to work at Grumman aerospace as a graphic specialist, doing airbrushed paintings from technical drawings for F-14, EA-6B and NASA. When computers burst into the scene in the mid eighties I jumped right in. It was a natural migration. For a time I kept computer imaging out of my fine art. I had trouble justifying a giclée, now I wouldn't want to be without it. Currently I'll work an image on my systems and go for large color outputs, then wheatpaste onto canvas and paint or spray to achieve the image I'm going after. Creations aren't real until they go from virtual images to canvas. Makes them tangible. A piece can take me from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, the idea for one finding the right image(s) can take years. Once achieved I like to work quickly to capture the vision but they all go through stages. I compare them to children, for a while their basic and unlayered, then teens, a complete mess then onto being a full individual voice.
Do you have plans on creating new artworks inspired by music ?
Music is always an inspiration. to me it's unavoidable. I like paying homage to rebels and the clubs and venues that hosted them... No doubt there's more in the future. I also like tossing religion and pop culture into the mix as well. My last show was at the Gibson Guitar Showroom in Wynwood Miami. Showing with LEBO and the Magic City All-Stars, a group of really talented Miami artists. It's an incredible place to be inspired, especially as a guitarist. Checking out the Ferraris of the guitar world and being able to play them is a dream. Musicians and Artists are an inspiring bunch and I always gravitate to creative minded people.
Do you listen to music when you’re working ? If so, what kind of music ?
I don't listen to music when I work too often, I do listen to music when I'm in the studio with other artists. I'll play some Beck, Nirvana mix it up with some Missy Elliot, a definite mix of bands new and old... When by myself I stay focused, put on a brain numbing science or talk show and paint. It's hard to paint when your dancing.
What is the song you liked the most lately? The album ? What was the last gig you went to ?
Lately I've been into Peter Fox, German dude who also plays with SEEED. Their new song Blink Blink has been filling the walls and his last solo album Alles neu totally into the cold steel drum line he plays with. I have no clue what their saying for the most part but it has a great vibe.
A little while back went to The Red Hot Chili Peppers concert and also had the pleasure of seeing the Beastie Boys at Nassau Coliseum NY unbelievably talented guys. I miss them.
Are you a musician yourself ? If so can you tell MoW more about your music projects ?
I play guitar, still like to write music. Garage Band on iPad is a gotta have. What's amazing to me is the technology behind it all that makes it so seamless. I still play though not as much as I'd like to. I have a few song that i'd love to get into a studio. one day at a time. I always need to stay creative, pay my bills and keep writing my songs with my paintings.
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