A Long Way From Home: Beneath the Trees of Canggu with Artist Andy Wauman

My afternoon with Andy Wauman and his fiancé Dewi in their jungle home outside of Canggu came at the tail end of my solo trip through Bali. What I remember most about that afternoon is how the rain sounded against the massive leaves strung throughout the jungle. The size of the leaves in Bali astounded me; I didn’t know foliage came in those dimensions. I felt an immense sense of relief being in their home and in their company. I had been alone for six weeks: my conversation skills were stiff and my interests heightened. Andy made me coffee while the rain rolled in and we talked art, my travels, books, his new projects, and life on the island. The pair lives in an open air floor plan jungle house that feels part forest retreat and part magazine photoshoot.

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I originally knew Andy’s work from his Instagram account where he was shooting ample amounts of babes on nothing but expired film all over the world – particularly where he is living in Canggu. As the afternoon wore on and the rain settled, I learned that what I knew of Wauman’s art was merely a glittering pit stop in his long and impressive career as a contemporary artist. Now, after a brief break, he is back in the full swing of it, currently traveling the world and fulfilling a long line up of live shows.

The images I shot here were taken over the course of the afternoon in and near his home. Wauman gifted me a roll of his coveted expired film to play with. He agreed, for this particular instance, to be the subject of the portrait rather than the shooter. This, in addition to the interesting timing of our encounter, has made these some of my favorite images from my trip. Months and months passed before I got the film developed back in the states. To be truthful, all of Bali seems like one hazy and sweaty dreamy, but this afternoon stands out, a vivid moment among those months. When I got the images back I reached out to Wauman to touch base on a few things from our chat and see where in the world he was at the moment.

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LF: You’ve been living in Bali now for how many years? Why Bali? Why Canggu?
AW: I’ve been living in Bali for over four years now. I ended up in Bali visiting a friend after a solo show I did in Hong Kong and I fell in love with the Island of the Gods. Canggu was a very nice community of artists and creative people that lived together with the local people, but this has sadly changed into a place for yoga-headed vegan hipsters.

LF: Why did you fall in love with it? You’ve been all over the world, I imagine there are a lot of places to fall in love with.
AW: The energy of the island, the consistent surf, the tropical climate, but mainly the locals and their never-ending spiritual practice of deception and worship. The beauty is endless. This island is soaked with spirituality. It feels like home to me now.

LF: An ideal day there looks like…?
AW: Early surf in the morning, then eating breakfast with my future wife, Dewi. After that, some studying – my main focus is my contemporary art.

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LF: Tell me about the separation of self between Andy Wauman and @gutterdust.
AW: @gutterdust is on hold since last year. I stopped shooting for brands and I’m not sure what the next step is. Contemporary art has always been my main focus. When I landed on Bali, I decided to take a break from it and I started shooting.

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LF: What are you working on right now that gets you the most excited?
AW: Here you can find a list of future exhibition/projects I’m working on. Also, Dewi and I are preparing our wedding. So exciting.

LF: Congratulations! That’s very exciting. The work in these shows, they’re all over the world. What they are about?
AW: I’m working on a solo show for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which will be a reflection on Tantra energies and the Karma Sutra in the form of embroideries using black silk, and sculptures in stone that will represent the Tantric Goddess and the Heart Chakra.

LF: Are you interested in any new mediums lately? What might you get your hands into next?
AW: Yeah, I’m working on a new solo show ‘Pali iddci’ for Deweer Gallery, back home in Belgium. This show will reflect on Black Magic and Psychic Energies and it will be translated into a sculptural installation that will contain totem sculptures and bas relief sculptures in wood, using old traditional wood carving techniques from Java.

LF: Are you particularly looking forward to some places more than others? Why?
AW: This year is all about traveling through Indonesia with my future wife. We have a few nice trips planned ahead, but I’m very much looking forward to spend time with some local tribes in Borneo.

LF: Tell me more about this time with the local tribes in Borneo.
AW: The local tribes in Borneo will help me with the wood carving for my new totem sculptures 🙂

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LF: How do you feel when you are working, or creating?
AW: It feels like the most natural thing ever to me. It is constantly there, and it is never the same – it’s like a river of inspiration.

LF: Where is your favorite place to relax?
AW: My favorite place to relax is within myself, when I perform a meditation. This could be anywhere.

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LF: How do you drink your coffee? I have a bit of a ritual, so I am always curious.
AW: I switch between a boiling Hot Soy Cappuccino and an Iced Soy Cappuccino. Hehe.

LF: How fast do you live?
AW: I have a lot going on, but I’m definitely taking it slower than before. I wake up at 5AM and go to bed around 9pm.

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The winds blow, that is Hinkāra
A cloud is formed, that is Prastāva
It rains, that is an Udgītha
The lightning that strikes and thunder that rolls, that is Pratihāra
The rains stop and clouds lift, that is Nidhana.

— Chandogya Upanishad 2.3.1

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