Travel | People | Culture

Zen in Vespas & Waves: Andrew Wellman

Avi Hazuria meets Bali-based pop artist Andrew Wellman.

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Andrew Wellman

I drove slowly to limit spine damage from the mass of bumps and potholes shaking and rattling the ubiquitous Bali rental car; the Jimmy; the shocks were of course dead and the seats worn thoroughly such that the points of the springs would poke slightly and then not so slightly off the bigger bumps. I crept past Seminyak and then slowly through Kerobokan then took the turn off after Global eXtreme internet café where the bottleneck of traffic begins to subside and gives way to the hilly roads, less bumpy but still occasionally potholed, which then opens up to the lush green padi fields of Canggu. It’s in this part of Bali that Andrew has home & studio and what is the official residence of Stella; a dark brown Dane (as in Great and a quadruped) and perhaps the biggest dog in Canggu if not all of Bali.

We arrived at the residence of Mr. Wellman to be welcomed by Stella and a healthy portion of doggy drool. Andrew peered through the front door and came down to greet us, leading us through his garden and through his domicile.

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Buddha pop

Walking through his home studio I gazed at some of his ever familiar Buddha (POP) icons and then at his surf paintings of giant waves and bright red boards. We moved through the airy and well lit studio and settled at the back of the house to a view of the padi fields surrounding and a tiny banana plantation that divided Andrew’s home from the next residence down.

We drank cool refreshing lemonade, sucked in some fresh air and delved into Andrew Wellman the Pop Artist. Born and, as he puts it, ‘bred’ in Melbourne, 1966 he waited till 1989 when he ‘escaped from completing an uninspiring degree and commenced traveling the globe.’

In 1998 he settled in Ubud to work and learn art world tactics with Symon, one of Bali’s most established artists, at his Art Zoo. This is where Andrew commenced painting and gave up being just a voyeur in galleries.

Andrew’s art is inspired by his excitement for such artists as Magritte, Whiteley, Matisse, and Warhol and he is also holds fervor with the 50’s, highways and BIG bold advertising. This jumps back out in his art, with paintings of Vespas and Cadillacs as well as a recent piece I saw of giant INDOMILK cartons and a Cow.

Andrew uses a variety of media in his art, from acrylics, dirty charcoals and sensual oils to print on canvas, tin, mirrors, rice bags and more. He has exhibited from Melbourne to Bali, Jakarta to Singapore and his art can be found at Randelli Gallery Bali, Seminyak (+62361) 73 1488 as well as Krane Art Gallery Ubud, Bali, (+62361) 97 5440. In Jakarta you can find his pieces at the JICC, Tamarind (+6221) 718 0031 and at Toi Moi in Kemang.

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He describes himself as an autobiographical artist inspired by objects of beauty and loved ones. The man and his art are bold, straightforward, amusing and fun. He paints what he loves and that’s why you’ll find canvases of Stella chasing a ball at the beach leaning against the studio wall, a string of vespas scooting across a skinny canvas, surfers riding down ultramarine waves. Andrew paints what he does and does what he paints; a gentle soul with a permanent smile on his face, most definitely induced by his lifestyle. He enjoys art and living in Bali and he comes across as a man who is doing what he wants, loving it and ready to share his sense of good clean fun and beautiful things with the world. With Andrew what you see is what you get. Wellman’s art is direct, strong & vivid ‘like those classic pop songs that you love the first time you hear them…’

From KABAR October 2005

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