By Ashlan Kelly
Andrew Hirst, a graduate of Lynn and currently a multimedia designer and production coordinator on campus, has a secret only few know about—his hobby of creating collages.
Hirst is originally from Newcastle upon Tyne, a city in northeast England. His journey to Lynn began with a soccer scholarship.
After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in graphic design in 2005, Hirst became a graduate assistant in the College of Communication and Design. Not long after, he graduated and accepted the position that he currently has now with the university.
“Basically, I am a multimedia designer, responsible for supporting the faculty, doing everything from graphic design projects to video and editing work,” said Hirst. “Occasionally, I help out with commercial jobs too. I also teach a design class.”
Prior to coming to the U.S., Hirst already had a background in graphic design. Because of the opportunities that he was offered at Lynn, Hirst was able to improve upon his creative skills, putting him in a better position to obtain his current job.
Hirst has also always had a background in art, as his mother is a designer, his sister is an artist and his father is a musician.
“I come from a very creative family, so it has always been a big part of my life,” said Hirst.
Hirst sees both direct and indirect ties between art and his daily job. “Art isn’t directly related to my job, but it is a creative outlet just like my job and enables me to express myself and think outside the box,” said Hirst. “I find them both quite therapeutic, too.”
Hirst originally began creating collages due to the sense of achievement he feels after finishing a good piece, as well as the anxiety he feels when he is not creating art.
Hirst has continually received requests to complete projects for notable personalities. Recently, he received a portrait commission from Christine E. Lynn.
The lengthy process that goes into creating one of Hirst’s masterpieces is long and tedious but well-worth every second.
“The collages start off as a rough sketch on a primed canvas, usually five feet by four and a half feet in size,” said Hirst. “Then, I start to stick on pieces of magazines, using an industrial spray glue that I have previously selected and cut out or ripped out. I then build upon that to form shades and highlights, constantly referring to the original image I am replicating.”
“It’s an organic process, which seems to evolve naturally. Sometimes I will have to rework areas, though, as portraits have to be pretty precise, unless they don’t resemble the particular person. When I am finished, I apply polyurethane to seal it.”
Hirst usually works in time blocks of about four to five hours at a time. When working, most of his pieces are pre-ordered.
Lately, he has been working on selling his own pieces. In essence, it has made a second career for Hirst, but he still hopes for more opportunities to arise.
Hirst looks forward to being involved with the arts during the week of Art Basel in Miami. For Hirst, “Art is not just what I like to do, it is a part of who I am.”