Andrea Hindt Cultivates Creativity in Southeast Minnesota
Andrea Hindt of rural Spring Valley has been expressing herself artistically since elementary school. “In the third year, I was doing drawings for my teacher and my classmates,” says Andrea. “Growing up, Sunday comic pages were the best! I loved reading them. My twin sister, Anji Bennett, and I were doing cartoons and we were like “when we grow up” we want to have our own comics.
Andrea continued to take art classes throughout high school and was a member of the Albert Lea High School Art Club. During the holidays, students painted the windows of local health centers and restaurants. “Also in high school, I took a graphic arts class taught by Mr. Goodnature, we didn’t have computers to use at that time everything was done manually. For one of the our projects, I designed and screen printed the logo of my favorite band on my denim jacket. I loved this class. Mr. Goodnature put me on the path to graphic design as a career.
While in school, Andrea continued to draw for her classmates and created and printed her own wedding invitations, but after graduating from Austin Community College her work and family took her time, so she stopped drawing and painting for almost 15 years. However, the call to become a professional artist comes back to her when her father, John Bennett, asks Andrea to paint some saw blades that he wants to give as a gift.
Then, in 2006, Kathy Simpson, co-owner of A&W in Spring Valley, asked Andrea if she would be interested in painting a mural on their property. Andrea explains: “I had never painted anything so large before. It was my first mural, so I called another artist and got some tips on getting started. My sister Anji came to help me with this first fresco; with each I try to grow and try new things.
Mentioning new things, the most unusual project Andrea has ever done was when she painted a unique casket. It looked like a school bus and was created at the request of his uncle’s funeral home for Glen Davis who was a driver for the Grand Meadow School District.
The design of large murals began in the fall of 2015 when Jen Slifka, owner of Chateau de Chic, asked about painting a graffiti mural on the back of her building. “I thought I had to try spray painting it. Some of the mural is brushed and some is airbrushed, but this was my first attempt and I struggled with the humidity and windy conditions. I have created so much for Jen and her family, it has been a wonderful experience. She really pushed me beyond some of my fears… like heights, when a few years ago I painted the facade of her Chic by Chateau Boutique building, ”recalls Andrea.
“Since then, I have airbrushed a classic car mural on the A&W fence. This mural was the first that I painted entirely using a SATA airbrush and minijet. It was so much fun doing that and I learned so much. In fact, I received great advice from Mickey Harris and some of my colleagues at Dan-Am Company have given me tremendous support. While working where I do I have met so many amazing airbrush artists. Watching them paint, I’m just amazed at what they can do. It makes me want to work harder to improve my ability to airbrush smaller details, one of my goals this winter is to improve myself in this area.
Several years ago Andrea had the opportunity to take a custom design course at the Dan-Am Company in Spring Valley, taught by Jim Hetzler. So when the pandemic hit in April 2020, Andrea decided that a “COVID Stop Project” would be in order. “Our 97 HD Dyna Wide Glide was in desperate need of a new paint job, so I painted our custom motorcycle boxes. I imagined and sprayed fun colors and effects, I glued it with a creative pattern, part of it is airbrushed using lace, ”comments Andrea. “When finished, I took it to a pinstriper in the Twin Cities. This is the first bike I have painted and I am very happy with the result. “
Andrea’s public artwork has painted for various companies including: Valley Farm & Home, A&W, Ody’s, former Spring Valley Tribune, Valley Angus Farms, Bar & Grill Racks, Threads, Chateau de Chic, Some Like It Hot, Stellar 181, Ladd K9, Lake View Iowa Historical Museum, Hop & Barrel Brewery and several murals. She still has one exterior mural to be completed this year and two already scheduled for 2022.
Carrying out each project involves meeting the client and having an idea of the space, the size and the idea envisaged. Andrea explains: “It often happens that a client has ideas and sends them to me or, while we meet, we exchange ideas and make a plan. Then, if necessary, I make a sketch. I will find out what I have for paint and what I would need for additional paint colors. Then I start sketching on the wall, I don’t draw super detailed things because the first coat of paint covers my pencil marks so I just do my main lines. I don’t use a grid system, but sometimes I use reference points on the wall, for example when painting on corrugated steel. I will use the rivets and stitching as a guide as to where my images should be based on the design created with their wall as the background image. Sometimes on really tough stuff, like, I had to paint the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin with all the counties, so I made a model.
Andrea finds the painting relaxing. “I forget everything else and focus only on painting. I like it when it all comes together, ”says Andrea. “It’s very satisfying when the customer is happy, so I know I’ve done a good job for them and that’s what is most important to me.”
To see other works of art Andrea Hindt has made, visit her Facebook page – Hindt of Color.