10 November 2011

A Conversation with Andy of Fat Spatula

The Man Shawl 01 LRIntroducing The Man Shawl LR
I find it really hard to view Andy of Fat Spatula’s work without smiling – so I’ve stopped trying!  As he says himself, “… their main purpose is to make you smile.  Their secondary purpose is function. “ And if you’ve met Andy in person at a market you’ll know he is a walking advertisement for his wonderful products – often modelling the well-known ‘Man Shawl’ with it’s multitude of uses or one of his ‘Haumoana’ t-shirts.  I have yet to see a demonstration of ‘The Man Towel’ or a cooking lesson with the Haumoana Soup Stone, nor do I know if he can colour within the lines of ‘The real good colouring book’  – but I’m pretty sure if you asked, he’d be happy to show you!

Who is Fat Spatula?
Fat Spatula is the love-child of Andy Heyward.
I was born tiny but now I am much bigger. I am an artist, a painter, a lover, and a father. I enjoy illustrating the ideas that I concoct and I like the act of creating, whether photographic, cartoon, digital, paint or craft.

While being a self-employed graphic artist for a living I also paint and create on a regular basis.
I consider my work to be deeply shallow and I enjoy bringing a smile to people’s faces. I also like to glorify everyday objects and make what is not precious the centre of attention.

Painting and making is a creative release from my other serious and stressful positions of being President of the Haumoana Lemon Marketing Board and Founding member of the Haumoana Men’s Knitting Club.

What’s your “handmade groove ?”
I like the quirky and slightly off-beat in life. I love work that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and things that have a twist, something that wasn’t obvious at first glance. In this day and age of social networking and virtual existence, I like the things that have been made by human hands and thoughts. I think the human touch is what is appealing about the handmade objects and art that I like to surround myself with.

What’s on your bedside table right now? (hey, no tidying up or censoring)
On my bedside table is a headlamp (for midnight reading), a book I have nearly finished “Fall of Giants” by Ken Follet, a bottle of water, a shoelace, a metal car badge from a Hillman Hunter, an old plastic Tiki they used to hand out on Air New Zealand Flights and plenty of dust.

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?
My creative role models are many and varied. I am inspired by the paintings of Modigliani and Carravagio. I am continually amazed at the creativity of my beautiful bride. I love watching b-grade movies and classic comedy. I usually have a variety of music on my playlist – from Frank Zapper to Mt Eden Dubstep to Tool. I love to paint with the music blasting and a strong cup of coffee at hand.

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?
Philosophy, art and the role of porn-stars as educators.

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?
A workshop in how to ask a top price while not caving to artistic guilt at charging too much for something I love to do. I really enjoyed jewellery making when I was studying art and I would love to get back into making jewellery pieces from a blokes point of view. I also want to learn how to cast in aluminium or other metal. Any workshop that allowed me to try new things would also appeal greatly, knowledge is power . . . apparently.

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?
As I work from home my family life, commitments and creative life are all intertwined together. You can be creative in the mundane banality of everyday chores. In saying that I have a heap of unfinished ideas I have written in a sketchbook waiting to see the light of day. Creativity requires creating space to make those ideas happen. Who needs sleep anyway?

What is your favourite creative screw-up?
I love to deliberately screw around with recipes, I don’t think I have followed one recipe exactly as it is in the book. I love to tinker with meals adding in odd ingredients, not always with good results. My kids won’t let me forget when I decided to make marmite pancakes followed by a weet-bix millkshake, they tucked into the pancakes thinking they were blobs of chocolate, now they question what the meal is made of more carefully.

Kitchen table or studio?

Studio that quite often spills out on to the kitchen table as the mess expands to fill any clear space it can find. I recently turned one of the large rooms into my workspace and art gallery. This was an attempt at appearing more professional, it also means I only have to tidy one room when I am expecting clients.

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?
I wish that artists were revered as much as rugby players in this country. Imagine collecting a whole set of Weet-bix cards with artists and crafsters on them. Imagine arty folks getting paid to endorse a product on telly. Imagine a government re-writing laws to suit your creative endeavours.

My other wish would be the ability to import or post internationally without the postage costing more than the item.

My material wish list is ever increasing. At the moment I would like to upgrade my camera and computer equipment. The rate of technological improvements constantly leaves me behind. I can never have enough art books and I may need to build a new bookcase to house them.
Soup stone
the real good colouring book 01the real good colouring book 02
You can find Fat-Spatula products …. here
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  1. Hi Andy,
    I also love the things that have been made with human hands and thoughts, this is the essence of Handmade. cheers Marie

  2. Did they really used to hand out plastic tiki's on Air NZ flights Andy? I feel like I've missed out!! Great interview and love your work :)

  3. A great read Andy. Yes Mel - I remember the tiki's from when I was young - very very young:)

  4. Ahh thanks - It is slightly strange reading what I have said, almost like you are having a conversation with your inner-self.

    Yes the Plastic Tiki's were kind of cool kitch. I still have a couple, one in the original plastic bag from Air NZ. It may be worth heaps one day . . . or not.


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