Artist and story-teller based in New York, New York.

narrator - artist

Andy H—Wei Andy H—Wei

Andy
H—Wei

Biography

Vulcan on his forge, the boy elegantly makes
the final stroke, finishing the chef d’oeuvre
that Monet himself would envy.

With helmet tip as sharp as the pencils his mother packs for him, and an armored body as blocky as the Lego creations on his nightstand, the graphite warrior has come to life on his math homework. The corners of his mouth curve up with delight, and not a moment later, the assignment he holds shoots up

into his mother’s hands. “What is this? Why do you waste your time doodling and not studying?” she sighs. “Knowledge is the only way you’ll make a difference in this world and a student should prioritize learning above all else!”

Touch the picture

How is art not learning?
His mother’s edict puzzles him.

Deciding to bite his tongue this time, the child maintains the image of looking studiously down at his problem set, but his mind is far elsewhere. In the realms of his imagination, the boy ponders how the waves of the ocean would look and how to best capture the spray of the sea foam against the battered canoes as Hokusai did in “The Great Wave off Kanagawa.” While his fellow classmates struggle with memorizing the multiplication table, while they sweat to become the shining soccer stars during recess to captivate the attention of their female interests, the young boy struggles to complete his sidewalk chalk mural of the wildflower fields that he passes by each day and his sweat drips down on the charcoal pavements, blurring the pigments between the pastel lines. Years later, the artist paints in an interesting group of companions and a list of extracurriculars to keep himself productive. Yet, something isn’t quite right.

All the pieces of what will become the statue of his life are present, but without a foundation. The ambition and knowledge are there, but how would he make his legacy unique? There is no platform to construct that breakthrough monument of self-actualization.

‘‘Never let anyone define
what you are capable of
by using parameters
that don't apply to you.’’

Chuck Close

For years he struggles to find that missing piece.

Heeding his elders’ mandate to center his life around academic pursuits, the boy dabbles in introductory biology, partakes in philosophical discussions on Shakespearean sonnets and surveys the complexities of the Spanish language. But nothing he tries can fill that ever-present void in his life. Instead, he deals with the pressure of fitting into a mold not meant for him. In the midst of the chaos, the only seemingly stabilizing moments are when he draws out his emotions past 2 a.m. on a Moleskine sketchbook. Caught between the looming mountains of parental expectations on one side, and the vast skies of his creative potential on the other, sketching when he’s “not supposed to” is the only time that he feels at ease. It’s the hours upon hours he spends honing his craft. The delight he brings to viewers as he proudly displays his work. The inspiration he spreads to younger aspiring artists in his community and beyond.

It all culminates in an obvious epiphany: art is his legacy, the cornerstone and pedestal of his existence.

Since that monumental moment where my world became complete, I have approached life with a different mindset. No longer shall I be confined to the expectations of others, like a market-based artist pandering to his clientele. I am free, not just able to create artistic vessels of self-expression, but to construct the pathways in my life.

In retrospect, the unintended obstacles set forth by my loved ones are the sparks that kindled my burning will to excel in the path I have chosen. So as I now sketch portraits of inspirational figures I come across on Humans of New York in class, there is no shame in being caught sketching and having my sketchbook confiscated.

Art has become the grounding force in
my life that allows me to compose , to break
through, and to seize control of
my personal destiny.

Awards &
recognitions

2017

  • Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo District Champion.
  • VASE Double Gold Seal Recipient.
  • 2017 Rodeo State Grand Champion.
  • Oil Painting “Timeless” auctioned $235,000.00 (New Rodeo Art Auction World Record)
  • 2017 Houston Mayor’s Art Scholarship Competition First Place - $1000.00 Scholarship
  • Roger Tory Peterson Artist Award
  • 2017 Susan Kathleen Black Foundation Rising Star Award
  • Awwwards - Site of the Day 12.7.17

2016

  • VASE States Qualifier.
  • Scholastic Art National Gold Key recipient.
  • 2016 Houston Mayor’s Art Scholarship Competition First Place - $1000.00 Scholarship.

2015

  • VASE (Visual Arts Scholastic Event) Gold Seal recipient - "Fable of Fortunes"
  • Western Art Academy Scholarship Program beneficiary.
  • Scholarship recipient to the annual Susan K. Black Foundation Professional Artist Meet and Workshop at Dubois, WY.

2013

  • SMS Artist of the Year

2012

  • Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Black- Ribbon Finalist award - "Texas Field"