Allan C. Carandang is one of the artists creating an egg for EGGS-plore Lynnwood, a citywide egg hunt March 4 through May 6.
Eggs decorated by local artists will be placed at businesses and agencies throughout the city. Hunt down the eggs using a mobile app or a low-tech paper scavenger hunt. Collect all the eggs to be entered in a drawing to win prizes. The eggs later will be exhibited at Lynnwood City Hall and auctioned off for human service nonprofits.
Here’s a look at the artist.
Who: Carandang, 43, is a senior art director at Dillon Works Inc. in Mukilteo. Born in Guam and raised in San Diego, he lives in Lynnwood with husband, Luke, and two dogs, Shoyu and Siopao. Carandang won a 2017 T-shirt contest sponsored by the city to celebrate what people love about Lynnwood. In his design, the “NW” in the middle of “Lynnwood” is incorporated in a graphic with evergreen trees on both sides to highlight “Pacific NW Washington.”
What: In 2014, I began experimenting and refining my process of painting with coffee in all its forms — brewed, ground and whole. This versatile medium surprisingly produces a wide range of warm sepia tones, but it also fills my studio with the sweet smell of java.
When: Growing up, I admired my grandfather who was a carpenter. A restless worker — whether he was customizing a chicken coop, building a trellis for his tomato garden or laying down concrete foundation — he was always crafting something. I aspired to be like him. I received my architecture degree from the University of Washington and worked toward an architecture license. Although that career path didn’t pan out, I’ve continued in a profession that allows me to be inspired by the built environment. Drawing and painting has been the constant passion through it all, and like my grandfather, I plan to never stop creating.
Where: Urban sketching is my favorite pastime, especially when traveling to new cities. I always carry my sketchbook with me. Drawing on location, or “en plein air,” allows me to experience the place/subject much more thoroughly than I would if I were just passing through or taking a photograph. The events that happen while I’m drawing — the sights, smells, temperature, weather and social interactions — all combine to cement a place in my memory.
Why: The watercolor technique I use in coffee painting allows me to take a break from my formal training as a drafter and graphic designer. It frees me from rigidity, structure and staying within the lines. Most recently, I have been experimenting with coffee on birch plywood as a substrate. Finding the right dampness so the wood holds enough pigment without over-bleeding into the grain has been the biggest challenge. Because of its unforgiving nature, watercolor forces me to let go and to accept the end product. That unpredictability can sometimes yield incredible results.
How: In my formative years, I used graphite pencils to create black-and-white pieces. I’ve always been drawn to monochromatic photography and artwork (which is why I prefer coffee painting over traditional watercolors).
Mr. Lightfoot, my high school art teacher, always reminded me, “Never be afraid of the dark!” That phrase, which carried a double meaning, has stuck with me over the years. He’d remind me to give my eyes a break and step away from my drawing frequently. If it looked flat when I came back to it, then it didn’t have enough shade and shadow. I would break out my 4B pencil and build up the dark contrast — bringing depth and more life to my drawing. That phrase also reminds me to take risks and push outside of my artistic comfort zone.
Favorite: “La Strada,” 10 by 8, painted with coffee, April 2017.
It reminds me of an interesting day spent in one of my favorite cities. I was sitting outdoors at a restaurant on the Strada, the main street that runs through the old city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. As soon as I pulled out my canvas and coffee, the rain began to fall. It was a heavy downpour and within minutes the street was flooded to our ankles. We were all herded indoors by the staff. Just as quickly as the rain came, it stopped. I returned to my table outdoors and painted the scene of umbrellas and people shuffling through the waterlogged Strada.
More coffee: See more of Carandang’s artwork at www.acarandang.com.
More eggs: Learn more about EGGS-plore Lynnwood at www.LynnwoodArts.org.
North Coast Magazine
This artist profile is featured in the spring issue of Washington North Coast Magazine, a supplement of The Daily Herald. Explore Snohomish and Island counties with each quarterly magazine. Each issue is $3.99. Subscribe to receive all four editions for $14 per year. Call 425-339-3200 or go to www.washingtonnorthcoast.com for more information.