Andrew Wadsworth began his incarceration as a 16-year-old. He admits that his path to adulthood has had its challenges. Now 38, he’s in the early stages of realizing that a paintbrush is an excellent way to express himself.
“It’s hard for me to express myself without coming off arrogant,” Wadsworth said. “With abstract painting there are lots of emotions—it’s hard to express just one.”
Wadsworth “drip-spills” paint to create abstracts. He says the process allows him the freedom to express himself and “not feel self-conscious on what’s coming out.”
He said that love and compassion are important aspects of his abstracts. He hopes the imagery encourages viewers to seek the same self-discovery that he’s found.
Wadsworth’s creative process is artistic, not just on the canvas, but also within himself.
“Let the world know that we may be in chains but our minds soar across the horizon seeking our next challenges,” he said.
Wadsworth has found healing by baring some of his childhood traumas in his art. By connecting these traumas to his criminal thinking, he is able to gain insight into what landed him in prison.
His first self-portrait is Underdog. It’s a statement that being dragged, scrapped, and sabotaged will not deter him on his quest for redemption. He says that the painting gives him insight into the impact of his past criminal behavior. The bars represent the pain that he’s inflicted on his community and victims. The gold teeth are characteristics of “The Street Life.”
As a basketball fan, Wadsworth has created We Hustle Knicks about his favorite team. H e a ppreciates a nd feels passionate about the struggles of the Knicks, who last won an NBA Championship in 1973. He feels connected to the team because he, too, has withstood many struggles in life.
“I painted this because people do not want to hear me talk about the Knicks,” said Wadsworth. “You don’t want to hear me talk about my team, but now you can see my team.”
As an artist, Wadsworth has not given up on love. He believes in destiny while the world is upside down. An optimist to the core, he hopes that someday he will find true love.
“When you put two and a four together it symbolizes love,” said Wadsworth. “Twenty-four as a whole number symbolizes destiny. When you put all this together it becomes the power of love.”