Beauty in Forgotten Bits
Though he has long admired design and found-object art, Andrews came late to his current medium. Originally trained as a chef, he moved to Los Angeles after culinary school in 1994 to take a job as the personal assistant for actress Annie Potts. Later, he worked as a personal chef and in television production. “I did everything in Los Angeles twice except make money once,” he says. In his free time, he took photographs of the city.
Eventually, Andrews burned out on the L.A. grind, so he packed up and came home. Those first months back in Clarksdale made him feel as if he’d escaped a cage. He took pictures like mad. He scavenged wood and metal. He drove the back roads and stopped in fields to marvel at his solitude. “I went bananas just rediscovering the Delta,” Andrews says. “I had to step away from here for twenty years to be able to appreciate it again.”
Slowly, his following is growing. Last year, Nina Miller, the executive director of the Gibson Foundation, the charitable arm of the guitar company, bought two Andrews pieces to take home to Nashville. “There’s something about Randall’s stuff,” Miller says. “I wouldn’t call it dark. It’s definitely haunting. It pulls you in.”
And that’s part of Andrews’s goal, to spotlight the beauty inherent in even the Delta’s most broken and forgotten bits. “How does a generation pass the torch in this town?” he asks. “It’s up to the next generation to pick it up and carry on.”