Elizabeth Andrews

Life Dates:
b. 1957
Artist Biography:
Elizabeth Andrews Elizabeth Andrews was born on November 4th 1957 in Buffalo New York. She was the second child of five born to two artists. Shortly after her birth her family moved to New York City and by the time she was in the fourth grade her artistic talent was shining through. Once it was noticed that she was gifted in drawing her parents send her work to the school at the Museum for Modern Art. After they had looked her work over she was offered a scholarship to attend classes there. It was an amazing opportunity for someone so young, but before the fifth grade started her family moved to Teaneck New Jersey. Since the distance between the two areas was so great Elizabeth was not able to attend classes at the school at the Museum for Modern Art anymore. She was extremely bummed and to compensate for not being able to go anymore she spent the time that she would have been spending there in her room working on her drawings and writing poetry. Between her time in New Jersey and college her and her family moved around a few more times and so she had to get used to new areas and new settings. Moving is always difficult for anyone, but she just dealt with it by spending her down time working on her projects in her room. She was a bit of a loaner. Even though she wasn’t able to take classes at the school located at the Museum for Modern Art though she wasn’t totally devoid of opportunity. Her mother was an art teacher and so she still had chances to go to the city and get inspiration. Then when it was time for her to go to college she decided to go to Buffalo State College in New York to study art. After attending the college for a year or so she transferred to the university of buffalo where “she believed she had a calling to be a medical illustrator” (1). However, the university didn’t have a designated program for that and so she requested to be able to do an independent study for her degree. They allowed her to do so, but neither she nor the patients she was presenting her drawings to understood how they were going to help anyone and so she felt lost. She didn’t know how she was going to make a living drawing medical illustrations so after graduating she decided to fold her hand and take a job at a department store. Even though she felt completely defeated she never gave up on her art. She continued to constantly write and draw in her spare time. It was at the department store in lingerie that she learned how retail worked and it wasn’t until the birth of her daughter in 1983 that real inspiration finally struck. It was at this time that she decided to make a series of antique toy illustrations as well as portraits of people she had meet in college and even a greeting card line that she designed. Armed with all three of these projects she entered her first art show. It was an outdoor art show in Lewiston New York and she took home a ribbon for her drawings, but unfortunately she did not sell any artwork. The event wasn’t a complete failure though because it showed her that there were people at least interested in her work and she didn’t give up. When she was pregnant with her second daughter inspiration struck again. When she had been on her honeymoon she had seen beautiful Amish quilts and she used the designs from them to design adorable “birth announcements with little quilts in them” (1). Needless to say they were a huge hit and through the encouragement of others she decided to try selling them. She started out small, just at a local gift shop, and this time people were purchasing them. Shortly after starting to sell them at the gift shop Elizabeth got some orders from the Museum of American Folk Art in New York and The American Museum of Quilts and Textiles in San Jose, CA. This inadvertently started her out on a path that would span a decade making quilts and quilt accessories. Even though this wasn’t her true passion it allowed her to make some money separately from her day job and it allowed her to spend time with her children in creative environments. In 1997, so many years after giving up her true art style passion she was finally able to get back to it and in the summer of that year she took an etching course at Buffalo State College. Here she was able to be creative and encouraged by a kind professor that took her under his wing. Even after she graduated he was nice enough to let her come back and use the printing press. This artistic medium allowed her to put images to her poems and stories. When she was a child she didn’t like parting with her work because then she wouldn’t have the original anymore, but with the printing press that was no longer an issue. With this device she could make her drawings and then through the stamping process every piece that she made was an original. So she got the best of both worlds. She got to keep her original original and then the pieces that she did make allowed someone to have a special piece of work. Since attending Buffalo State college and being able to work with the equipment there Elizabeth had dreamed of being able to own her own printing press, but due to finances that just wasn’t an option. Then things did a turn around and she ended up winning best of show in ARTSfest in Corning New York. Due to this she was finally able to have her own printing press and is able to produce her work out of her home now. She now lives in an old home not far from her ancestral home. She lives with her husband and has much to look forward to with her children now being grown up. Footnotes 1.http://elizabethandrewsstudio.com/bio.htm

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