Growing up in Namibia in a family where creativity was prevalent and valued but never considered as a viable career option, Andries opted to study law at the University of the Freestate in South Africa and subsequently embarked on a successful 20-year corporate career.
However, he knew for quite some time that his purpose was never going to be fulfilled in this work. A corporate restructure presented the opportunity to re-evaluate, and Andries decided to throw caution to the wind and focus entirely on his passion for wood and sculpting. With no art education, and no experience in wood sculpting, there was some trial and error before the picture in his head was truthfully represented by the physical manifestation of the sculpture.
He says: "Wood is a cruel mistress when considering sculpting; she does not suffer fools or mistakes lightly. With big sculptures, like the ones I make, the power tools you use to open a window to your work are built to remove material aggressively, and they care not for wood or finger, remove is what they do. Beyond the constant threat of physical harm, the big problem is that, should you remove too much wood, either by a slip of the hand or by a lack of attention, there is just no way of putting it back. Either you must adjust and adapt everything to said mistake, or start over. Wood sculpting, as with many art disciplines, requires courage, and fear can paralyse you, but you also need it to make you take care."
Andries is enthralled with the human form and the expression of passion, emotion, and storytelling through movement and posture. He is also passionate about the environment and the unrequited responsibility to leave a robust environmental legacy; therefore he uses only engineered wood (Mostly Laminated Birchwood) from sustainable sources or reclaimed wood for his sculptures
"Humanity is self-centered by nature; our consumption in service of our 'wants' is utterly relentless and unstoppable. Therefore conservation is never our first prerogative. We have not yet achieved consciousness as a species that it is self-destructive to destroy, anything you destroy, conscious or unconscious, irrespective of what it is, irrevocably writes itself into your story."