“Spinous Process,” by Andrew White, pine, mild steel, rubber, graphite and mooring balls
“Spinous Process,” by Andrew White, pine, mild steel, rubber, graphite and mooring balls
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Andy White is a maker. He’s also a doer, a second pair of hands, idea man and “... a great asset to our project and very good company,” to quote sculptor Jonathan Clowes, who recently worked with White.

I spoke to White at his work space in Rockland: Midcolab, a collaborative mixed-use workshop space White helped set up 10 years ago.

White is very skilled at making things, as shown by his varied and wide-ranging work history. He graduated with a BFA in sculpture from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, but that was just the beginning. He then worked for 10 years as a pipe-fitter, pipe and structural welder and antenna rigger for the United States Antarctic Program. Carpentry, design, drafting and fabrication skills came into play when he worked for local artist Eric Hopkins as an artist’s assistant. He has produced his own sculpture and has had several exhibitions in the midcoast, most recently “Spinous Process,” a large-scale, site-specific sculpture exhibit at Steel House in Rockland.

“White is known as a creative inventor and explorer of ideas with materials. His sculptures combine natural and man-made materials and usually feature some painting component,” Britta Konau said in her review of White’s show with Jared Cowan at Asymmetrick Arts in 2014.

Along the way, working with other artists has been meaningful to White, who enjoys collaborating; he has the practical skills combined with an artistic understanding. He has been open to brainstorming with an artist who may have an idea, but who might be unsure about construction or display possibilities.

White made a mobile wood-fired pizza oven for the Uproot Pie Company and he ended up teaching by doing another oven at Sweet Tree Arts in Hope. He collaborated with Annie Bailey on a work of hers that was displayed in the window of the Farnsworth in 2018, a 25-foot-long moving panorama, or “crankie.”

When I approached White to talk about his work, he was on his way to New Orleans to help install sculptor Jonathan Klause’s “Beacon of Hope,” a 24-foot-tall metal sculpture that is now in place at the University Medical Center. White had worked with a team doing metal welding and fabrication to make the piece, paid for through a percent-for-art grant.

Midcolab, to use White’s words, is an “eclectic, mixed-use space,” and White is right at home there. Collaboration, or the need for space, equipment, and the mix of skill sets that other “makers” have, can be, and has been, useful to 2D and 3D artists, wood and metal workers and designers, digital and otherwise. Of course, sharing large or specialized equipment is financially helpful too. Currently there are 10 people involved, with two spaces opening up soon. There is a Facebook page for more information.

And while we’re on the subject, this guy is a wonder of skills, charisma and art chops. I hope he does more shows of his own work, but I hope also to get some advice about my own casting projects.