I’ve been admiring Andrea Larko’s artwork for some time and I recently messaged her to see if she might be able to send me something to post on FrankenFly. To my surprise, she is a fan of FrankenFly! She said she even named one of her fish FrankenTrout. How cool is that!?!? So take your time browsing her beautiful artwork and to keep up with all of her eye candy you can visit her art Facebook page at facebook.com/artbyandrealarko or to purchase her work you can visit her Etsy store at andrealarko.etsy.com
Now I’ll let Andrea take it away, so read on…
My earliest memory was learning how to draw a house with perspective. Since then I’ve been hooked on art of many kinds. From taking courses while I was in college in printmaking, glass forming, pottery and sculpture to fine art, graphic design, and jewelry making, art of all kinds has always inspired me.
I graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Illustration from the Rochester Institute of Technology without the clear sense of personal style that many of my peers had evolved. I enjoyed drawing anything, painting with any medium, and loved to experiment rather than focus on one particular strength. I wasn’t afraid to fail and loved to learn what worked well and what didn’t but more importantly, why it worked or failed. I didn’t want to be told what the rules of art were, I wanted to figure them out for myself.
Through college drawing incorporated itself into so many aspects of my life. I always found myself doodling in margins, drawing on my clothing or even myself if I didn’t have paper. When I saw something that inspired me I’d start to see things the way I’d draw or paint them. Those visual images would stick in my mind almost as if they were burned into the back of my eyelids until I could get them onto paper or a canvas. I still see every piece in my head before it goes onto paper, and with each new piece I create I get closer and closer to being able to make it look the way the back of my eyelids see it. I do, however, realize my limitations, and have had some pieces stuck in my head for years now, knowing full well that I’m not at the point yet where I could master trying to paint them. I know I’ll get there eventually and I know they’re not going anywhere soon, so until then I just aspire to learn from every mistake and each time I get a little closer to where I want to be.
Growing up with 3 sisters, my parents shared their love for fishing with us. I still remember my father casting a rod for me and putting worms on my hook. He even let my sisters and me reel in his fish if we weren’t having any luck. My mother would help us with our casting in the front yard and we all loved going hunting for nightcrawlers after it rained. When we were too young to start fishing my mother would take us with her to watch my father catch fish larger than we were. I was always amazed by the beauty of what came out of the water.
As my sisters and I grew older fishing took a back seat to education and us all moving for college, but my father still recognized the importance of being on the water, and decided to start a family trip. We now go salmon fishing every year together and camp for a weekend reconnecting and telling the best fish stories from the day and years past.
After I graduated from college I moved back to my hometown of Indiana, PA and started fishing again when I could find the time. I met the love of my life and he purchased me my first fly rod 6 years ago. Needless to say I feel in love with fishing all over again. I felt closer to the water and found a sense of peace and tranquility from being on a stream that I much needed. Once my boyfriend held a fly rod in his hands he fell in love as well. We started spending our free time tying flies and scouting the streams for trout. I ended up with beautiful photographs of so many fish and thought it was a shame they just sat in iPhoto, so I decided to make a few oil paintings for our fly tying and art studio to brighten up the bare walls. After they were posted on Facebook and Instagram I was asked to make prints, so I did, and my business as an angling artist began.
I made prints from the color study sketches I did for the paintings and also a few others I was asked for. I enjoyed what I was doing but it seemed as though anyone could draw a realistic fish. So I started sketching one night with a fish outline and as I always have done while I was thinking, I started to doodle. I ended up with a doodle fish and I thought it looked interesting. I tried to play off the surfaces of the fish, what would be flat I put straight lines and where I wanted dimension I added more detail and curves. They’re so much fun to create. I’m so thankful that people have enjoyed these whimsical illustrations as much as I enjoy creating them. I never dreamed I could be so lucky to live out my dreams of being an artist and getting to fish some wonderful places with someone who appreciates it as much as I do.