Monday, February 7

Your Only Friend Jane

I met Andrew through one of my closest friends and photographers.  Andrew continues to grossly impress me with his Roger's Neighborhood charm, playing of various instruments, drawings, paintings, doodlings, etches and effortless nuzzling into the hearts of all.  I did an interview with him so that you can get an understanding of his developing prodigy and pledge him some allegiance.

 


1. What did you want to be when you grew up?

A dinosaur, a pirate, an Old West gunslinger (ala Clint Eastwood), a superhero (ala Batman, Darkwing Duck), an artist, and/or a musician.

2. How does drawing affect your mood?

It's something I love doing and after I've done it I feel a sense of accomplishment. I can watch a movie or listen to music and/or somebody talking - but if I draw during these activities, I'm left with more than just the memory of the single activity. I have a illustrated record of the experience. I also find that doing something else when I draw gives me more ideas. I also get a kick and an ego boost when I show something I made to a friend and they like it. Since drawing is a process, it generally calms and focuses me to concentrate on the practical problems I encounter while doing it; i.e. how to get the expression I want, how to show the right perspective, how to convey the mood I want, how to color it etc.

3. What order did you learn to play instruments and what is everything you play?

Piano - As a little kid, my mom made me take piano lessons. I didn't like the pressure of having to practice for the next lesson every week, and the inevitable criticism I received because I had been too busy drawing, sleeping, watching movies, or playing with Legos to practice enough.

Guitar - I took up guitar around 6th grade, soon after I started taping songs off of the radio and listening to Nirvana. I took a few months of lessons at the local mall and played a lot, partially out of the guilt I felt about quitting piano lessons and for getting my folks to buy me an electric guitar. (a red, Strat-style, Sammick)

Bagpipes - I started taking lessons around 14, after my grandmother showed me an ad in a local paper; it said that the Colorado Irish Pipe Band would teach me for free if I joined the band once I was good enough to march with them. I was with the group until I started college.

Banjo - I started taking lessons as a class in college. I really want to get back into practice with this one.

Bass - I basically play bass like a guitar. I bought one off ebay, shortly thereafter I joined the college jazz band.

Ukulele - I started playing uke in August 2010. I had always thought it was a neat instrument, but around this time, my friend Nick received a souvenir one as a gift, which didn't stay in tune, but was really fun to play! Also, my girlfriend Danielle, whom I had recently met, introduced me to several of her favorite uke-playing musicians. This was enough to give me uke-fever and I haven't looked back since.

Along the way I've played many instruments and been in several punk rock bands of varying quality. Some of the instruments I can kind of play include melodica, jaw harp, drums, simple flutes, kazoo, cello, and fiddle, but I still can't whistle!
4. How does uke influence your life?

I used to think of the guitar as my main instrument. Everything I heard I wondered, "How would this sound on guitar?" Now I wonder, "How would this sound on ukulele?" Uke gave me a new instrument to write on. Although I've only been playing it for less than a year, there are chords that I can easily recall on uke that I don't know on guitar. Thus, the songs I write on uke are written differently than if I had written them on the guitar. Since uke is so compact and relatively quiet I'm more inclined to pick it up more often than say, an acoustic guitar or my bagpipes. Uke led me to discover Roy Smeck, the Wizard of the Strings, who showed me the almost limitless possibilities of this "toy" instrument; from bluegrass and folk to jazz and pop, uke can do it! (bad pun) Also, learning the uke has made me feel like part of an intimate community, one that knows the secret of its greatness.

5. What's your advice to those who are stuck creatively?

Take a break to just observe the world around you. The inspiration for everything that could ever be drawn or played is already around you; ads, TV, movies, an overheard conversation, a sight, sound, or smell can fuel ideas which come out in creative endeavors. I find it hard to just sit down and try to create a finished idea in one sitting. It is much less intimidating to just start messing around with a few chords or notes, or squiggles and shapes and let them grow into something more. If nothing substantial becomes of it, perhaps these sketches can be used in some way later, or maybe they become an intermediary step that leads you to something else. I also find it inspiring to listen to or look at other artists' work. Deconstructing something that someone else has already created transforms the daunting task of creating a 'finished' work into a series of more manageable steps.

6. How much do you charge for private parties?

Depends I guess, it's negotiable, but free booze is a must!

Thank you for your time Brenda! I'm really pleased that you dig what I do. I dig what you do too!

Anyone who's interested can check out my music on MySpace page at www.myspace.com/youronlyfriendjane

or my youtube channel at www.youtube.com/youronlyfriendjane

and if you want a CD or an art piece, email me with 'Your Only Friend Jane' In the subject line at DrewserDK@comcast.net

Also, you can check out some of my art at www.wix.com/andrewwickins/andrewwickins

Stay Frosty!
- Andrew Wickins aka your only friend jane

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