Andrew Durgin-Barnes’ paintings depict sordid American city street scenes, skateboarding and snapshot moments of everyday debauchery and suburban squalor and transform them into beautiful things to look at. Although it was originally his recreation of one of Andrew Reynolds’ iconic skate trick that initially caught our eye, his wide range of subjects, high-level of detail and his art’s capacity to keep you looking at the range of subtle features within his work is what has truly continued to grab our attention.
So we had to learn more about Andrew to discover the skater behind the art and the artist behind the work. On top of that, he’s also created a series of rad paintings commissioned by Quasi Skateboards for Dick Rizzo and Justin Henry’s pro board graphics. So we also wanted to know how they were made and what went into producing them.
We hit him up to find that out, see what he’s working on at the moment, discover how he navigates the challenges of painting scenes of filth and muck and makes them look fantastic and also ask him about his favourite skaters, styles and video parts of all-time, his plans for the future and more.
Read Andrew’s interview below to discover it all for yourself.
Girls in the Bronx, New York
Where did you grow up in America and where are you living at the moment?
I was born in San Diego and lived there until 1990 when I was 5. Then we moved to Bremerton, Washington where I grew up and then in Port Orchard, Washington, until 2003 when we moved to Seattle.
Then around 2007 I really started to move around a lot. I lived in Florida, Reno, Portland, Oakland, SF, New York, Miami and now I’m living in Los Angeles. I really like it here.
When did you first see skateboarding and think I want to do that too?
When I was 11 I was already really into snowboarding because my mom and stepdad would take me up to the mountains and they would ski. But that got super expensive and I saw a lot of snowboarders skated too so that was something I could do all year so I wanted one.
My mom would exercise at the YMCA in Bremerton and there was a shitty metal ramp park there. I walked down there to watch people skate and there was this kid Oliver there, who beat me up in 1st or 2nd grade, and he was ripping! I saw him Ollie over the top of the pyramid and that was it I was like fuck I need to do that too. I was hooked.
Ninja and Trucks
What was your first setup and where did you get it?
My first set up was a generic company called “Parts Department” and had a tiki man on the bottom. It had Gullwing Trucks on it which was cool because I recognised them from CCS and skateboard magazines. Then I got a hand me down Andrew Reynolds Birdhouse deck with some Venture trucks and some old shitty cracked yellow Spitfire wheels.
I ran that for a while till I went to visit my Dad in Florida. He took me to Badlands Skatepark there over in Altamonte Springs I think it was. He bought me my first brand new real complete it was a Powell Mini Logo, blue blank deck with Frank Hirata Physics wheels, Lucky Bearings and Independent Trucks. That was the shit.
Real World: ‘Problem Child 2020’ Album Cover Art, Painted by Andrew
Who was in your first skate crew and where did you go skate?
My first skate crew goes way back. Me, Jesus Duque, Bucky Slegal, Carl Witmus…We’d always be skating at that YMCA park.
Then I switched schools but still skated with those dudes and met some other fools in the neighbourhood I moved to, that was closer over to Silverdale Washington.
That was 9th grade and I met the homie Travis. He was from San Diego and he already had a crew called MSP – Mission Skate Posse. So he started the Washington chapter and put me in it haha. So that’s the first crew with a name I was in.
Breaking and Entering
What skate videos did you have on rotation the most when you started skating?
First video was Fulfill The Dream. Then I got the Birdhouse video – The End and Zero’s Misled Youth and those videos really got me into skating gaps and rails. But I had a bunch you know. Welcome to Hell, Thrill of it All. I was really into the Tum Yeto stuff. But I was also watching Sorry, Menikmati and Modus Operandi.
Man there was so many. The 411’s all the way from the mid 20 issues to the early 40’s. I watched a lot of that stuff. Then the homie Jesus got Baker Bootleg. That video changed all of our lives haha.
What was the first piece of art that you ever made?
Oh man, what did I first make? That was a long time ago. I remember drawing an orca whale in kindergarten. The whole class gathered around me and the teacher showed it off.
How did you define your style then and now?
I was only 5 then, but if I had to define it as a whole now, I’d say “from scratch”
What’s in your painting setup?
Pretty basic oil painting set up. Wooden collapsable portable easel. Inside that are my brushes and tubes of oil paints.
Then I carry around a jar with my solvent in it to clean my brushes. I can take that with me anywhere and do a painting.
I screwed straps on it too so I can wear it like a backpack and skate to a place to paint if I want.
Your oil paintings focus on subjects and settings that are not usually seen in such a detailed style. What influenced you to focus on street scenes and squalid settings rather than more high flung subjects?
I don’t know. My subject matter changes drastically from day to day.
It’s usually a compositional thing or I’ll see some contrasting thing, like how something will be beautifully lit by the sun. Doesn’t matter what it is, it can be beautiful.
Drake wearing Andrew’s Scorpion Design T-Shirt
Your painting of Andrew Reynolds Frontside Flipping that 18 is sick. Is that the one from his Stay Gold part?
The inspiration for that painting actually came from the Frontside Flip he does at the end of his part in The End.
