For Andrew Doss, it always starts with a photograph – usually a building or a landscape. He lines up his frame and captures the shot with his phone or camera. But after he’s finished, he doesn’t make the usual tweaks in Photoshop, adjusting lighting, or removing shadows. Instead, the Greensboro photographer and commercial graphic designer employs a variety of tools to alter the photo until it’s barely recognizable from its original form. He likes to think of each photograph he takes as a canvas. Each one is a jumping off point for him. From there, he manipulates the image, digitally changing and deconstructing the photo so the end result resembles a completely different image. He doesn’t use a paint brush or paint, yet he’s a painter.
Architecture, graphic and interior design, painting, and drawing are all interests and passions of Andrew’s, but photography is at the core of what he does. He describes his aesthetic as abstract, and everything he creates is colorful. He’s inspired by the creations of Ansel Adams, Annie Leibovitz, Vincent Van Gogh, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollack, and Gerhard Richter, with whose work he says he most identifies.
“A lot of people think Ansel Adams just said, ‘click,’ and there it is, but most people don’t know that the final outcome of photographs isn’t just point and shoot,” notes Andrew. “Back in the day it was done in the darkroom.” For digital photographers, that darkroom has evolved as technology has advanced. Andrew’s main photography tool is his iPhone 7 or Nikon DLSR, so his darkroom comes in the form of editing software and apps like Snapseed, Sketchbook, Glaze, and Mexture —his preferred tools.
“I like to break the image down into bold swaths of color and keep refining it and pushing it until I get something I’m happy with,” Andrew explains. His signature technique is one he refers to as “circle style,” — something he’s become known for around town. “Think of it as mixed media,” he says, “but with apps instead of traditional materials a painter would use. I’ve searched a lot and I don’t see many other people doing it.”
As a kid, Andrew was interested in art, but this digital journey didn’t begin until about four years ago, when he decided to go back to school to finish his commercial art and photography degrees at Guilford Technical Community College. “I think new media is hard for traditional people to understand. I was told that my type of art is good for more urban areas and Metropolitan cities.” Andrew muses. In 2014, he booked a large art installation show at Piedmont Triad International Airport, and success soon began to follow, helping him realize that this was something he could pursue as a career.
Out of all the art Andrew’s made, his favorite piece is one titled “Classroom Vibe,” from the first art show he ever did. It was a photo he took of a rundown, empty classroom. After manipulating it, the image turned out to be one of the most colorful blurred pieces he’s made — a complete departure from the original photograph. Andrew realized afterwards that there were two faces in the image. He’s not sure if it was intentional or subconscious, but he’s noticed faces in several of the other pieces he’s made as well.
Recently, Andrew began using drones for his photography to adds a new perspective, which is a tool he’d like to incorporate more often. He’s exploring mixed media, where he’ll start with a photograph, digitally manipulate it, then print it out and add materials like paint or charcoal. He also wants to start drawing again, and looks to experiment with 3D acrylic painting. Much like his art, Andrew’s style is always evolving.
City by Night
To learn more about Andrew and his work, check out his website. You can also find his art at the following spots around town:
229 S Elm St. Greensboro, NC
536 S Elm St. Greensboro, NC
Tyler White Gallery
307 State St. Greensboro, NC
Mid-City Sandwich Co.
215 S Elm St. Greensboro, NC
Thousands O’ Prints
233 S Elm St. Greensboro, NC
Design Archives Emporium
342 S Elm St. Greensboro, NC
At the end of every interview featured on Seven Day Weekend, we love to give each mover and shaker the 3rd degree (where they tell us what they’re into at the moment).
Reading: I like to read about other people, so I read a lot about other artists. I like ArtDaily
Watching: Stranger Things