Today I am overjoyed to share some amazing words of wisdom from Andrew Frazer of ADF Designs! I contacted him in regard to a beautiful piece he did and asked if he'd mind sharing his story here today. I can't tell you how happy I am that he accepted the offer...you're SURE to be encouraged by his story and heart for God and other people. Enjoy!
Tell us a little about your story...
Hello – my name is Andrew Frazer.
I grew up in a small coastal city called Bunbury on the South West coast of Western Australia & I loved the lifestyle. There was a sense of freedom growing up close the ocean - a gift that I hope to never take for granted. To be honest I never really had the desire to travel abroad growing up but I was always inspired by stories from my Mum (who is from England) & how she grew up in a different culture to what I had experienced. When I was 18 the opportunity to move to South Africa for 3 months as a full time volunteer presented itself & I just couldn't resist. This trip in many ways changed my life & caused my eyes to begin looking beyond my own wants & start responding to the needs around me both locally & internationally.
The years that followed were full of travels, risk & raw adventure – something I wouldn't exchange for any amount of money. Life isn't always full of adventure though & sometimes it is a dark valley in which you would prefer to disappear. These are the stories for another conversation, but what I can say is this – the valley only makes the peaks all the more beautiful. I have spent the last two years living in Canada with my beautiful wife – Drea & I have only just recently moved back to my hometown of Bunbury where we are currently settling back into life close to the ocean. God’s gift.
When did you decide to become an artist and what kind of art do you do?
I can’t remember a conscious moment where I decided to become an artist, but from a young age it was always a desire & passion. It was an expression of who I was/am & it felt natural to create. My medium growing up was predominately pen & pencil on paper & years on that hasn't changed too much. I am an illustrator who uses pen & pencil to create the foundation in which my final art is developed & refined. The core foundation in all of my art is imagination for without this functioning in my life, I easily become overly structured & inevitably self-absorbed through the fear of copying.
What inspires your illustration and design?
More than anything it is relationship from the closest person in my life right through to the homeless on the street. Everyone has a story & more often than not – a melting pot of joy, pain, hope, disappointment, celebration, betrayal, forgiveness & the desire to be forgiven. I have discovered that when I am willing to slow down & actually listen then I allow my life to be shaped in a beautiful way. I engage with those around me rather than becoming an observer making assumptions about those around me. Judgment is replaced with inspiration & my art is the beneficiary. My hope is that in turn my art would be vessel that continues to share these stories & spark a dialogue of change in those who viewing continuing to direct us to be outward focused.
I saw on your blog that you've had many clients and collaborators...tell us about some of your favorites!
I had the pleasure of creating a show poster for USA based musician & creative – Josh Garrels. I had been introduced to his music via a good mate of mine & was immediately captivated by the emotions that were evoked within me through his beautiful written lyrics & melodies. Josh is a humble & generous individual.
Another project was in creating a mural on the side of a local Canadian café in Guelph, Ontario. I created a fox holding a potted flower with hand lettering saying ‘He Knew She Was Worth The Wait’ by the front door of the café. It was exciting to be painting & having a group of small girls come & watch with their Mum. When being asked what they thought of the fox – the girls said ‘…yeah, we like it a lot’. For me that response is golden & it completely made my day.
Each design project has a story & there are many to share, but perhaps we can save those for another time.
What media do you use to create?
I predominately use pen & pencil on paper. My favourtie would be a 0.1 felt tip pen on some heavy weight hot press cotton paper…hmmmmm. That being said – I am currently loving the use of watercolour & watercolour pencils. The beauty of colour bleeding into each other is such a great visual & certainly something that I want to explore further as time unfolds. I am currently in talks about some potential mural opportunities in Western Australia which I would use brushes, rollers & exterior acrylic paint… the bigger the better!
How does your faith play a part in your designs?
I am created in the image of an infinitely creative God. Through His word I have been created to be creative as an expression of who He is & in turn who I am. This is the truth for everyone but unfortunately we tend to box creativity into known mediums but what about… cooking, mechanics, butchering, plumbing, gardening? These are all art forms in which the individual is responding to their God given desires. Because this is the way that I view the world & everything within it my art becomes an extension of this reality. I value relationship because God has given them to us & so my art gives reflection of this value. I use my imagination because God has created the brain to create imagery in a beautiful medium that can barely be explained & yet undoubtedly celebrated.
Do you ever get discouraged or have a design that proves to be very challenging? How do you keep going?
YES. This usually occurs on each project at least once…ha ha ha. I would like to say that everything is smooth sailing & that everything I attempt ‘works’ beautifully, but rarely is this the case. I often need to walk away for a few minutes (thanks to my wife’s encouragement), take a breath & return with some fresh eyes. I am slowly learning to not run from this tension though, as it usually produces my best art. Walking humbly is key & being willing to admit that I may not be the best suited artists for a particular project has saved me (& the client) a lot of heart ache. At the end of the day – it is all about taking risk, not living in the fear of failure & remembering you are not the first person to be challenged or discouraged.
You've done everything from tattoo & logo design to wedding lettering and murals...what's next? Do have big plans/goals for the future of your art?
I’m planning on some large murals in Western Australia, which is very exciting! I also am planning a solo exhibition, which is currently on the back burner for now, but hopefully not too far away. In extension – I would be honoured to illustrate a children’s book & so I am currently developing a collection of ideas & looking for collaborators…keen?
For all past, current & future art, please feel welcome to visit}
Thanks Andrew! So glad to have had you at Specs & Wings today!
Everyone be sure to check out his shops and ask him about custom designs too: