Arts & Culture

The Big Jewcy: Drew Snyder, Painter and Director of The Andrews Gallery

To be honest, Drew Snyder is an old friend of mine.  He is kind and brilliant, and I remember first seeing his work hanging in the hallway of my college’s art building.  Even then, when we were both young, his … Read More

By / June 14, 2010

To be honest, Drew Snyder is an old friend of mine.  He is kind and brilliant, and I remember first seeing his work hanging in the hallway of my college’s art building.  Even then, when we were both young, his paintings were able to stop me in my tracks, though I knew little about art and he was an artist at the very beginning of his career.

Drew still paints, but now he is also the director of The Andrews Gallery in San Diego, CA.   That site says: "Born Fort Worth, TX 1985. BA in the Humanities and Fine Art from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville NY. Opened The Andrews Gallery in San Diego in August 2008, and subsequently began in February 2010. Paintings shown at Colosseum Fine Art in Los Angeles. Joining the Visual Arts Department of University California, San Diego to pursue his PhD in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Art (Fall 2010). Lives and works in San Diego, CA and Paris, FR. Hopes you’ll call him someday. "

I used The Big Jewcy as an opportunity to corner Drew with some questions:

So, you’re a painter. Why open a gallery?

One nice thing about being a painter, especially one fresh out of school, is that you tend to know a lot of other good painters. With the art world being as medieval and opaque as it is, the idea with the gallery was to give some of the talented young people I knew, and in whom I believed, a legitimate platform to promote their careers as artists.

Why San Diego?

It does feel a bit random doesn’t it, I suppose especially because I’m a native Texan who had just spent four years in New York and France? And even more so since I’m writing you now from Paris, and San Diego feels so far away. Short story, I lost my brother the summer after I graduated college. I moved to San Diego from Paris to be close to my mother, who had moved there the year before.

I must say that San Diego has provided me a great deal of opportunity for which I am very grateful. I have the impression that I couldn’t have done in ten years in New York what I was able to do in San Diego in one and a half. It’s a city that is in the process of figuring itself out, which means there is less established cultural protocol, allowing people more wiggle room to think outside the box. I like being a part of that process, even if in a small way. I never feel a shortage of talent or energy in San Diego, oddly its often just the venue that is missing. All that is changing, and it’s exciting.

Do you find running and operating your own artist space keeps you too busy to produce art at the rate you were used to? Or does it energize you to engage with other artists and the art they make?

To the first question, sadly yes. My days of consistently producing large bodies of work have definitely fallen casualty to the projects that have taken shape over the last two years. And I doubt joining the Visual Arts Department at UCSD this fall to begin my PhD will help. Having said that, I still find the time to get into the studio, and am currently working on a new series which will hopefully be shown in March 2011 at a gallery that has been representing my work in Los Angeles, Colosseum Fine Art.

At the same time, your second question is also a very good characterization of my experience. In terms of the artists I work with, I never cease to be impressed, and I think that each one, as varied as they have been, have influenced me in one way or the other. I have been curious to see how this plays itself out in my own work in the future; my work could either come out a successful blend of diverse visions, or a serious mess.

What has been your favorite Andrews Gallery moment?

Favorite Andrews Gallery moments by far are the events we have had. Its been a Field of Dreams kind of thing: "if you build it, they will come", and our shows have always had a special energy. We’ve hosted groups from Austin (The Frontier Brothers), Philadelphia (Br’er), Seattle (Derek Johnson), and New York (Big Tree), as well as featured some amazing Southern California talent, like Matt Curreri, Joanie Mendenhall, John Meeks, the Mattson 2, Correatown (the list goes on).

Also, San Diego has been very good to us, and I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t ridiculously proud when the editors of San Diego CityBeat named us one of the best SD art galleries in 2009.

Who are your biggest influences? Both as an artist and a curator.

My mentor, Ron Tomlinson, has been, across the board, my biggest influence. The opportunity to exhibit his work at The Andrews Gallery was an honor I cannot put into words. Other influences include, Larry Brown, Ursula Schneider, Joel Werring, Ruth Braunstein, Sezio…this list could go on for a while, so I’ll leave it at these (look em’ up!).

If you could show any living artists, who would you pick?

What with all the amazing artists that I show now, I feel like a schmuck for wanting anything more. But if we are going into fantasy land, I’d have to say, I don’t know, maybe Richard Serra? Not only have I always loved his work, but showing him would presuppose me having a gallery big enough to do it.


A Handshake, 2009 – Acrylic on Canvas, 42 X 36 in. 



Saint-Exupery, 2009 – Acrylic on Canvas, 36 x 35 in.