Fringe benefits

Andy Littlefield

“Angus” by Andy Littlefield, charcoal.

“Angus” by Andy Littlefield, charcoal.


907 K St.
Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 446-1400

Andy Littlefield claims he doesn’t get out much, but lately his artwork has. He just wrapped up a solo exhibition at Artifacts on K Street, and this month, his work lines the walls at Beatnik Studios (2421 17th Street). The 37-year-old artist and father of two studied fine art and graphic design at CSU Chico, and has been working prepress at a print shop in Sacramento for five years. Working at the print shop, it turns out, has some unexpected fringe benefits for this resourceful artist.

How long have you lived in the Sacramento area?

I went to school here—I lived in the Roseville, Rocklin area—so I went to Roseville High [School]. But then, after I wasn’t here for a couple of years, I went up to Chico, and that’s where I raised the family pretty much until five years ago.

Tell me about the process you use to make your pieces.

Well, I do a couple of different styles. I’m a figurative artist, and I also do landscape. I do a lot of figure drawing and stuff, but the majority of the art is prints. I do a transfer process where I transfer photos onto recycled plywood that I get from work.

What’s the plywood used for at your work?

We get large sheets of paper for our industrial presses, wrapped up with either a pallet or on top of it, so they have to have some way to cinch it down. They use plywood for that, and then the byproduct for that is getting rid of it, and that’s where I come in.

What does the transfer process entail?

I need some kind of print that’s color-based, like a photocopy or off of an inkjet [printer]. So I take my photos, print them up … and I take clear acrylic [medium], cover them with clear acrylic, sandwich them on top of a board, and then once it’s dry, I remove all of the paper, so the toner actually floats inside the clear acrylic.

Oh, man, I used to do that a lot.

Oh yeah? You used to do a lot of transfers?

I did one that was huge once, and my fingers were raw after rubbing off so much paper.

For some of my bigger pieces, like the one up at Beatnik in the window, all my fingerprints were totally gone.

Do you ever use a sponge of some kind to remove the paper?

I usually start out with some kind of Brillo pad thing. It takes the majority off, but I have to be super careful, because it’ll take the toner right off.

You must be kind of prolific.

I’m working all the time. All the time. I have two young boys—I have a 13-year-old and an 8-year-old, so a lot of my time goes toward them, but if we’re not eating or just hanging out, I’m in my studio all the time.

What kind of alterations do you do to the transferred images?

I always rework it. The transfer process is always flawed. I mean, you’re always going to get bubbles; you’re always going to get mistakes. I don’t know if you ran across that a whole lot, but while I’m transferring, I always have blemishes. Always. So I rework everything I do. Sometimes I’ll go in there and I’ll punch up the contrast … and then once I get the transfer on the wood, I’ll add charcoal, pastels, pencils … until it looks the way it should, I guess.

What else about your art surprises people?

Almost all of it now is recycled. Everything I’m getting, all of this wood, it’s just going to the trash [otherwise]. So that’s exciting for me, the whole green aspect of it. And I don’t have to pay for it. That’s huge; it’s not like I have a bunch of money to blow on art supplies, so it’s really cool that I can produce it from what’s going in the Dumpster.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I don’t know. I’m not a big talker. A lot of people have been seeming to appreciate the art lately, so I’ve been really excited about that. That’s something new for me. I’m usually so introverted, doing my own thing, and [the art] just goes into storage. To actually get stuff out and people giving good feedback is pretty exciting.

Do you have a website?

I’m working on it right now. I’m working on a [blog] cause it’s free, so I can put stuff up, but I haven’t really got it going. I’m catching quite the grief from some of my friends about that.