28-year old painter Andrea Nakhla grew up in Wausau, Wisconsin. Six years ago she moved to Los Angeles, where she now has a “little studio” in DTLA Art District.
“I always loved painting and making things, but 25 was when I really began to paint consistently,” she tells us. “I didn’t go to college except for a web design and art history class. I would have loved to go to art school, but I couldn’t imagine being in that much debt.”
Last year, Andrea had her first solo show at New Image Art, exhibiting large scale paintings in oil on canvas. “I went to each person’s house or a location around the neighbourhood and took a bunch of photos which I then photoshopped into the composition for the painting,” Andrea explains of her larger paintings. “From there it took me anywhere from 20 to 40 hours to finish a painting. I also created a bunch of smaller works which were much looser and more fun to do. These were all painted from photos I had taken over my time in LA and you can see people from the main portraits weave in and out of those to add more narrative and context. I wanted it to be sort of like a painting documentary.”
Andrea’s sitters are predominantly close friends who she describes as “eastside LA creative types, musicians, writers and filmmakers that were at a similar time in life. I was interested in the shared existential anxiety that it seemed we were all trying to combat with some form of art or creation,” she says.
“I wanted to tell a story of each subject individually, as well as a reflection of the whole. I was thinking about it from a kind of an anthropological perspective. I had also just finished the book _Immortality_ by Milan Kundera and was really interested in the way we try to create our own immortality, and the way paintings can preserve a time and place.”
Recently, she’s been trying to find people to paint via the internet, a process which she describes as “interesting”. “I’m still alive, so that’s something!” she says.