Meet the search engine marketing artist Gretchen Andrew
Gretchen Andrew uses the internet not only as a theme, but also as a muse, nemes and raw material. She creates “vision boards” that aesthetically revolve around alleged female images and energy, but manipulate the technology with a rogue-hacker flair that is programmed to hijack targeted search engine algorithms. Her work history at Google not only gave her the expertise but also the inspiration to break into the flow of information and successfully replaced the top search results for institutions in the art world from Frieze Los Angeles to the Whitney Biennale and even the “cover” of the Artforum. Her cheeky subversions are tied to her collages – both digital and in dimensional IRL mixed media works – with images taken from search engine results that she later infiltrated – resulting in vivid and broken hyper-pop narratives of life leads in cyberspace.
LA WEEKLY: When did you first know that you were an artist?
GRETCHEN ANDREW: When I decided to be one. I made that decision when I was 24 and I was overpaid to work at the world’s leading company … and I was unhappy. I mean, I don’t think I really had a choice at this point.
What’s your short answer to people asking what your job is about?
My work is about the power of desire. I hack power systems with art, glitter, and code to get anything I ever wanted. I program my vision boards to get top search results and use AI and natural language processing to manipulate the internet to make my dreams come true.
What would you do if you weren’t an artist?
When I’m not doing art, I don’t play Taylor Swift covers on the piano and drink champagne. Is that a job? If putting gemstones on canvas and talking about what I want is a job, I bet it would be.
Did you go to art school Why why not?
Google “Best MFA” and instead of the top art schools you get my vision boards on how to go your own way instead of paying for formal art education. At first I didn’t go to art school because I couldn’t get in. As my practice has evolved, I have found that the most honest art I can do is the most personal and well-founded on my very individual path. which for me meant working in big tech and studying information theory.
Why do you live and work in LA and not elsewhere?
I can also easily source all of my craft supplies such as 500 ballerina hats from LA’s unique craft and fashion districts.
When is / was your current / last / next show?
I am currently working in the König Galerie in Berlin in an exhibition entitled The artist is online: Painting and sculpture in the digital age. I then have my first solo exhibition with the Annka Kultys Gallery in London, which opens on April 22nd and is called “Other Forms of Travel”. It’s the first time my vision boards have been hung in a gallery and you can actually visit them!
Which artist, living or dead, would you most like to show with?
During my upcoming stay at London’s National Gallery X, I will be exhibiting in virtual reality with an officially loaned Van Gogh. I also like the idea that 10 years from now our heroes should be ourselves. This is just the beginning and every day I am creating my future.
Website and social media handles please!