HEM: DREAMS TOWARDS REALITY
is an exploration of the work of Andrew Hem, whose
introspective, otherworldly paintings describe realities one step away from our
everyday waking life. What if our thoughts flickered across the surface of our
skin like ephemeral silent movies? What if spirits walked among us, trying to
find their path? What if there were no racism, and even the most outlandish
people were accepted? What if the children of his native land had been allowed
to live in peace and thrive?
In addition to a survey of Hem’s recent paintings, this volume includes selections from his early work, graffiti, sketches, murals, sculptures and collages, as well as photographs from the extensive travel in Southeast Asia and South America that has informed his vision. With an in-depth essay by Amanda Erlanson that examines how Hem’s Cambodian heritage, urban upbringing and innate empathy merged to open his unique window into the invisible territories of the human spirit, this beautifully produced monograph is a fascinating view into the soul of an artist.
About the Artist
Born during his parents' flight from Cambodia in the wake of the Khmer Rouge
genocide, Andrew Hem grew up poised in the balance between two cultures —
the rural animistic society of his Khmer ancestors, and the dynamic urban arts
of the tough Los Angeles neighborhood where his family eventually came to rest.
Fascinated by graffiti at an early age, he honed his skills with graphics and
composition on the walls of the city before following a passion for figure
drawing to a degree in illustration from Art Center College of Design. Working
in gouache, oil and acrylic, he weaves atmospheric, richly textured narratives
in a vivid palette of twilight blues enlivened by swaths of deep red and
splashes of golden light. His haunting impressions of culture and landscape
evoke the life of the spirit through the visionary manifestation of memories and
Over the six years since his graduation from Art Center with a B.F.A. in Illustration, Andrew Hem has exhibited in venues worldwide, from Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York and the Portsmouth Museum of Art in New Hampshire to solo and group exhibitions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Nashville, Miami, Toronto, Zurich and Lecce, Italy. He has lectured at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida. His personal work has been featured in Beyond Illustration, the Society of Illustrators annual, Communication Arts, Spectrum, American Illustration, 3x3, Swallow and Hi-Fructose, among others, and his illustration clients have included The Atlantic, New Scientist, the Los Angeles Times, the Fort Worth Opera, Adidas and Lucky Brand Jeans. He lives and works in Los Angeles.
About the Writer/Editor:
Amanda Erlanson is a writer, art collector and editor of the art blog Erratic Phenomena. She grew up in backwoods New Hampshire without electricity or television, her nose buried in dusty old books, where she discovered a passion for Golden Age illustration. While slacking off from her job shelving books in the art history library of Dartmouth College, she learned most of what she knows about art. After earning her B.A. from Dartmouth with a double major in Religion and Film and a minor in Creative Writing, she headed west to pursue graduate studies at California Institute of the Arts. She now lives in Los Angeles, where she divides her time between the entertainment industry and the art world, and delves into the hearts and minds of her favorite artists through her exhaustively researched interviews. Recently, she co-authored the books Heroes & Villains and Chris Berens: Mapping Infinity and contributed essays about Mark Ryden to Juxtapoz magazine and the artist’s massive Taschen monograph Pinxit.