I made way too many stairs on the painting I wasn’t really counting I just made the composition as a whole and then when it was time to put the stairs in I had to make them proportionate to everything else I had on the painting so it came out to be like 20 something haha.
But yeah I tried to do it from my head and just kind of make up a really heavenly set of stairs because his Frontside Flip in The End really stuck with me as a kid.
The way it’s filmed, how you can see the other photographers around him, the plants.
The plants and flowers are important in my work I think. I don’t know if I would have been as inspired by that clip if the original spot didn’t have all those plants on it. I don’t know though.
Maybe just how they are there at the crusty concrete skate spot.
Andrew Reynolds, Frontside Flip
What’s your favourite trick by someone else from Baker?
Oh man. Thats impossible to answer… I don’t have a fav.
Jeff Lenoce‘s Nollie and Switch Heelflips stick out though.
The shadows in that painting look almost photorealistic and so is the light. When you make the painting do you aim for it to look like a photo?
Yeah I wouldn’t call it photorealistic. More like trying to make it look “lifelike” I guess. I don’t want it to look like a photo. I want it to look like its own thing.
Catalytic Converter Thieves, 2023
You’ve even included really subtle details like Beagle in the bush and the filmer lurking behind the set too. What’s your favourite Beagle trick?
Beagle has got some bangers. I saw a video of him doing a fat lil shuv then roll down that kinked little hubba, that was sick. The man’s a visionary.
Alongside the trick and those details, the plants and trees and bushes in the painting have a sense of movement, they have a life of their own. Why do you think it’s important for each part of your paintings to be as detailed as possible?
I don’t always make every part equally detailed. As a matter of fact some parts should purposely be less detailed so that the parts you want the viewer to focus on will stand out more. But in general yeah if I’m really going the extra mile on a painting I’ll give everything a lot of attention.
The painting that you made of those two kids running from the police that was made into a Dick Rizzo board for Quasi was rad. For some reason it reminds me of the scene of a 90s kids film but what was your inspiration behind this piece?
That painting is 100 percent from my imagination.
The inspiration was just skating around New York but I honestly kinda had to make up that alley because New York doesn’t have really great alleyways like that. Not like other cities surprisingly.
Dick Rizzo ‘Run’ Painting for Quasi Skateboards
Ok cool. What was the most difficult part of it to paint for you?
The hardest part is always the faces and hands. I don’t know why they’re so hard they just are.
What’s your favourite trick by Dick Rizzo?
Oh man my favourite Dick Rizzo trick was his Nosegrind Back 180 into Grant’s Tomb double bank thing was dickerd.
Do you have a favourite detail in that painting that people may not notice first?
Gusto graffiti on the truck
Your ‘Homie Bowl’ painting is rad. Was it based on a photo or did you create the scene?
That one was compiled of different reference photos, it’s supposed to be the Supreme bowl but in Woodland Hills California, and then with New York in the distance. That one was pretty custom.
The Homie Bowl
Do you prefer to skate street or transition?
I grew up skating street. All I cared about was skating gaps and rails that’s why my knees are blown out. Now I really like skating bumps and banks and hips and shit. I’ve never been good at transition I wish that I skated it more when I was younger. I can still hold it down on a mini ramp a little bit though.
How can people commission you for work?
They can just hit me up on instagram or email me [email protected] I usually get em’ done pretty quick. No longer than a couple weeks usually.
The flaming globe slam dunk painting you did for Justin Henry is rad. What was it like working with Quasi to make it?
That was Quasi’s idea. It was a surprise for Justin. I love working with Quasi, they treat me good.
Justin Henry’s Flaming Slam Dunk ‘Game’ Painting for Quasi
Was the video game NBA Jam an inspiration for his flaming basketball dunk or is that just a coincidence?
I’m pretty sure that was definitely the inspiration for the flaming ball haha
What’s your favourite detail in that painting and why?
Maybe the cracks on the ground. That’s some skater shit.
Do you have a favourite trick by Justin Henry that comes to mind?
Oh man I don’t know that crazy Wallie Noseblunt that he did was really sick but he’s got so many bangers.
What’s it like skating a board with your paintings on it?
Weird. That was my dream since I was a kid. I feel really thankful. I give one to my mom, skate one, and give the others to my friends or have em’ chilling in storage.
Are you looking to do any exhibitions soon?
I have two shows coming up this winter.
Are you working on any new collaborations you want to mention?
I’m working on a super secret board with Polar Skate Co. right now.
Ok, look forward to seeing that. What’s your favourite skate video of all-time?
Oh man you’re killing me. Welcome to Hell by Toymachine.
That one is a classic. Who’s your favourite skater of all-time?
Tom Penny because he’s the smoothest forever
For sure. Who has your favourite style on a skateboard?
These questions are so hard and impossible but if I had to choose right now, I’d say Marc Johnson, he’s a smooth operator.
Where is your favourite skate spot in the world?
The Dungeon in Seattle RIP
Do you have any last words for people reading this?
Keep on truckin’
Prison Riot: Album Artwork for Jarhead Fertilizer, Painted by Andrew