I tend to be better at imagining the end goal than the steps to get there. I'll be the first one to admit that. When I decided to take over Skinny Dip Candles in August 2020, I knew I wanted these little tins of wax, oils and butters to become something more to. I wanted them to offer a moment of self care, a chance to embrace our unique and beautiful selves, and a community working toward joy.
Because I can't seem to do anything in small steps, I went straight to rebranding. I happened to be touring Intrigue Ink in Bozeman around that time and was quickly obsessed with one of the artists they were featuring named Andrew Houser. I bought two prints and proceeded to find him on Instagram and liked probably 15 of his pictures at once. They were so unique and fun and whimsical. We started chatting and I quickly hired him to create my new logo.
And THANK GOODNESS for Andrew. I had a very vague idea of what I wanted our new logo to look like and he took my smattering of words and jumble of thoughts and put them together into what is now our "cheeky" (yes pun intended) Skinny Dip Gal. He is such a genuine person with incredible talent and I know he created the perfect face for my vision.
I wanted you all to have a chance to get to know him better, so he is this month's community feature. Enjoy and then follow this fantastic individual!
Please introduce yourself and what you do.
My name is Andrew Houser and I am a Freelance Illustrator based in Bozeman, MT USA.
When did you first become interested in art?
I have always loved art and am fascinated by humankind’s natural inclination to create. I’ve been drawing since I was a small boy but it wasn’t until 2016 when I began to consider a career as a creative.
When/how did you decide to make art your career?
Art has been the thing I always come back to. It is my homebase. I am incredibly blessed to be able to support myself with my illustrations but even if I couldn’t, I would still be creating. I think it is important to find the thing that one would do despite whether it failed or succeeded because that is when you know you love doing something.
How would you describe your artistic style and what sets you apart?
My illustrations are primarily made with graphite pencils, ink pens, and markers, but more recently I have been creating some drawings digitally. I would describe my style as a “planned mess” with dramatic line work that conveys a sense of idealism rather than realism. I am fascinated by the human brain and its unique way of processing imagery; the way our brains perceive things like value, shape, size, perspective etc and I like to try to trick the viewers’ brains with my compositions while still giving them something pleasing to look at. It is this juxtaposition of being confused but also comforted by a piece that sets my work apart from other illustrators.
How has your style changed over time? Was there a specific project or person of influence that sent you in a certain direction?
It is easy to judge my drawings from a decade ago through the eyes I have today but I try not to be too hard on myself. I am primarily self-taught and am proud to say that my style and tenacity to detail has most certainly evolved but also excited to say that I’m nowhere near the artist/person I hope to grow into. Everyone is a creator and everyone is on a journey. I myself sometimes feel as if I am just in my adolescence in my skill set but that’s okay because I have even grander ambitions as a creator and will always be trying to improve myself, not only in art but also as a human as well.
Based in the Philippines, illustrator and author Kerby Rosanes has always been someone I’ve been inspired by. His work taught me that art is subjective, it doesn’t have to adhere to any rules, It can be messy doodles that are still compelling, and I should be creating not only for those around me but for myself; doing projects that fulfill me.
You did the artwork for our Skinny Dip Candle logo! Yay! Can you describe your journey of creating the logo and why you were so excited for this project?
The Skinny Dip Candle rebranding project was one of my most beloved projects I have had the pleasure of working on in my young illustrating career. This project enabled me to push my skills into areas they had never been pushed before; challenging me in the best ways possible. I LOVE studying anatomy so it was really fun to experiment with that. I think as a Freelance Illustrator it is important to do work for those you can relate to and when it came to Skinny Dip Candle, I understood and believed in the company’s mission and it was that that made it such a wonderful working opportunity! I also met a couple of cool cats along the way!!
What is your favorite part about being an artist?
I love when I see people being able to just do what they want. We are living in a time where people can pursue their passions, achieve their goals, and have fun doing it. I love drawing and the fact that I can pay my bills doing it fills me with so much joy because it was not too long ago in our history that people had to put aside their passions in order to “get by”.
On the flip side, what is the most challenging aspect of being an artist?
The most difficult aspect of being an Illustrator is peoples’ misunderstanding of your work’s worth. It is a tale as old as art itself that basically describes how some people don’t feel the need to pay an artist for their services. I have had a lot of moronic individuals reach out to me with requests to draw something for them, for a friend, and/ or for a business and not wanting to compensate me for my time and craft. It is the misunderstanding that what I do as an illustrator is easy rather than years spent on developing skills and honing my craft. It is something that is mostly easy to look past but I think we as a society need to raise awareness on this phenomenon all the same because exposure does not pay the bills and it is artists’ livelihoods at stake.
You come up with some unique concepts! For example, a dolphin orange slice! Where do you get your inspiration?
In the shower. I can’t explain it better than that and I don’t know if there is a science behind it but I have come up with some of my most fun projects while bathing.
Why do you feel that art is important to the world?
Art is important for the world because it entertains the masses. Entertainment is an essential element of society. Entertainment gives us our sense of individuality, it makes us feel happy, sad, scared, surprised, angered, disgusted, loved, awe, envy, entrancement, nostalgic, romantic, and the list goes on. It’s these emotions that we feel as a byproduct of art and entertainment that above all other things, make us human.
Where can people find your art or learn more about you?
People can feel free to checkout my online portfolio @andrewhouserart on Instagram! For other inquiries, you can reach out to me via, text, email, carrier pigeon, and/or direct message! My Contact is…