Andrew Osta is a prolific and multi-talented artist. He is best known for his oil paintings, but he is also a songwriter and the author of a number of non-fiction books. He holds degrees in science and philosophy from one of the most prestigious Universities in the world, but chooses to live a simple life in a Mexican village, making art for a living.
He has a body of work that traverses many styles over nearly 20 years. Having never taken a class in art, he began painting surreal and psychedelic works in 2004. Only in 2012 did he begin to experiment with more conventional subjects, such as landscapes, portraits, and magical cityscapes. His paintings are bright, colorful, and almost entirely free of any signs of modern civilization. He is not at all interested in technological progress or in the ailments of contemporary society. His art, music, and writing show an unwillingness to be “with the times.” Rather than being contemporary, he is interested in being timeless, because everything contemporary quickly becomes dated.
Osta’s work has found many collectors internationally. Some of his biggest supporters are museum directors and curators.
A video by @Dare2dream – Music Production.
Painting start to finish (22 minute video, with music)
A Magical Landscape, Start to Finish (12 minutes, with music)
Andrew Osta speaking about Toller Cranston 2015)
2017 Solo Museum Exhibition in the Museum of the City of Durango, Durango, Mexico Solo Exhibition at “Aldama Gallery” San Miguel de Allende Solo Exhibition at “Connexion Aurora Gallery” San Miguel de Allende 2016 Solo Exhibition in Charlotte Gallery, Menton, France Museum Exhibition at Templar Museum, San Remo, Italy Joint Exhibition with accomplished French painter Jaro Slavko Group Exhibition in Palazzo del Senato, Milano, Italy 2015 Visits to Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Geneva, Dusseldorf. Artist Residency in Switzerland. Exhibitions in France and Switzerland. Portrait of Prince Albert of Monaco. 10 Year Retrospective Exhibition. 2014 Published second book, “Walk in the Light: Holy Wisdom for Modern Times” Exhibition at Toller Cranston gallery. Visits to Madrid, Barcelona, Nice, Monte Carlo, San Remo, Pisa, and Florence. Married Ninfa Cuervo 2011 – 2013 Relocation to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Mentorship under Toller Cranston. Numerous solo and group exhibitions in Mexico. Close friendships with renowned artists: Toller Cranston, Marion Perlet, Bruce Stuart, E.C. Bell, Keith Keller, and many others. First visit to Italy. 2010 Published “Shamans and Healers: The Untold Ayahuasca Story” Recorded and published Original Music CD, “Dimension Dream.” Solo and group exhibitions in Toronto and Hamilton. Visit to Guatemala. Renunciation of Shamanism 2009 Guest speaker at “The Art and Heart of Healing” conference in Peru. Joint exhibition with the late Pablo Amaringo in Iquitos, Peru. Visits to Paris, Dublin, Kiev, Colombia and Brazil. Shamanic apprenticeship in Peru 2008 Helped develop the first “Healing and Counseling Through Art” program in Canada. Worked as assistant art therapist. Exhibitions in Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Toronto. Visit to Peru. 2007 Exhibitions in South Korea: Seoul and Cheonan. Guest speaker: “Automatic Subconscious Creation,” Cheonan, South Korea Visit to Osaka, Japan 2006 Graduated with top honors from the University of Toronto. Exhibitions in Hamilton, Dundas, Toronto. Visits to New York and Mexico Exhibitions in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Guest speaker at McMaster University. Radio interview with on McMaster Radio. 2005 Began to draw (pen and ink) and paint (pastels) 2002 Began writing poetry, songs, and music. 1994 Immigrated to Canada. 1982 Born in Kiev, Ukraine.
