Look higher...Love deeper
This personal mission of Irish Artist, Singer songwriter and inspirational public speaker Andi Oakes, succinctly sums up what drives him to produce his art and music, with many people finding profound inspiration and deep encouragement in his work.
Born in the picturesque county of Cornwall in England, where his mother is from, Andi grew up and lives in the Town of Lurgan in County Armagh, Northern Ireland - his Father's home town, and where Andi continues to work today.
All of my angels have homes
About his work Andi says:
I’m not sure how the journey for me as a painter really began. I have always been interested in the visual narratives. As a kid, comic books and cartoon strips were my favourite things to read and a way for me to relate to the world. I've always loved art and looking pictures and just letting that picture’s story unfold gradually and imperceptibly. Our reactions to pictures tell us more about ourselves that we care to admit.
I think painting comes from somewhere down within ourselves where deep calls to deep and logic and reason are abandoned and it’s that way with me. I didn’t ever decide to start painting angels. It’s just something that happened to me one day. I’ve always believed in something more, something higher, something better and so my paintings always have a spiritual context to them because that’s who I am. I think the angels are a reflection of that.
It’s like a complicated game of hide and seek with the angels
The key moment in the artistic process for me is when the angel is found. Sometimes this can happen quickly, more often than not it requires a lot of work, a lot of exertion (mental and physical). Perhaps the canvas is just a working board prior to a revelation. Sometimes I have to beat and scrape the paint; sometimes I have to paint it over and over again before the image appears. It’s always an emotionally charged situation and there can be tears. Throughout the process, it often seems that the angel appears when I have given up, when the canvas is a mess and nothing good has been produced. Then I attack the canvas with feverish discontent and it becomes something else, something beautiful. I have to wrestle with these paintings as there is always an urgency and a great desire to set them free, like I have to rid myself of the burden inside. Sometimes I physically hate what I have done and frenetically paint over it and only then the angel appears. It’s like a complicated game of hide and seek with the angels. My process seems completely removed from my own cognitive actions and responses a lot of the time and yet every brushstroke must be guided. When the angel appears I always greet them, I say hello, to be polite.
In painting for over 10 years, I’ve tried to paint other things, but they’ve never really worked out. This proves I’m not really an artist. I don’t know why I can paint angels, it was never a conscious choice. I have just given in to it.
I believe everyone has an angel
I believe that the Angel paintings help inspire those who are at the end of their chain, as far as feeling alone is concerned. The paintings recognise that we are all alone in our own minds but no matter what our circumstances, there is something greater than human nature that we can appeal to when we can’t deal with life anymore. Its about surrendering to our child-like instincts and believing that is something out there that loves us unconditionally. It’s not about religion (although I do have my own faith in God and endeavour to follow Jesus Christ), it’s really about the fact that there is love out there for us and just because we can’t see it, feel it or touch it, from a human perspective, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.
I believe that everyone has an angel. I have mine – from my ‘Encounter’ series. I could never sell that painting.
I believe these angel paintings have homes and I find that certain of them resonate with specific people, and maybe someone will find theirs here today.