"I feel so good about doing silly funny things. It is very worthwhile." -Interview with Andy Heck Boyd
"Andy Heck Boyd is a painter and surrealist animation filmmaker. His prolific practice is motivated, in part, by his paranoid schizophrenia and his experience hallucinating and hearing the voices of Satan. Boyd is inspired by obsolete technology, celebrity iconography, and do-it-yourself comic book culture. In addition to creating paintings, namely portraits, Boyd also makes lo-fi videos." -Artspace
Mikey- Hello Andy. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. I know that I asked you this in another conversation, but I was wondering if you'd like to talk with us a bit about your birthplace (east coast US), your upbringing and what brought you to Kentucky? Do these locations have an influence on your work?
Andy- Hello Mikey, I hope you are having a good day, sure yeah...I was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts and grew up in New Hampshire just over the border...stayed in a few different towns, and moved to Kentucky in 2021. Went to catholic school early on and then switched to non-religious schooling in third grade. I was an anxious kid, I still am anxious but its not as bad as it used to be. I moved to Kentucky to be with Kasper (Andy's partner). Yes, they definitely do.
Troy- Hi Andy, first off thanks so much for doing this amazing project with us. We are all so grateful. I love this conversation. Thank you Michael for starting this magical dialogue. Speaking of magick would you like to discuss if you find magick or fun in your art? Also, do you find synchronicities and other “interesting phenomena” that is either a byproduct of your arts - possibly or somehow connected?
Andy- Hi Troy. Ah ya. I remember feeling how sometimes making things over the past decade, at certain times, some things I made would come together in such a way that really surprised me. Sometimes things fit so perfectly in place, both visually and the message or what some things meant. Often times these things happened with no added physical effort. I can't say anything more than that, for I am not sure of how to talk about it.
Mikey- I've noticed you have an interest in both rock music and cartoons. Would you care to elaborate on these subjects?
Andy- I really like listening to music. After high school I listened to punk and some forms of metal and hardcore. Now I mostly like listening to Nirvana, Joy Division and Arab On Radar. Live sets always. Not much for studio recordings anymore. Listening to music helped give me a lot of energy to move around, made me feel good. Ya, I love cartoons. I drew comics when I was a kid. I drew a lot of portraits of classmates. I really liked watching a lot of animated cartoons from 1930's to late 1940's when I was a kid. I had fun and enjoyed watching crazy characters: "Screwy Squirrel", "Roger Rabbit", "Daffy Duck", (somewhat) "Woody Woodpecker".
Troy- In a text you mentioned seeing a UFO once. Would you like to elaborate? Does this experience(s) effect your arts and life?
Andy- Ya, it was September 21st, 2014, a little after 7 in the evening. Heading back to my apartment on route 150, there was a car behind me sort of too close. I kept looking in the rearview, and as I was going up a small hilly part of the road, something caught my eye and crossing over the trees (from left to right) was this dark slow moving round flying object. It was tapered at either ends, symmetrical, very dark blue type color, just solid color, no lights or anything else. (It was) moving slowly in front of me, right over the top of the pine trees. It crossed over the road and was gone by the time I drove past the spot. About ten seconds I watched it. I also noticed tiny flames on top of it and under it, little white flames. It was odd because earlier in the spring of that year I had once again become highly intrigued and excited about UFO's. Also on the same road, route 150, in the early 1960's was the site of a local UFO sighting by a guy walking home late one night and some officers, the Exeter Incident. Since 1990 I passed by the horse farm and house property every day on my way to school, etc. Their yard is maybe 15-20 acres and out back lining the edge of the field are tall old pine trees...well, in the spring of 2014 I had the fun idea of what would it be like to figure out a way to see what those pine trees had seen that night in the early 1960's. I had some odd feelings of excitement and wonder. Starting that spring until that night in September, I was always thinking about seeing a UFO and so it was very satisfying when the UFO crossed by in front of me. After I saw it, I continued on my way back toward my apartment but I also wanted to try and follow it. I had some idea it was headed out to sea nearby. I don't know...and there was a field up on my right down the road and I hoped to see it, maybe again, but I didn't. I decided to not try and track it. The red car behind me, I always wondered if they had seen it too. At one point, I thought about trying to get the drivers attention to see if they did. Over the years, I have drawn the UFO only several times and I think of the UFO. When I see nine trees, I get a nice exciting feeling now. Sometimes I still look up when in a car.
Mikey- Does your work have a certain meaning? Do you intend to exert influence with what you present to the public?
Andy- Sometimes different things I have made have specific meanings. Well, all the things I have made have some meaning. Everything is really just personal meanings and references that mean things to me. For me, when I turned 30, I had a set back with my schizophrenia and couldn't handle work anymore and went on disability. I could no longer make my animated flash cartoons and so I began to make my paintings. I was depressed and having difficulty with being around people, everyone: family, friends, strangers. I wanted to make myself feel better and so I made paintings and drawings. I shared some online and got some nice feedback. I think for most of my life I haven't felt okay being around people, afraid and awkward, and preferred to be alone. But I am still interested in what everyone is doing so I can add to the conversation with the things I make. It's a nice way to "interact" with others from a distance where I don't feel overwhelmed. I make things, share it online and I feel better about being a hermit type guy. Hermit by necessity, not by choice.
Troy - Would you like to discuss the film E.T.? Henry Thomas is from my hometown in San Antonio, Texas. Henry was in a band in the 1990’s named after a Tom Waits song called “Raindogs” and apparently (news to me) collaborated with Nikki Sudden- I just found this while researching this for you. Do you have any favorite recordings by Nikki Sudden? A favorite of mine.
Andy- I'm not too familiar with E.T. and the actors. I recall being at a vhs rental store while our mom went in and came out with E.T. and an E.T. poster. I haven't actually been a fan of the movie. I do love the opening ten minutes more than the rest of the film. The pine trees in that film are great, too.
