BY ROBYN ZELICKSON
Pima Community College’s Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery director David Andres works in his office, sorting through images to send to panels of volunteers who evaluate nominees and choose winners for the Governor’s Arts Awards.
Bailey Doogan, a friend and fellow artist, nominated Andres for the Governor’s Award. Doogan is an emeritus faculty member at the University of Arizona.
The Governor’s Awards cover seven categories based on contributions, accomplishments and commitment to the arts. There is also a separate philanthropy award.
The nomination is not Andres’ first honor. He won a Lumie Arts Educator award in 2012 from the Tucson Pima Arts Council. Lumies celebrate art and its impact in Southern Arizona.
“All of those things are such a surprise to me,” Andres said. “There are so many more deserving people. I was totally honored to be nominated.”
Carol Carder, marketing/public relations director for Pima’s Center for the Arts, is assisting Andres with his art submissions.
“Usually the winner is someone with a doctorate who lives and works in the Phoenix area,” Andres said. “However, Carol told me to ‘have faith!’”
Andres is nominated in the Arts in Education – Individual category. The Arizona Citizens for the Arts website describes nominees as follows:
“This award recognizes educators, teaching artists, school administrators or school volunteers that have demonstrated significant support or participation in activities which foster excellence in, appreciation of, or access to arts education in the State of Arizona.”
Andres grew up in Kansas and earned a Bachelor of Arts at Kansas State University, where he met his wife, Julie, who is a sculptor.
They later moved to Tucson, where Andres obtained his Master of Fine Arts in arts education at UA.
He took a position as an Artist in Residence for the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and worked with teachers for 15 years on integrating art into classroom curriculum. He traveled from Page to Nogales and from Yuma to Show Low.
Andres later worked as an Artist in Residence at the K-12 level in Tempe, commuting three days a week from Tucson to spare his family a move to Phoenix.
As an artist, Andres incorporates ocean themes into his work, inspired by his adventures as a scuba diver. He has been a diver for more than 30 years and lived for a time on a sailboat in San Carlos.
He also does underwater photography in the Sea of Cortez and in the Pacific Ocean near Catalina Island. Most of his photography takes place during night dives.
Andres has worked on a gillnetting art series for 15 years. Some hauntingly beautiful compositions depict sea creatures trapped in pieces of net.
He’s noticed a big drop in the number of mantis and sharks over the years, mainly in the Sea of Cortez, due to the practice of gillnetting.
“What I’ve seen when I’ve been diving is you don’t even notice it, and then all of a sudden it’s on you, fragments of it, not like one big gigantic net,” Andres said. “So this has been my attempt at bringing awareness about the problems with it.”
One 2007 piece, “Entanglement,” depicts algae interwoven in a piece of gillnet.
Andres sets out the pieces and paints on different colors, one layer at a time. He allows each layer to dry and blends a new color with the last, forming a unique color pattern.
He’s one of 24 artists currently exhibiting at the Arizona Museum of Art. His art also represents the Sea of Cortez in a group show about the Sonoran desert at Tohono Chul Park.
In addition to serving as director of the Bernal Gallery, Andres works as an adjunct at Pima. He teaches gallery and museum practices, printmaking and design.
“I didn’t want to give up teaching,” he said. “I’ve been teaching a long time. I’ve taught K-12, but like this age best. It’s such a wide variety of students.”