The natural world is my lifelong passion and provides inspiration for my drawing, painting and photography. Whilst I appreciate those breathtaking views, it is nature on an intimate level that I find most fascinating.
The macro lens is like a window that transports me into another world. In this place I observe details, shapes and patterns that are not usually seen even though most of the subjects are right under our noses. I am fascinated by the intricate structure and design found in nature and my photography celebrates this diverse but orderly world that sometimes goes unnoticed.
I have a degree in Fine Art and have developed a style of photography that is often likened to painting. At the same time my images depict the true physiology of flowers, seed heads and leaves at various stages of development.
In many cases the natural subjects are photographed in the studio with painted backgrounds to create original, thought provoking images.
I have been inspired over the years more by painters than photographers; Matisse, Miro, Klee, the Fauves and Howard Hodgkin have been especially influential.
Some of my favourite subjects are commonly found in most gardens although I have made a number of trips to South Africa in recent years and I am in awe of the unique flora that is found there, particularly on the Cape.
Kirstenbosch, the National Botanical Garden of South Africa in Cape Town is one of my favourite places to visit and an image that I took there last September has made it through to the final of this year’s International Garden Photographer of the Year competition.
In my recent work I have returned to explore some of the themes that captivated me in the past. Whilst colour will always play a major role in my work it is texture and pattern that seem to dominate at the moment. I am spending a lot of time photographing bark and other natural textures.
I print and frame all my work. I think that this is an important part of seeing the image through from conception to the final presentation.
I am a professional Fine Art photographer regularly exhibiting in the UK. I photograph graphic images of flowers; natural objects; botanical and nature subjects which are often depicted in unusual striking colour combinations
I studied Fine Art at Bristol. I photographs dramatic close up portraits of natural objects particularly flowers and my work has become known for its graphic style and striking use of colour.
I became a professional artist in 2003 after spending a number of years teaching. My Fine Art background where photography, painting and drawing are given equal prominence has had a profound influence on my style. My images have been described as being ‘very painterly’ in their appearance.
The natural world is a lifelong passion for me. Since together with my wife, we designed our first garden, flowers and plants have become my inspiration. We now have a very prolific cottage garden, which provides me with most of my subject matter.
My way of working is to use the studio to create my pictures and all of my work is created “in camera”, nothing is digitally manipulated.
I am fascinated by the intricate structure and design found in nature and my photography celebrates this diverse but orderly world that sometimes goes unnoticed.
Info for PhotoPro article Jann 2009
I studied Fine Art so photography was just one of the disciplines that I explored along with painting, drawing and printmaking.
Since leaving college I spent 18 years as an art teacher whilst pursuing my career as an “artist” This involved organising my own exhibitions at local schools and libraries and hiring galleries for one man shows.
At this time in the mid 1990’s it became clear to me that my photography rather than my painting was going to give me more of a chance to earn my living from my art.
I contacted numerous galleries at this time with little success so I decided to sell my work myself.
In 1998 I took a table at a fair in London organised by German photographer Manuela Hofer it cost about £150 and I sold a lot of prints, I was offered a contract with a leading picture library and was taken on by Manuela’s gallery in London.
During the next few years I continued to build my profile, attending trade shows, publishing my own range of greetings cards and trying different craft/art fairs.
I wasn’t making much of a profit at the craft fairs, with hindsight it was clear that they were badly organised and poorly advertised leading to low foot fall.
I was on the point of reconsidering my intention to give up my full time teaching job when I tried one more craft fair with a different organiser. The difference was unbelievable. This was a high quality event that attracted a large number of people who were happy to spend money.
I earned as much that weekend as I would in a month of teaching so I handed my notice in Monday morning and haven’t looked back since.
During the last five years that I have been selling direct to the public the shows have got better and better as I have found which shows work for me. The people that come to craft fairs are looking for something different and special and expect to talk to the artist/maker. They are shopping for themselves, for their homes and for presents for others.
Because of my floral subject matter I now regularly take a stand at the RHS flower shows including Chelsea and Hampton Court.
I have noticed a slight downturn in takings at some events recently but I think people are just spending more time considering their purchases as my internet sales have increased.
I have made sure that I have something that fits a wide price range. My customers range from 9 year old to 90. I sell cards for £1.25 and large canvas prints for over £600. I sell a mixture of open and limited edition prints. The most popular size being an open edition print of 20 x 30cms which sells for £30.
At shows I sell unframed prints but take a selection of readymade frames with me and offer to frame prints while the customer waits.
Very often I pick up trade customers and because I print and make all of the canvases myself I can offer a bespoke service so end up working closely with customers to produce images that fit specific places.
I have supplied a number of hospitals recently with canvases and framed prints.
The average price for a three day craft fair would be around £600 + travelling and accommodation costs if necessary. The most I have paid is £4,500 for a stand and regularly attend events that cost between £2,000 -£3,000
The public that I see at shows are well informed about what qualities make a “good” photograph.
Often the reason for buying a larger piece comes down to colour.
At the moment greens and natural tones are selling well but there are always people that want that splash of colour.
The colour is only a part of it though, the quality of the image, lighting, composition and detail is always important. With my subject matter being flowers, people are tired of seeing hackneyed images and always like to see a fresh and contemporary approach.
I sell to a wide range of people but the larger pieces tend to be purchased by professional men or more commonly women and also couples.
Born Brighton England 1958
BA(Hons) Fine Art Bristol Polytechnic 1977-1981
Teacher Odiham Hants 1985-2003
Professional Fine Art Photographer and Fine Artist 2003 to present
Shows regularly attended as an exhibitor:
Craft in Focus shows at;
The Spectrum Leisure Centre, Guildford.
The University of Kent Sports Centre, Canterbury.
Sevenoaks School, Sevenoaks, Kent.
Wellington College, Crowthorne, Nr Bracknell,
RHS Chelsea Flower Show,
RHS Flower Show Hampton Court,
RHS Flower Show Tatton Park.
Living Crafts, Hatfield House.
The Garden Show, Stansted Park,
The Royal County of Berkshire Show Newbury.
Festival of Crafts. Farnham Maltings,
The Art Craft & Design Show. Newmarket
East Cheshire Art Fair, October 2008
Artichoke Gallery, Burwash, June 2008
Contemporary Craftsman, Monmouth, Jun – Aug 2003
Fresh Art, Business Design Centre Islington, 2001
“Organics” Original Photographic Prints Gallery, London 2000
London Contemporary Photography Fairs, 1998 & 1999
Published articles about Andy Small:
Photo Pro; "Face to Face" Selling work directly to the public. January 2009
"It's a Small World" by Ben Brain. May 2007
Professional Photographer; "Winning Web sites" April 2004
Fine Art Photography by Terry Hope. Published by Rotovision, Sept 2003
Professional Photographer; Wallpaper, September 2002
Professional Photographer; Fine Art for sale, June 2001
Practical Photography; Original Prints, February 2001
Amateur Photographer; Funky Florals, January 2000
British Journal of Photography; Fine Art images, December 1999
Recent clients have included:
Benenden Hospital Trust, Kent.
Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Western Hospital, Southampton.
Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.
Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester.
SMA Foundation, New York.
Mike Niven Interior Design Inc, Toronto.
Simply Thai, Eynsford, Kent.
The Silk Mill, Whitchurch.
Vought Aircraft Industries, Inc. Dallas Texas.