Andrew Westermann Talks Modeling and Art

Known for his modeling work for big brands like Carven, Louis Vuitton and Raf Simons, the model turned artist is a man of many talents. While at 18 he was walking the runway for Valentino in Paris, he’s always had a creative soul. With the mantra “If he or she can do it, then so can I,“ he went out and bought paint and canvas and got straight to work. Now working on his new series called “Faces,” he reminds us that you have to make the most out of everything you do.

Age: 26

Instagram handle: @andrew_westermann

Fitness Regime (If you don’t have one, describe something else you do that’s inspirational):

– Running
– Football (soccer)
– Gym

1.) How did you get your start in the industry? (Please talk about both modeling and storytelling (painting).)

I was scouted while on a shopping street in Cologne, Germany when I was around 14-15. Then, when I was 18, my agent Eva Gödel asked me if I wanted to go to Paris for castings and I said, “why not”. I never thought I could be a model. So my first ever casting was at Valentino and I did the show the next day. The same day Louis Vuitton called and had me come for fittings and that was that. I just went up from there. As far as my art is concerned, I have always been creative and always drawn but I really got into art a couple years ago. I started going to shows and museums and I’ve always had the mentality: “If he or she can do it, then so can I“ (quite naive but hey it keeps me busy). So I went out and bought paint and canvas and just got started. I already kind of had my own style meaning my themes, symbols and strokes, but in the early work you could defiantly see who I was into. Over the years, I have just kept at it and worked on who I am as an artist.

2.) Tell us about your creative process. Also, please tell us about your new series called “Faces,” a series done in acrylic and spray on canvas, 60”x80.”

All of my pieces have this “signature” skull on it. From the very first canvas up to now. Death is a constant motive I use, and in a way, I want people to think about it more as everyone will die. You have to make the most out of everything you do. The process kind of starts with this skull and poems or lyrics and colors. In a way, I’m commercializing death. I can’t explain how I start a piece or how I finish it, but I find it very important that people look at a piece of mine and know straight away its from me.

“Faces” started a couple weeks ago. I want to see how much I can get out of this one skull and make it understandable for everyone. So as I evolve I’m getting more minimalistic and concentrating more on that single motive rather than putting everything that’s in my mind on canvas. So in a way, I’m summing it up in one single symbol.

3.) You’ve collaborated with Cartier on an artists’ vision for Juste un Clou and with 3.Paradis on some art work for various pieces of clothing. Tell us a bit more about the projects and in three (3) words, describe yourself and your creative style.

Cartier was crazy. They approached me to do a piece in regard to their Juste un Clou and I was super excited. It’s such a timeless piece and deserves so much respect. It’s not in your face and that is what is key about the piece. I thought that only the people who have it or know about it build this group of individuals with good taste in design. In my piece, the bracelet connects all of these people. Using the “signature” skeleton to represent the people was easy and it was done quite quickly. Thinking about what I was going to do took the longest.

As far as 3.Paradis, they are family. We’ve known each other for years and they are very dear to me. So when Rico (Creative Director) approached me about a collaboration, I was very happy. We have the same vision and interests which made the collaboration very easy. Using clothing as a medium for my work is always fun, you get to see it worn and how people style it with other stuff.

– Rock ’n Roll
– Romantic
– Naive

Andrew-Westerman-Cartier
Andrew Westermann Cartier Collab
Andrew Westerman-3paradis-Collab
Andrew Westermann 3.Paradis Collab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.) Throughout your career you’ve walked the runway for Louis Vuitton, Diesel and Versace to name just a few. Do date, what was your favorite show? Who would you like to walk for but haven’t?

My favorite show ever was closing for my dear friend Kim Jones. It was Louis Vuitton’s SS14 show and I had a mother of pearl embroided Tuxedo on. I think it was worth $120k or something like that. David Beckham was at the show and I had been out with him and Kim a couple days before. So whilst I was walking down the runway, I winked at him and he laughed. That made it even more special. I have never walked for Prada and I am obsessed with Miuccia. So that is one I would really like to do. Its never gonna happen though, haha.

5.) Who are your idols? What are your Hobbies? (Be sure to incorporate some info on your art piece “Idols”.) 

