By Andy Stravers
Born in 1977 to missionary parents working in the Philippine Islands, Andy began drawing from the early age of minus one-half – that’s right, inside the womb! His mother would complain throughout the pregnancy of sharp “pencil-like” pains, yet at the same time she had the strange feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction – like one might feel after, say, completing a mural on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Later, she would make the connection, as she observed her now-air-breathing child progress as a young genius artist. Throughout early childhood he found his tropical home to be full of inspiration. Though surrounded by a never-ending context of plants animals and people, Andy would ultimately feel the pull of more intellectual sources like long sermons in church and Don McLean’s “Miss American Pie.” By the age of 10, Andy’s parents had moved the family to the U.S. The suburbs of Chicago became the next backdrop for his art and also his discovery of rap music and 2-liter bombs. Andy spent his college days west of the Mississippi among the corn cradle of America in Iowa. As an art major, Andy put his skills to use filling pages of notebooks with caricatures of professors and pretty much any creature with razor sharp teeth. After a post-college road trip to Utah and New Mexico and the purchase of a mountain bike with some graduation cash Andy knew that life out west would harbor his best chances for survival. And that is pretty much the truth about how Andy ended up in Gallup. “Fine Art has always been the one thing I knew I was good with. Sometimes it seems like it’s the only thing I’m good with. I understand art and I think it understands me. When I’m feeling really alone sometimes it just finds me. Like the day Nate and Chuck asked me to draw a comic strip for the second ever edition of the magazine. I remember sitting in the Journey headquarters sketching out, for the first time, the main characters. I believe one should never underestimate the power of an image, especially hand drawn or painted. Great art has the potential to communicate across any barrier imaginable. For me, creating these images is life breathing and ultimately one of the most meaningful things I can think of doing.” Sometime, when you get a chance, ask Andy about: his childhood obsession with carnivorous plants, his future goal of running Jeep Trail without shoes, the tragic but true story of Starsky, and his belief that green chile is the secret to world peace.