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Making the News - Andrew Crummy

This item is taken from the following website:

Artist Andrew Crummy was born in Edinburgh in 1959 and his work has taken him to all corners of the UK as well as various places abroad. He’s found success as a painter and an illustrator and as a public artist he’s been commissioned by companies including the Scandic Crown Hotel on the Royal Mile and Whiteleys Shopping Centre in London. I spoke to him about his career so far and about his life in Edinburgh.

“I was always good at painting at school so I just fell in to it,” Andrew told me. He applied to University but didn’t get in, so ended up, by his own admission, going to Art College “because I couldn’t do anything else.” His parents were very supportive. Even though they came from a working class background there was a feeling in the air that “art wasn’t a profession you could make any money out of”.

After gaining a degree in Illustration and Printmaking and a post-graduate degree in Painting however, his first job would have made many envious.

“I worked with Everything But The Girl. It was my very first job.” Andrew’s work was heavily influenced by their music, and he felt his dreams had come true when they asked him to design their songbook for them. They commissioned 12 drawings from him. “It was surreal.”

It seemed that success came relatively easy but he confessed that whilst in London he became apathetic with just producing illustrations. “I like to get out and not be stuck behind a desk,” he said, so he allowed his work to diversify into other areas.

“London has the largest concentration of artists in Europe…so it is competitive but there are opportunities available”.

Nowadays he sells and exhibits his paintings whilst acting as a visiting lecturer to various institutions. He travels to jobs when they come, like his flat-mate and friend who went to work at Walt Disney in the USA as an animator on the film Tarzan.

After leaving Edinburgh at 18, Andrew only returned to the city four years ago for admirable paternal reasons. Even though he confessed to loving London, he wanted to bring up children in his home city.

I asked how difficult it was for an Edinburgh born artist plying his trade up here, after his years in London. “Being a local artist certainly gives you more credibility…and creates a stronger bond with the city you are in. But leaving London was really like starting over again.”

“There’s more going on but it is much harder to pay the bills. You’re never really going to make a living just selling paintings from here.”

Nevertheless, Andrew admits that there is something almost magnetic about the hold that the Edinburgh now has over him. “It is a really beautiful city,” he says warmly. His base is set and although he may travel from here, he will always return.

Published Date: June 5th 2003

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