Monday, May 11, 2015

A conversation with Andrea Larko

For those of you who are not familiar with the name, she is an aspiring young artist who is taking the fishing industry by storm. She has a style all her own and it's a fresh look to an industry saturated with several other very talented artists. Everywhere you look in your local flyshop you will find prints, stickers, apparel, buffs and even reels with artwork. Andrea has recently joined Simms and has two designs on their women's apparel and with more to come. There are some reels from Abel featuring her work coming sometime this summer as well. Vedadoo sling packs have had her mark on them for some time now and she has a vast array of amazing stickers and prints available on Etsy! I bought a few stickers awhile back and my wife and kids were very impressed with her dynamic and upbeat style. She calls her work of intricate patterns and symbols within the shape of a particular fish, zentangle.

When not in her studio, Andrea loves to wet a line on some of her local rivers.

I have been biding my time for a great subject to write about to get me back in the game. I have been a little rusty and haven't been writing as much as I would have liked. I feel my health is slowly improving so it's time to get back on-board and start hitting the keyboard more often. I took some time to do some fishing this spring for my beloved steelhead, but this year the always unpredictable Michigan weather lived up to it's name and most of my fishing happened to be on days below freezing. Andrea agreed to do an interview for an article and within a few days we were talking on the phone.

Andrea is an easy going person and the interview turned into a casual conversation not so much about questions and answers, but just a comfortable conversation about two passions we both share, fishing and art.

The Mayfly sticker fit perfectly on my home made fly tying stand.

The Zentangle Salmon went on my articulated fly Box

The brown trout sticker (my favorite one btw ) went on another articulated fly box. As you can see her stuff is simply "freaking awesome"!

Andrea hails from a small town called Indiana in the state of Pennsylvania. Since an early age, Andrea had gone fishing with her family often. She has three sisters who all share her passion as well and her family has an annual camping and fishing bonanza every fall for king salmon and big browns. Speaking of Browns, the Brown trout is her greatest love of all. She find so much beauty in the vivid colors that make up the Salmo trutta.

3 out of the 4 Larko girls in waders.

Her parents were always the outdoorsy types who passed that passion down to their four daughters as well as being independent women.On the picture above you can see the olive green back with the yellow underbelly with her special touch of over sized spots in black, brown, and bright red. The fins are another distinct touch. She has an great grasp of the true detail of the trout, but made it her own style. Her signature is definitely the zentangle, when you see it you know it's from her hand.

Andrea favors pen and ink drawings using rapidograph pens and digitally coloring the drawing to get her finished piece. The rapidograph is an excellent pen and they are refillable. The pens are somewhat expensive, but once you have the pen the only expense is refilling them. She does like several other mediums. Oil painting is her all time favorite, but it is more time consuming.When not making awesome fish art she likes to dabble in other nature subjects.

One of her artistic influences is Scott Naismith, a Scotland artist whose color theory artwork she absolutely adores. Throw out the old color wheel, it was a hot mess!

Another favorite is Czech artist, Alphonse Mucha whose distinct style is known as Art Nouveau. I personally can see his influence in her work. Alphonse did some stained glass work and many of his pieces have a similar look with fancy scroll work giving it a very vintage look. He did many advertisements and posters for plays and such. His work was all over Europe in the early 1900's.

a sample of Alphonse's work
As far as the classic artists go she favors Claude Monet with his "Water Lillies" as one of her all time favorite pieces. She is also fond of Vincent Van Gogh. She loves all art from street and graffiti work to the classics.

Andrea started fly fishing about six years ago when her boyfriend bought her first fly rod. From the first moment she saw someone fly-fishing she was drawn to it. She loved how graceful and elegant it looked besides it certainly looked fun. She has become an accomplished fly fisher and loves dry fly-fishing for browns and brookies the most. Naturally the appeal of tying flies soon followed as part of the addiction. Some of her favorite patterns are black stones and caddis flies.

A brown trout with connect the dots for spots!

Someday she hopes to make a trip to Alaska and just be a part of the rugged wilderness adventures. Her fish bucket list includes the arctic grayling, which she could cross off it she gets the opportunity
visit the last frontier.

Andrea's rendition of the arctic grayling.

Two other fish she hopes to tangle with someday are the Tarpon and Bonefish.......

Black and White Tarpon head.

Zentangle Rooster fish

Zentangle Permit. This appears on Simms Women's Solarflex shirt and won best in women's apparel at ICAST last year.

Last October Andrea quit her regular job to pursue her artwork full-time. She wanted to do what she loved for a living and is following her passion. Getting in the mix with some of the fishing industries top notch companies is a great start and she doe have her prints and stickers for sale along with some original pieces and prints for sale. She has a BFA in illustration from the Rochester Institute of Technology. If you are into art prints get them now while some of her limited edition prints are still available. All are numbered and signed, printed on acid free paper and only touched with the use of gloves so the artwork will last for a good long time and make an excellent addition to any man cave or woman cave for that matter. Depending on the style of decor that your spouse prefers her artwork would look great anywhere in an anglers abode. She has a new design for Simms that will debut this years ICAST and will be in addition to two more designs next spring. Currently she is working on a sling pack for Vedadoo that she will hand paint and it will then be sent off to a charity auction.

Andrea with a big beautiful male Brown Trout.
When she isn't painting fish, or tying flies Andrea will most likely be found on the river, her favorite being the Yellow Creek Trout Club where she can fish for a vast variety of freshwater species, but most of all her favorite, the Brown Trout.

It was an honor and a privilege to be able to chat with Andrea for this piece. She was easy and fun to talk to and I did get to throw in the teaser that the current world record brown comes from the Big Manistee River right here in Michigan where there have been several monsters caught. I could here the awe and excitement in her voice. If she ever happens to be out this way we should try for a monster brown on the Big M....

Black and white Crappie chasing a shiner. Love the fins and the detail of the markings. Almost looks like puzzle pieces.
Clicking her name will bring you to either her Etsy or Instagram page.

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