AD 55 | Andrew Hem “Create Like There’s No Tomorrow”

Born during his parents' flight from Cambodia in the wake of the Khmer Rogue genocide, Andrew Hem grew up poised in the balance between two cultures - the rural animistic society of his Khmer ancestors, and the dynamic urban arts of the tough Los Angeles neighborhood where his family eventually came to rest. Fascinated by graffiti at an early age, he honed his skills with graphics and composition on the walls of the city before following a passion for figure drawing to a degree in illustration from Art Center College of Design. Working in gouache, oil and acrylic, he weaves atmospheric, richly textured narratives in a vivid palette of twilight blues enlivened by swaths of deep red and splashes of golden light. His haunting impressions of culture and landscape evoke the life of the spirit through the visionary manifestation of memories and dreams.

Over the six years since his graduation from Art Center with a B.F.A. in Illustration, Andrew Hem has exhibited in venues worldwide, from Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York and the Portsmouth Museum of Art in New Hampshire to solo and group exhibitions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Nashville, Miami, Toronto, Zurich and Leece, Italy. He has lectured at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida. His personal work has been featured in Beyond Illustration, the Society of Illustrators annual, Communication Arts, Spectrum, American Illustration, 3x3, Swallow and Hi-Fructose, among others, and his illustration clients have included The Atlantic, New Scientist, the Los Angeles Times, the Fort Worth Opera, Adidas and Lucky Brand Jeans. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

Show Notes: 
  • 00:00 - Introduction
  • 03:18 - Art Center Stories
  • 08:10 - Getting Into Art, Graffiti, and 90s Gangsters
  • 14:48 - Fleeing Genocide as a Baby
  • 16:04 - Cambodia Hand in Hand with Donut Shop
  • 17:52 - Mom on Instagram and Acting
  • 21:55 - Geek in the Day, Tagger by Night
  • 24:03 - Getting Arrested and Quitting Tagging Cold Turkey
  • 26:08 - Santa Monica College
  • 27:01 - Color, Figure Painting, Street Art, and Landscapes
  • 28:45 - Artists Influences
  • 30:54 - Journey From Art Center to the White House
  • 33:41 - Traveling Doing Murals
  • 43:45 - What's Coming Up Next
  • 46:27 - Wrap Up

Andrew’s Instagram
Andrew’s Website

Posted 11.25.2016


"I started this series as a means for exploration, an exploration of self, and an exploration of the perspectives of other artists.

This series is an unabridged documentation of conversations between artists. It’s a series dedicated to breaking down the barriers we tend to set up in our own minds. I want to inspire future creatives to have the courage to explore and experiment. This is about making dreams a reality and not about letting our dreams fall to the wayside.

My intention is to give my audience a sense of real human connection, something that feels rich and organic.

When I was thinking of a title I thought of the word “movement”.

In relation to the Renaissance period in art, my goal for this program is to signify a rebirth of consciousness towards the way we look at contemporary art."

- Yoshino