Interview with Andrew Reid Wildman
Andrew Reid Wildman
Andrew Reid Wildman is a writer, artist, and photographer.
Andrew was born in Beverley, East Yorkshire. Influencing the way he expresses himself and also the way he perceives himself, the East Riding of Yorkshire has left a profound mark on this Englishman’s life. But, he did not grow up there.
His childhood rapidly became an exile, and this too has colored his creativity. His earliest memories of Yorkshire are sweet memories, but he also remembers the pain of being taken abroad and missing his roots. Currently living and working in Essex, he is a lecturer in English at a busy London college.
Andrew Reid Wildman also enjoys painting in his free time and has been a best-selling artist, with www.artgallery.co.uk for several years. He has a Master’s degree in Victorian Studies from Birkbeck University and as an interpreter and observer of human nature, is always funny, describing life in this beautiful area of Yorkshire through the decades, the people and characters.
In his collection of short stories from Hull and East Riding, Andrew introduces the readers to the tranquil atmosphere of Bridlington with its historic harbor, the lovely sandy beaches at Withernsea and the charming town of Beverly, with its cobbled streets, historical buildings, and antique arcades surrounded by the unspoiled countryside and beautiful towns. In his book Spicy Green Ginger, Hull represents the main setting and through the book; the readers will find familiar themes and characters.
Spicy Green Ginger is sour and sweet, deliciously and wickedly misanthropic, and at times sad and tender. The characters are of course entirely fictional, but who has not felt like them at one time or another? For example poor Betty Bridgenorth, a hard-working, proud baker who is savaged by a nameless internet Troll and sets out to seek revenge? Or perhaps Edna Isenthorpe, who just wants to enjoy her train journey in peace. Some of the historical stories are based loosely on murderous events or legends from this East Riding county and the Kardomah Cafe.
Andrew Reid Wildman – about his talents:
I was born in a small market town in Yorkshire called Beverley. At the age of six, I was uprooted from this Eden and taken to Luxembourg, setting in motion a life of questioned identity and movement, and above all of the longing for paradise lost. I lived in Israel from 92 to 97 and wrote the book Toto, I Don’t Think We Are in Golders Green Anymore about this experience. I am the author of the book of short stories, Spicy Green Ginger, a collection of 26 tales of acerbic, misanthropic human observations.
My works are based on a fusion of photography and painting, using acrylic paintwork and collage, I paint urban scenes – usually of decaying buildings – that fascinates me. They symbolize loneliness, tenacity, and nostalgia but despite this, my works are often joyful, frequently featuring vivid blue skies. My work is unusual, demonstrating an expressive, childlike yet urban style, where I seek to merge the borders of Photography.
Which represents reality – into my own painting and my world of imagination, so that the two become one. I add fragments of old advertising – usually from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s – as these symbolize a link to my own past, or to the world of my own family before I was born.
In this way, a building in a state of decay is contrasted to a time past when it was vibrant and alive. I am repeatedly drawn to brickwork, which for me indicates solidity and a sense of belonging; of Englishness and permanence. This was a reaction to my own troubled childhood when my family moved from Yorkshire to Luxembourg in 1974, leaving me feeling rootless. My art stems from this trauma, and it is for this reason that my work has a uniquely youthful and naïve quality.
I love photography, and I never go anywhere without my camera. I see photo opportunities wherever I go and think, I need to snap that! I love buildings, their curves and corners, and their history. I imagine the stories that have unfolded there. I also love decay, finding it both evocative and nostalgic. It is sad, but it is life, it is human and it reflects my feelings about life and love. I identify with the abandoned and the aging, the empty and the unloved. I record my special places because a place is so powerful. London, Oxford, Edinburgh and Glasgow, Hull and East Yorkshire….