2018 CI Banco, San Francisco 21, Centro, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Espacio, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Luz de Luna, Oaxaca, Mexico 2017 Bordello Gallery, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico CI Banco, San Francisco 21, Centro, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Museo del Pueblo, Durango, Durango, Mexico The Gallery, San Miguel de Allende Mexique Decor, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Avalon Gallery, Marin County, CA Luz de Luna, Oaxaca, Mexico 2016 Charlotte Gallery, Menton, France. Hotel des Anglais, San Remo, Italy. Russian Bistro, San Miguel de Allende Studio Andrew Osta, San Miguel de Allende 2015 Shelter Theater, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Casa de Europa en Mexico, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Casa Jean Binet, Trelex, Switzerland Hecho en Mexico, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Casa de Europa en Mexico, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Bordello Gallery, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 2014 Toller Cranston Gallery, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico “Sharon de Jardines Gallery, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Dolce Far Niente, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico La Biblioteca, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Bordello Gallery, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico The Word, Kerrville, Texas Casa Esperanza, Oaxaca, Mexico 2013 Instituto de Arquitectura de la Ciudad de Mexico CAM-SAM., Mexico D.F. El Syndicato, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Bordello Gallery, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico La Biblioteca, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 2012 Ideas, Xalapa, Mexico La Biblioteca, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Galeria Bella Epoca, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 2011 Engine Gallery, Toronto, Ontario Canada The Divine Touch, Toronto, Ontario Canada Arts Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Volunteer Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 2010 Norman Felix Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Sunrise Gallery, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada The Print Studio, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Gallery 4, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 2009 Intolerant Gallery, Hamilton, Ontario The Freeway, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Hamilton Artists Inc, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada ICAA, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Norman Felix Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 2008 Liuna Center, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Sunrise Gallery, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Mentor Gallery, Cheonan, South Korea Gallery 4, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 2007 McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Parker Pearce Gallery, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Moonbean Cafe, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 2006 Victory Café, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2018 Hecho en Mexico, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico La Tienda, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Galeria Vagamundo, Oaxaca, Mexico Hotel des Anglais, San Remo, Italy. 2017 Casa de la Noche, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Hecho en Mexico, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Salon Andre Pascal, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Hotel des Anglais, San Remo, Italy. 2016 Charlotte Gallery, Menton, France Palazzo del Senato, Milan, Italy Jaro Slavko Gallery, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Mon Bistro, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Hecho en Mexico, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Casa de Corazon, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico La Tienda, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Salon Andre Pascal, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 2015 Bordello Gallery, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Contemporary Art Gallery Relox 46, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Casa Corazon, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 2014 Toller Cranston Gallery, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Hercules, Queretaro, Mexico Rosewood Hotel, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 10th International Shamanism Conference, Iquitos, Peru 2013 El Castillo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Casa Canal, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Instituto Allende, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 2012 El Castillo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Punto Fijo Galeria, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Hercules, Queretaro, Mexico 2011 Punto Fijo Galeria, Mexico, D.F., Mexico Hotel Real de Minas, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Intolerant Gallery, Hamilton, Ontario 7th Annual Amazonian Shamanism Conference, Iquitos, Peru. Sunrise Gallery, Hamilton, Ontario 2010 6th Annual International Shamanism Conference, Iquitos, Peru Norman Felix Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 2009 Global Citizenship Conference, McMaster University, Canada 5th Annual International Shamanism Conference, Iquitos, Peru Norman Felix Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 2008 McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Liuna Center, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Sabawoon, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Centre for Immigrant Arts and Culture, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 2007 Art in The Ghetto, Seoul, South Korea High Park Art Tour, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Dundas Valley School of Art, Dundas, Canada Hamilton City Hall, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 2006 Hamilton Central Library, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Parker Pearce Gallery, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Dundas Valley School of Art, Dundas, Ontario, Canada
Every one of the paintings began in the same way – I applied paint to the canvas without the slightest idea of what I would paint. As I covered the canvas with color, forms began to emerge, and I brought out whatever I saw, emphasizing certain things and erasing others. In some of the paintings, the forms and the colors changed multiple times. Faces turned into flowers, into fish, into animals, leaves, and so on. The thickness of the paint will tell you a lot about whether the painting went through significant modifications as I worked on in. In other paintings, things came together from the very start, and you can see that the paint is thin. As to what each painting means, it is similar to interpreting a dream. In a way, my paintings are created in the process of conscious dreaming. I participate in the selection of colors, choosing them to my liking, but the shapes often take form during a process of free-association, similar to an ink blot that “looks like” some recognizable form. Thus, I see various forms in the blots of paint. Then, I just bring out what I see. In my earlier works, I used to paint whatever I saw without any kind of filtration system in place, but I am now more selective about the forms I bring out. I only want to bring out positive and life-affirming images now. If I begin to see a disturbing image, I usually just paint it over and look for something else to come through. In retrospect, my paintings reflect my inner world through symbolism. If a painting takes two weeks to paint, that painting captures my main emotions, thoughts and ideas during that two-week period. Other people may understand my work in an entirely different manner than I do, and that is completely alright with me. I do not think that there is only one correct interpretation of my paintings – they are so multi-layered that in most cases, a single interpretation is simply impossible. As the eye travels over the canvas, the mind can come up with many interpretations, or perhaps no interpretation whatsoever. Sometimes, I do not understand the meaning of my forms and symbols, but the composition, the colors, the balance, and the feel of the painting are intuitively known by me to be right. When this happens, I call a painting “finished”.
