Splash art


POSTED: Monday, February 16, 2009

Everyone has that special talent that makes him or her unique. For Michael Phelps it's swimming. For Halle Berry it's acting. And for ceramics-photography teacher Andy Lee, it's an art style called splash art.

Lee's uncle introduced him to different styles of painting in his teen years. He first learned how to paint basic landscapes, then moved on to learning about Zen, or splash, art.

The Zen style of art was created in the 13th century by Cha'an Buddhist monks in China. When Mongol invaders took over China, the monks had to find a new way to paint because the ruler restricted some types of art. They found that splashing paint on paper could resemble an image. The government accepted this type of art because it was considered a form of meditation.

Splash art has led Lee to his job as an art teacher at Kaiser. Lee originally wanted to be a medical illustrator, a job that requires precise drawings of medical subjects. But this proved difficult for Lee because it was so different from the unrestrained style of splash art he was used to. Lee says the splash art technique is very free, allowing him to make any splash he wishes. “;From that, I decided to just be an illustrator and an artist,”; Lee explained.

Many people express their feelings through their art, painting with bright colors and light strokes when they're happy or with dark, bold strokes when they're frustrated. The same goes for Lee. He lets his splash art tell him how he is feeling.

“;If I make a splash and I can't see anything that comes out of that splash, it tells me that that day, my mind is clouded, that I can't really figure out things for myself or I can't problem-solve from stress or family issues,”; Lee said. “;When I can't interpret splashes, that just means I need to clear my head. (Splash art) is a meditative art that tells you who you are that day.”; This meditative quality is one of the things he loves most about splash art.

Splash art has taken Lee across the United States to various conventions where he displayed and sold many of his creations. “;It was a wonderful touring experience in my life,”; he said. “;I learned that people in different states have their own personalities and people in each state are a little bit different.”;

He added “;You just learn about the behavior of different people living in different cities. It was exciting just to study people.”;

Although Lee hasn't been able to show his art at conventions after enrolling in the University of Hawaii at Manoa to become a teacher, he hopes to get back to it someday. At this point, however, he really wants to focus on school and his students.

Through his conventions, Lee gained many admirers. Many art lovers bought multiple splash art pieces and thanked him for creating them.

“;There is nothing like finding your own way in life and finding something that you are good at and specializing in that,”; Lee said. “;It's one thing to work with somebody and climb up in the ranks. But to find something that you truly like and it's so different from other people, it really makes you feel more confident.”;

As for the art itself, Lee creates many different pictures from splashes, from Spider-Man to toast popping out of a toaster. Lee gets many of his inspirations from media, comic books, experiences at school and his uncle. To see more of his paintings, visit his Web site, http://www.findandy.com, where he has many of his current artwork for sale displayed, as well as a collection of paintings he has done previously.

“;Anybody can do splash art. Everybody has their own interpretations of splashes,”; Lee said. “;Some people tend to see certain things and some people tend to see other things. The beauty of splash art (is that) it's so personal no matter the splashes. It will always come out a little different.”;