Andrew Vollo
Medium: Painting

Studio Location:
199-28 19 Avenue - Studio# 2nd fl

Phone: 6462679026


Artist Bio:
In the 1970's, Andrew Vollo studied fine art at Queens College during the day and drove a NYC yellow taxi at night. Vollo has been a fixture in the New York City taxi and limousine industry for 40 years.

From 1984 until 2014, he taught at the NYC Taxi and FHV Driver Institute at LaGuardia Community College. For the last 16 years of his tenure, Vollo was the director of the Institute.

Always innovating and searching for ways to improve the safety and well being of drivers, Vollo acquired a number of specialized training designations. Of particular relevance is TaxiYoga??, a unique exercise program that address the physical limitations and difficulties faced by professional drivers.

Vollo's dual existence - driving around the mean streets of NYC while studying art unlocked his spirit and imagination. Only when stuck in traffic was he able to find his medium on the back of trucks in the form of a modern-day grid. This enabled him to create a pictorial space that is both identifiable and very real. As pop culture was to Andy Warhol or Jasper Johns, Vollo's artistic spark derives from traffic, where he found his authentic self.

Artist Statement:
I am a native New Yorker who during the 1970's studied fine art at Queens College during the day and drove a taxi at night. This dual existence taught me how to see beauty from places in which many would think it could never be found. As a result, I quickly identified with and embraced the abstract form of art.

Whether it was American abstract painters from the New York school, to the meditative abstract paintings of Agnes Martin, or the minimalist works of Brice Marden or Frank Stella, their essence was the same and they became my mentors. I learned from their work that it was my experiences and visions while driving which would form my subject matter.

Driving a taxi provided me time to question my existence of whether I was an artist or a taxi driver. I quickly learned that I was in fact both, as my abstractions became solely based on real-world situations and objects where common urban forms have been simplified.

When I would become stuck in traffic, I chose to no longer see the back of a truck but instead a Rothko or a Mondrian. As this phenomenon began to occur more often, it became clear, just as pop culture was to Andy Warhol or Jasper Johns, that my opus would one day derive from traffic where I found my authentic self.

My paintings share a kinship with the populist painters of the New York Aschan School. However while the Aschan School rebelled against popular paintings of the time, my paintings instead embrace and share an art linage to the New York School of abstract painters.

Simply put, the world that traffic unlocked fed my spirit and imagination. While the back of a truck is not conventionally appealing to most, my thought was to make it a thing of beauty. For centuries, artists employed the use of grids to create art. I found a modern-day grid to create a pictorial space that is identifiable, literally everywhere and very real.
My work demystifies the complexities of art through familiarity. The commonality and identifiable nature of the pieces encourages viewers to appreciate the paintings by comfortably spending time with them. Anyone who looks becomes part of that moment and is able to walk away both understanding the subject matter and relating to the creative process.

All images and text copyright Andrew Vollo