We had the good fortune of connecting with Andy Eppler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andy, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is necessary in the arts because vulnerability is necessary and eventual judgment of the work is both righteous and unavoidable. Some risks like financial ruin are obvious but I believe that the risking of social judgment is what keeps most people out of the arts. Luckily, the simulation has largely trained me out of that kind of thinking. I spent much of my childhood being isolated and punished by authority figures in school, in church, and in my personal life. I was a good hearted and very sensitive middle child who really craved some kind of approval or genuine acceptance but I kept receiving the message that I was bad and that I could never be one of the “good kids”. Those kids all seemed like silent, genius monks compared to me. Eventually, I internalized the message that the punishment was always coming no matter how hard I tried to “be good”. Somewhere deep inside my heart and mind, I believed I was a lost cause. When you believe that you will be punished no matter what and that there is no version of your “natural self” that will be a right answer, it can be a strange kind of freedom. This was the gift the simulation gave to me. This is what enabled me to “throw my life away” in the arts. I got so much bad feedback that I gave up trying to “fit in”. I never had hopes of a high paying career or some corner office. I always knew I’d been banished from the system. I’m lucky that the risk of social judgment has largely been lifted from me but I still get the occasional hurtful note in my comments or inbox just like everyone else. I’m not immune to feeling beat up or ignored but mostly I acclimated to it early and my advice to other artists is to do the same. The only real risk in my journey is the risk of not fully blooming, the risk of not making my best work. I can’t allow the opinions of others to threaten my full and vibrant expression. I mean, fuck, it’s all I’m doing with my life.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Oh boy, that’s a lot of bait in the stream. haha. I’ll try and answer some of these questions as best I can. 1. I got to where I am today by focusing on the same ideals over a long period of time. 2. Of course, it wasn’t easy. As far as my perspective is concerned, it has literally taken forever. 3. I overcame my challenges by reframing them, re-associating them, brutally overpowering them, or convincing them to go away. 4. Along the way, I learned to create my own context instead of trying to fit into some other paradigm designed by someone else. I’ve developed several personal practices which seem to be useful tools for my self-improvement. My practices include The Yes Voice, Noble Hedonism, and The Loose Grip, none of which I intend to explain here. 5. The truth is that my story is taking me into places I never would have expected. My art has included mediums I never knew about and mediums I felt disallowed from. I’ve worked in Liquid Light, Stand-Up Comedy, and Erotic Film over the last few years. If people are curious to see what’s next the are free to tune in. I’m not sure what I’ll make next but I know why I’ll make it. I’ll make my next art piece because the world is a beautiful mystery and I love that.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would absolutely love to do this. I miss going to my favorite places with my favorite people. Well, jeez, I guess if we are going out in Longmont, I have a hand full of places I like to frequent. 1. First and foremost, we would have to go have cocktails at my favorite distillery “Abbott and Wallace” in Longmont. My favorite bar tender Ward makes the most amazing drinks and they always make me and my companions feel educated about what we are drinking. I fucking love that. 2. Since we would be in Longmont, we would absolutely have to follow those cocktails up with dinner at Sugarbeet because the food there is the most delicious and elegant in town. The owner Ari is brilliant and such a great wine expert. He always has amazing bottles and I just let him pick whatever he thinks is right for my meal. It’s always magical. 3. Another drinking option is Bootstrap Brewing. They make some of the best beers I’ve ever had. Their Insane Rush IPA is an all time local classic. 4. I’d also make sure we hit the cultural cornerstone of modern Longmont, Left Hand Brewing. They make wonderful beers and have been long time supporters of the local art scene. They are probably the most culturally impactful business in town and it’s due to good people and solidly community centered leadership. 5. I’d ask if they had ever tripped acid in a giant rose garden. I’m not saying people do that in the famous rose garden in Rosevelt Park every summer but I am saying I’d ask my guest about their interest level in it. 6. In the morning I’d take them to La Vita Bella for a long chat or a book over some great coffee. 7. We wouldn’t be able to leave town without having pizza at Rosalee’s. It’s local law and I stand by it. It’s the best pizza in the world and it’s the shining gem of our city. If we had time for Boulder: 1. Dinner at The Black Cat is a soul filling delight and it’s always absolutely the most pleasureful experience possible. 2. Dinner at Chez Tuey is a really good choice for deep flavor and heart warming vibes. It’s a long time favorite for me. 3. Isolation float tanks at Radi8 Float are really really good before or after dinner. This is a must try. If we skipped down to Denver, I’d have a few other spots we’d need to see. 1. The Cruise Room is a sentimental favorite for me and the cocktails are fabulous. 2. The Churchill Bar can’t be ignored. It’s the perfect place for along chat, cocktails, and cigars. 3. Dinner at Linger is always a classy and tasty experience. 4. Dinner at Rioja would be high on my priority list as well.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to take a moment to celebrate my uncle, Jim Eppler. He’s a wild life artist working with sculpture, music, and paint. He’s brilliant in his work and very true in his heart. He’s the first artist I met. He was also one of the first people who treated me with sincerity when I showed interest in art. He was always encouraging as I was growing up and he’s still one of the only people in the world who I try to impress. He is a good man and a good artist who inspires me all the time. I would be different and maybe not as good at my job if I hadn’t interacted with Jim.
Other: Art Prints: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AndoTheArtist Free Art Book: https://www.scribd.com/document/485532834/Broke-Down-Deluxe-Art-Book-by-Andy-Eppler?fbclid=IwAR3gzIvnoCb27SOzr3hmU5kDOMQcNwW0D3sj3YOBF7W23zVjzHpsy1ocPgE
All images by Andy Eppler