"The talent level in Grand Haven is nothing like I’ve ever seen in a small town. I have lived in Boston, Los Angeles, and close to Minneapolis and have never seen a talent level this high." - Andy Frisinger
Words & Photos by: Paul & April Jendrasiak
Andy Frisinger has been playing saxophone and singing professionally for the last 22 years. So, when Paul and I heard he had his watercolor paintings on display at The Theatre Bar, we knew we had to go check them out. We were both taken back by the level of detail in each painting and surprised to discover he hasn’t been painting all that long. In fact, this was his first time showing his work.
During our interview, Andy’s charismatic and joyful approach to life was clearly evident as we listened to him chat about art, music, and life. We learned that Andy spent 7 years living in LA, has worked for MTV, and loves calling Grand Haven his home. Andy’s contagious smile has a way of making you feel like you’ve been his best friend for a long time which understandably led us to chatting with him for well over an hour soaking in his positive and highly inspirational creative energy.
Andy is a truly talented and genuine human being. We encourage you to stop by The Theatre Bar at 22 Washington and check out Andy’s 1980’s inspired watercolor art that will be displayed until the end of November. And don’t forget to bring your wallet because everything on display is available for purchase.
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
"When it comes to painting, I am basically self taught. I took a watercolor class for a half of a semester then ran out of time. I had already purchased the equipment and enjoyed my time so I kept going with it. I’ve recently watched some tutorials and learned that I am doing things the opposite of what the “pros” are teaching, but it’s working so who cares."
How long have you been painting?
"I have been painting on and off for the last 5 1/2 years. I started painting to get a credit in college but it has turned out to be a very enjoyable experience and a stress relieving activity. I never intended for any of my stuff to be exhibited but it it is very humbling that it has worked out that way."
"I’ve recently watched some tutorials and learned that I am doing things the opposite of what the 'pros' are teaching, but it’s working so who cares." - Andy Frisinger
What creative patterns, routines, rituals do you have?
"I don’t really have any set rituals but I do really enjoy painting while listening to 80’s music. I think that's because I paint pop culture pictures that mostly involve my favorite decade. It puts me in the mood. Also an adult beverage is always a must when hunkering in for a paint session."
What is your favorite thing you have ever created?
"Probably my first painting I ever did. It was a picture of a sloth I took in Costa Rica. It was really cool to see a painting come to life and look like a photograph. (to some extent)."
What medium would you like to pursue but haven’t yet?
"Honestly, I wanna play guitar. I believe all art is connected and when I’m asked that question my mind races first to music. I have always wanted to play guitar but have not gotten serious about it."
"I believe all art is connected." - Andy Frisinger
As a musician, do you find yourself communicating the same stories through painting as you do with your music?
"I think of painting more like recording music. When you record music or paint you have a foreground, a background and all the little details. Same with recording music. When you make a musical arrangement you have parts up front, way in the back, parts on the right and left side and parts that add to the detail of the song."
Where are your paintings being shown and for how long?
"Right now, all of my paintings are being shown at The Theater Bar until the end of November. I hope to put up my Big Lebowski collection at Odd Side Ales and any other collection wherever anyone will have me."
If you could offer advice to any aspiring artist, what would you tell them?
"Learn the history of any art form you learn. Every piece of art you experience whether it be music, painting etc, is inspired by something that has been done in the past. It is so important to learn about what your hero’s did, and then make your own style based on the conglomeration of all of your inspirations."
Why do you love living in Grand Haven?
"At first I moved here because I found work, but after living here for 8 years I have the best musician friends that don’t compete with one another. We all support each other and help each other succeed. Also, the talent level in Grand Haven is nothing like I’ve ever seen in a small town. I have lived in Boston, Los Angeles, and close to Minneapolis and have never seen a talent level this high."
Tell us a little more about your background in music....
"I have been playing saxophone and singing professionally since 1994. I moved to Los Angeles for 7 years and played professionally but then moved home because of the cost of living. I never thought I would play full time when I moved home but was very wrong. I met a group of people and some fabulous venue owners such as Ben and Shawn Tabor at The Armory that are giving musicians work. Currently, I am involved with an original band called Digital Tape Machine. We are completing an album due out around the first of the year. It is going to be a very good album and it includes 3 Grand Haven musicians, Scott Pellegrom, and Joe Hettinga. We are are recording it at the world class recording studio, Third Coast Recording, run by Bill Chrysler."
You can learn even more about Andy at: http://www.AndyFrisinger.com/