Troy- The lovely video with the duck and the book you sent over is really beautiful. I almost posted a part of that video from your instagram the night before you sent it! What a wonder cosmology to dive into. Would you like to discuss anything about ducks?
Andy- Ah thank you, that's cool ya, funny ya. I bought that Donald Duck marionette off eBay to make movies with. Animated cartoon animals that dress and talk like people are great.
Mikey- At what point did you start making art? Did you have a medium that kick started your creativity?
Andy- A week before I turned 30, I took up painting. My right hand was always aching from excessive time on the computer animating cartoons. I typically spent 4-6 hours a day from 2006 until 2010 making cartoon movie shorts, without breaks, so I started making paintings with my left hand. But before that, my very first ever memory of making something like art was maybe when I was 4 or 5, my dad gave me a charcoal set to play with. It came with a portrait of a woman on paper, or maybe my dad included it on his own. I don't know. It was a copy of the Mona Lisa, in black ink, and I copied it with hand to eye coordination. I felt like it was very close to the copy and impressed myself.
Troy- How do you feel about collaborating with other artists? Do you enjoy it?
Andy- Collaborating with someone else has always been difficult and I don't really enjoy it. Music and film is good to collaborate on, but for paintings and drawings, and things like that, I really cannot. For me, it would take years of working with each person to build some sort of relationship for it to feel worthwhile to me, but I'm not too interested in even that.
Troy- Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson mentioned you briefly in an email and I automatically looked into your work! Do you have any favorite collaborations by Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson?
Andy- Ah okay, dang, that's cool, hehe. Everything Sig has made that I have seen and heard is all great and wonderful. My favorite things from Sig are his public performances. Those are amazing.
Troy- Have you heard the works of Leif Elggren? His work is almost shamanistic in a sense and may very well be. I get this from your work. Do you have any thoughts on this? I know this term gets thrown around a lot.
Andy- I have heard some of the things Leif has made and I like what I have heard, really good. I have only thought and talked about shamanistic stuff (but) not very often.
Mikey- Do you have any artists that you admire or look up to?
Andy- Over the years I have different people come in and out of my thoughts With my aspirations at directing movies, Stanley Kubrick was someone I really looked up to. and Andy Warhol when I first began to make paintings. Before I began to paint, I read about Richard Prince, Cory Arcangel, Paper Rad, Arab On Radar, Anal Cunt, Phillip K Dick, William Burroughs, Hunter S Thompson. Over the years, the artist I think about most often, for all sorts of different reasons, is Andy Warhol. More so about him than the things he made. The other artists I mentioned I don't think about or are interested in anymore, except Phillip K Dick. Generally I guess I really feel connected to the things "the crazies" made.
Troy - We discussed live gigs privately. Any thoughts on that more recently? Possibly a live gig sometime? Any ideal or dreamlike setting for a live gig?
Andy- I think about it from time to time. Since I started playing with audio cassette tapes in 2017, I have thought about ideas for shows. It's something for me to solve, being very shy or anxious and uncomfortable with people focusing their attention on me, let alone being on stage. Some ideas I've come up with, include, a tape player playing a pre-recorded tape on stage for a live set, and include some sort of stuffed animal, like a Heathcliff or Casper doll or a Mickey Mouse doll. Recently my idea for a live set, is to always be the opening act. I get up on stage whether there's anyone there or not in the audience and play my scheduled time. I tune my guitar for a couple minutes, rather unnecessarily, and play one song, and then I say "thanks" and that's my set. I like working with humor and confusion and new types of of things that I think are new. I feel so good about doing silly funny things. It is very worthwhile.
Troy- Are you familiar with the Cut-Up technique? Does your work have an aspect to it and are you familiar with Brion Gysin?
Andy- I did a lot of reading with things by Burroughs and about Burroughs himself. I found Gysin through that searching . I first read "Naked Lunch" in 2005 and I think Gysin's name was mentioned in the book enough so I looked him up. I like the cut-up technique. I haven't really tried too much with it on my own. I did some experimental writing years ago and he inspired me to want to write more. Unless I felt there was a way to progress further with the cut-up technique and make it unique, I won't re-explore it. It's great though. I read a little from Gysin. I saw a documentary on the dream machine and often, the thing I remember most from that documentary is a scene in it. Iggy Pop is in this one, being interviewed too, but the scene is a room connected with Gysin in some way. I can't remember if he lived there for a short time or something. It was a small room and the wallpaper was great, just great. I think about the wallpaper in that room from time to time.
Troy- Does ’nature’ (trees, woods, plants, animals) play a role in your arts?
Andy- No...at a young age I planned on living in a city, like Los Angeles, and was very bored and uninterested in nature. As I've gotten older, during my 30's, I enjoyed sitting outside at my parents backyard on warm days by myself sitting in a chair, just being outside, listening and observing birds and bees and ants and clouds, leaves, and wind, and sun. I don't think it affects my art in any way other than my levels of comfort. Like if it's too hot outside and I'm drawing or making something outside. But mostly I am usually in my head and things are swirling around to make things with.
Troy- A favorite person you would be nervous about meeting but would eat a meal with?
Andy- A few years ago Cory Arcangel came to Philips Academy in Exeter to do a guest lecture. I lived right next to the campus and could have walked to the lecture in 3 minutes, and I would have really enjoyed sitting in on the lecture but I didn't learn about his being there until the next day and he had already left town. No one else really right now that I can think of. Maybe have a cheese sandwich with Andy Warhol. That would have been cool.
Mikey- Andy, thank you so much for speaking with us. It has been a pleasure!
Andy- Thank you Mikey! Thank you Troy! You guys are nice and cool. I had a good time.