Painting by Andrew O’Brien. Photo – Sean Fennessy.
Andrew O’Brien studio details. Photo – Sean Fennessy.
Andrew O’Brien in his Burnley studio. Photo – Sean Fennessy.
Andrew O’Brien is a Melbourne-based abstract artist whose star is well and truly on the rise. His vivid, large-scale paintings featured earlier this year on Channel 9’s The Block, and in recent months have also been gaining much well deserved coverage in print – you might recall spotting one of his works featured on this AMAZING Real Living cover?! Needless to say the enquiries has been flooding in thick and fast since then!
By applying many layers of high quality pigments on large canvases, Andrew creates intense, textural works with an incredible depth of colour. ‘When starting a new work, my process is very considered, conscious and structured’ says Andrew. ‘It is also crafted in the alchemy of oil painting – the use of raw pigment, oils and suspensions that are centuries old and give the works a certain radiance and depth’.
What’s interesting about Andrew is that he didn’t start out as an artist. Whilst art was always his first passion, he says at school he was plagued with self doubt, and so pursued a masters in business administration, which lead initially to a career in hospitality.
After some time in this field he was asked to head up Commercial Operations for the National Gallery of Victoria, and spent some years redefining the gallery’s commercial enterprises. ‘I put in hospitality outlets, new shops, products and an online business’ says Andrew. ‘I was passionate about finding new ways to connect art with the public, and ensure the gallery was accessible, including initiatives like the Salvador Dali Art After Dark, which in 2009, was the first 24 hour opening of an Australian gallery’.
Finding himself suddenly immersed in art at the NGV, Andrew’s passion was reignited, and he began painting and studying in earnest – until eventually making the move to full time painting.
Though he has come from a successful and rewarding corporate career, he says the highlight of his newfound direction is a simple one – ‘life as an artist affords you one very important reward; the time and a means to express yourself’.