Oversized eyeballs are the center of attention in the wicked world of Abril Andrade’s imagination. Her art is most commonly referred to as creepy cute. The first thing I thought of when I saw Abril’s artwork was the Canadian Band The Birthday Massacre. The big eyes are, in fact, creepy and cute. Her vibrant use of colors leave a vivid design etched in your mind which you take with you, much like the way the image of a light bulb shines beneath your eyelids after blinding your eyes closed. Her surreal little critters peer at you, giving you the feeling you are not only being watched, but that the character on the canvas is about to take to life, and either dance you a jig, or stab you in the face.
Although menacing, the creatures Abril brings to life so well on canvas are simultaneously adorable in appearance, much like the dolls which attacked Barbarella in the classic Jane Fonda film. It is not surprising that her works resemble dolls, for she became enamored by dolls and figurines as a small child and this seed grew into an integral part of her art today. Intriguing also are the dual speckle reflecting white dots in the eyes of her characters. Every piece seems to have these white flecks in common. Cute baby-like faces evoke your inner child and all of the fears you may have felt as a child and the beauty in what you once feared, for it no longer has any hold over you; your transcendence into adulthood negating the hold your former bogeymen may have had over you in the past.
Although she was accepted to and attended a fine art school ‘Universidad – Lleida’ in Lleida, Spain, her adorably dark style was already infused within her when she discovered the Gothic subculture as a young teen. She loves to paint. She has been quoted as stating that she paints every waking hour. She can also handle herself in other mediums as well, including sculpture and the crafting of ornaments and Chinese pu-pots.
I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Abril to ask her a few questions:
Kyle: What do you like and dislike most about your artwork?
Abril: I like of course the eyes, I try to have them stand out more then the rest of the painting, and I dislike hands, I have a hard time paintings hands; they never end up like I want them and well I have to go back and work on them a few times after everything else is done.
Kyle: I know you create from inspiration such as children’s books, etc, do you ever draw on/from emotion?
Abril: Every day events and life is a part of my inspiration when I paint, and if one day I’m a little blue or something it does reflect on my art, things look darker more melancholic compared with other works.
Kyle: You have a lot of tattoo work, has your work been tattooed on other people? What is the freshest piece someone has of yours on them?
Abril: I do get a lot of messages asking permission to get a piece tattooed and seriously for someone to like my work and want to have it tattooed on their bodies for the rest of there lives is a big honor, the last piece I’ve seen so far is a tattoo by Matt Griffith of my painting The Ax Girl.
Kyle: Has there ever been a piece you just couldn’t bring yourself to part with?
Abril: There have been a few of them, those special ones that you work and work and when you think its done you go back to see it and touch up here and there, and you might of gave a little more love then other pieces, yes its definetly hard to let go, usually that happends when I do commissions but its not my painting its someone else’s, so I have to let them go.
Kyle: If you were asked for advice by an artist just starting to realize that they had talent, what direction would you offer them?
Abril: I would say practice. What I do and what has worked very good for me is to look at one of your favorite artist’s work and try to figure out how they did it; how they got the colors so bright or the contrast of shadows, look it up close, its funny when I go to an art gallery I’m always looking so up close my face almost touches the canvas to see the brush strokes and lines.Its funny people just stare at me.
Abril may paint a seemingly shy line of characters, but don’t let her fool you. She is no stranger to attention. Her art has been featured in many magazines, and rests in the collections of appreciating owners of her commissioned pieces across the globe. So stop by her website www.abrilandrade.com or add her on MySpace www.myspace.com/zachiel, she will gladly accept your request and do her best to get to know you. But be warned; ask for a free sketch or tattoo and you will get nunchucked. You’re barking up the wrong tree. Abril supports her family with her art, and she has no problem letting people know that along with being her passion, art is also her livelihood. Abril resides with her husband Matt Griffith and their beautiful daughter Lucy and an adorable Chihuahua named Seven.