There are so many. I surround myself with people that inspire me. Music, art, movies, people, etc. I have so many idols from different times and different genres. From Hemingway to Paul Newman, Bon Iver, Franz Kline, Wes Lang, my girlfriend, my friends, my parents. These are just random from the top of my head, but there is a long list.

For my piece “Idols,” I kind of dug deep into which artists or personalities inspired me romantically and maybe even heroically. Grace Kelly gave up everything to serve a country, from her love to her family. Lewis Caroll wrote a crazy children’s book in times where grown men where expected to act and think in a certain way. It was a homage to those amazing people – not stopping because of social norms or expectations.

6.) Over the years, you’ve been featured in print campaigns for Hugo Boss, Raf Simmons and Topman. What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you on a shoot? What’s the worst?

There are a lot of funny stories that have happened over the years. It’s hard to point out one. But a good one was when I was working with my buddy Pierre Debusschere on a Raf Simons x Fred Perry campaign. We were in Brussels in his studio at 7 or 8 in the morning and Pierre had this crazy idea that we should dance in front of the camera with a strobe light going crazy in the back. Being so early in the morning, everybody was still a bit sleepy and definitely not ready to dance. I only saw one option. I went to the fridge, pulled out a six pack of beer and got drunk at 8 in the morning. The campaign turned out great.

Andrew Westermann SS13  Raf Simons Campaign
Andrew Westermann SS13 Raf Simons Campaign

 

The Worst was when I was shooting Hugo Boss in the salt flats in Utah. Our hotel was on the boarder between Utah and Nevada. So the lobby and the rooms had an hour time difference. I was quite young and it was one of my first big campaigns. Due to the time difference, I “slept in” and woke up absolutely mortified running out of my hotel room half dressed and everybody was waiting for me.

7.) When you’re not busy modeling and creating art, what are some of your favorite things to do?

I spend time with my girlfriend and friends. Hang out, cook, watch movies … and play a lot of FIFA with the boys. Just a normal kid I guess.

8.) On your Instagram account you’ve posted a video for your Cologne exhibition video called, “I’ll Love You Long After I’m Gone.” In the caption, it says the music was done by you. Tell us more.

Originally I’m a musician [laughs]. I started making music when I was 13. I used to have a band, play solo gigs, the whole job lot. Once the modeling started, there wasn’t really any time any more so it kind of went under. But now Im playing some solo shows here and there. The track from that video is one I did with Matteo Luis one to two years ago.

Recap of my Cologne exhibition "I'll Love You Long After I'm Gone". Video by @bohnus_ , music by me.

A post shared by Andrew Westermann (@andrew_westermann) on

9.) Favorite food, movie, song/artist and place to travel:

– My girlfriend has got me hooked on Asian food. Any kind.
– My favorite song in the world is “Holocene” by Bon Iver. I actually have the word tattooed on my chest. That’s how important it is. Hie’s my favorite musician as well. Never met the guy, but he is one of the most important people in my life.
– My favorite place is Paris. I’m actually moving there next year. So well see if our love endures.

10.) If you could be on the cover of any magazine or in any ad campaign, what would it be?

I’m very grateful and happy with everything I got to shoot, so I don’t really have one in mind.

11.) If you were not modeling and storytelling, what would you be doing?

Right now I’m finishing my B.A in Media Design, so I would probably be in a creative agency. There will never be a day where I’m not thinking of making stuff. For now, I’m concentrating on my art, but maybe one day I might go back to my media design degree.

12.) What are your plans for the future? Who would you like to work with? What kind of work can we expect to see from you? Will you be modeling, creating art, creating music, etc.?

I really want to start doing more exhibitions. Different countries, different galleries. Collaborations are one of my favorite things to do as well. There are some people I really want to work with but I’m not going to name anyone. Sorry about that. Well see what the future has in store.

Kyle Johnson

Kyle Johnson is a writer, web designer and former senior editor for ODDA magazine, a glossy 500+ page high fashion magazine. In addition to his work for ODDA, he is also a freelance writer for LAB A4 and a creative director for various projects across various industries where he specializes in branding, identity and visual strategy. He is also the founding editor of PLOY.

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