About Andrew Hem
Raised in Los Angeles, artist Andrew Hem was born during his parents’ flight from Cambodia in the Khmer Rouge genocide wake. He grew up carrying two opposite cultures – the rural one of his Khmer ancestors and the vivid urban one of the Los Angeles neighborhood he lived in. Andrew felt soon drawn by the infinite graffiti murals of his city. So from an early age, he gained good skills through graphics and composition by experimenting with some graffiti. Later he applied for and achieved a degree from the Art Center College of Design.
Artwork and Practice
Through his imagery, Andrew typically depicts individual characters in their space, which doesn’t always resemble the real world. This artist’s choice enhances the illusionistic feeling of memories and dreams. His chosen color palette doesn’t usually match reality, yet he recreates through colors a natural rendering.
Hem echoes graffiti art as an allusion to street culture, art, and fashion. Andrew’s narrative style combines gouache, oil, and acrylic paint.
Still floating or staring, his characters are all framed in their spaces as if the environment froze them to highlight the individual’s essence. The bodies fill the canvas to interpret their crucial role. It’s through the backgrounds that Andrew explores the narrative details of the depicted emotions. The decisive mood is urban, whimsical, tangible, and fabled—a proper fusion of his roots. To Andrew, colors are the language of emotions. Considerably attracted to color combinations, his artworks are highly expressive of a carefully planned color scheme.