I am fascinated with the creative process, and continuously push the boundaries of my own artistic experience to go into previously uncharted territory. In 2011, this means drastically changing my subject matter. From 2005 to 2010, I had been creating narratives with my paintings, where each work was a complex and involved story, similar to a profound dream, open to the individual interpretation of the viewer. My narratives always contained hidden elements that are not noticeable during a casual viewing. Therefore, each of my early paintings and drawings asks for a certain amount of time and attention from the viewer before revealing itself completely. When I paint, I follow a process of visual free-association. As a result, most of my paintings reflect my life-situation and emotional state at the time. How abstract or concrete this reflection is depends on how I feel, but also on how comfortable I am discussing my subject matter.
I have always felt that an artist is an extremely sensitive being, who is aware of things which most other people simply do not notice. The artist is like a mirror that reflects the things in front of it, and my work has been focused on reflecting my own perceptions of everything within me and around me. An artist always perceives things differently from “normal” people, and each artist shares his or her perception with the world, so that anyone can step into the artist’s shoes and see the world through his or her eyes. A true artist must make his or her life into art, so that the beauty of that life can be reflected to others.
If I have a day when I have created something – a song, a painting, or something else that didn’t exist yesterday, I am happy. If I pass a day without creating anything, it is a lost day to me. I will not even remember it. It might as well have never happened. In painting, I constantly study. I study relationships between colors, juxtapositions of elements, perspective, and so on. I would like my art to be both accessible to people with no art background, and to possess enough artistry to be appreciated by the experts.
I keep trying to express feelings, thoughts, and perceptions for which I have no words. Sometimes, these expressions include a complex dream-like symbolism that even I can’t understand. A lot of my work speaks on a subconscious level. The artist has to figure out what is most important in any given painting, and make everything else submit to that. The next color that goes on the canvas depends on what is already there. The harmony of the whole is most essential!
I will be the first to admit that writing about my art is not easy. First, why do I paint at all? I started creating art in 2004 because it helped to unwind my brain and was therapeutic. My early work was in a way a purging process, an uncovering of my fears and desires. I used symbols but without understanding what the symbols meant, and when at some point, standing in front of the painting I burst out laughing, I knew that it was either finished or close to it. I looked at those early paintings as one looks at records of dreams, trying to figure out what my unconscious was trying to tell me. At this point, my painting process was highly personal, and I was not concerned with aesthetics. Even so, early paintings took a long time to complete, from several weeks to many months.Later came a period of asking myself what I have not yet done as a painter and doing it. It was about broadening my horizons and expanding my vocabulary. This is how my first landscapes and florals came about. I did them simply because I had never done them. Because I have never studied art formally, a lot of my process consists to this day in exploring various methods and techniques, to see what works. My brain does not retain a lot of memory when it comes to everyday life, yet it is somehow capable of remembering all kinds of subtleties when it comes to color, i.e. how to very quickly mix the needed color hue, what effect any color would have when placed next to another color, etc. During the execution of every one of my paintings, even to this day, after painting for 15 years, I continue to try things I haven’t tried before. Basically, I have a powerful drive to learn and discover.Several artists and curators have pointed out that my art often appears to use all colors of the rainbow, and a few have suggested that I limit my palette. I’m not against limited palettes, but I feel that using the full color spectrum has a positive impact on the soul. In this sense, my art is spiritual even when not explicitly so. Unlike forms, which speak more to the mind, colors and color relationships speak to the spirit.I maintain the firm stance that good art (as opposed to bad art) does not require a lengthy writeup next to it in order to be appreciated, so I will stop writing here.