New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.


Set Sail by Andrew Bannecker
This season, we're thrilled to introduce Andrew Bannecker—our new visual artist in residence—to New Victory audiences. Andrew creates the title treatments and key art for New Victory shows that form the basis of our season marketing and advertising campaigns—starting with the season brochure, due to land in member mailboxes any moment now!

At The New Vic, we've always strived for the brochure to be a piece of art itself—something that families can sit down and enjoy together—almost like a bedtime story, but one that gets you excited to go to the theater. Andrew's style captures feelings of anticipation and imagination, and it's very joyful. His art makes you smile, as does collaborating with him. Enjoy getting to know him a little better in this interview. 
– Lauren Fitzgerald, Director of Marketing & Communications
"If something doesn't creep into a drawing that you're not prepared for, you might as well not have drawn it." – Edward Gorey
How do you go about creating a piece of art? Can you tell me more about your process?
It depends on the project. To start on New Vic art, I read briefs [created by the New Victory Marketing Department] that tell me what the show is about and what they're trying to convey. They send over reviews and videos and I get to know the world of the show with all these resources.


Andrew's Textures
A look at the textures Andrew creates with paint before scanning them into his computer.

Then I just sit down in front of the computer and start drawing. An hour or two later my initial idea might be completely different. In my world, the work evolves fairly quickly. If nothing's happening, I go outside with some coffee, take a second outside to recharge, and usually when I come back things take off.

How has it been working with us so far?
Working at home in a studio is an isolated world so I don't really see a lot of my work get developed. So it's really nice to collaborate on a process. It's not "Here's your work, thank you, bye." With the New Vic, it's a collaboration and a partnership.

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I've been been a full time illustrator for about nine years now. I was an art director at an ad agency, just bopping around. Then one day I talked to an illustrator working on a campaign with me and I realized that THAT was what I wanted to do... only I couldn't draw. So I taught myself to draw. I worked as an art director during the day and was self taught at night. When I had enough work, I searched for an agency to take me. After a lot of rejection I found my current agency. Everything kinda took off with a bang. My first client was Starbucks in the UK right off the bat.


A piece of art in progress.
A look at one of Olivia's works in progress. You can follow Andrew on Instagram here!
Can you tell me about your kids? I hear your daughter has a desk next to yours.
Having a little person there working with you, it's enjoyable. It's always nice to have kids in the studio. Olivia's five and Noah's two and a half. I try to squeeze in some work when they're painting and glittering. Olivia's my tiny muse and my little art director... or critic. She loves to watch me work especially when I'm doing the New Vic stuff. When I'm working, I'll show her the screen and ask for feedback. Nine times out of ten she'll say, "Dad, I need you to print that out." Then she'll take out all of her glitter and her feathers and her markers and get to work. Then she'll come back to my computer and instruct me: "Daddy, I think this should be pink," or "This needs to sparkle."

She knows all of my clients, so once I make her changes, she asks, "Daddy, can you send these over to Lauren and Alexis [the New Victory's Marketing and Design Managers]?" I'll put it into the printer, pretend to send it, and after about five minutes she usually asks, "Do they like them? What do they want now?" I try to let her run with any creative impulses she might have. Some may call that bending over backwards, but I can't stifle something like that, right?
Andrew's Style
A few of the nautical items that heavily inspire Andrew's art alongside an initial sketch!

What's the biggest influence on your style [besides Olivia]?
I'm pretty obsessed with anything vintage and nautical. I collect antiques. My studio is filled with old glass beakers, wood, old puppets I got in Paris or anything else that strikes my fancy and inspires me.

What do you aim to convey with your artwork?
What I try to evoke is a human emotion. I may only draw waves and mountains. There's no people, but you can get a human emotion out of it. With my personal work, I'm known for my colors. My work is textural. Most of my work is on the computer, but I try to create work that doesn't look like it was drawn on the computer. I create all my textures organically with paint or charcoal and then I scan them in. I'm always trying to find new avenues and new ways to create.

What's the secret to your success?
For successful commercial artists, if you have a personal style just stick with it. I learned a lot of people can make triangle mountains, but it's my technique that makes it my own. If you go to Pinterest, you can find a million pieces of geometric art. But the way the artist can create their own style makes it unique.


Interested in the 2016-17 New Victory Season?
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Posted by Beth Henderson

"As it is with all children, before the adult world manages to put out their fires, Nicole was always an artist. However, in Nicole, the fire never stopped burning." – Steve Appel

Nicole at Bello ManiaGrowing up, any kid looks forward to the wonder and spectacle of the circus, but for Nicole Appel, a certain performer held a special place in her heart. Now 25, Nicole first saw Bello Nock (of Bello Mania fame) at the age of nine when he was performing with The Big Apple Circus. A professional artist who falls on the autism spectrum, Nicole has always felt a strong connection to Bello. And, while he hasn't inspired her to take up his brand of thrill-seeking acrobatics, he has inspired her artistically.

When Nicole's father Steve—also a visual artist—heard that Bello would be returning to New York City once more, he reached out to The New Victory to arrange a meeting between the two. He wrote to Bello: 

"Your performances, in the finest tradition of the circus, are islands of innocent enchantment in a sometimes broken world, grounded in an unconditional love for your audience. Nicole's drawings, in a similar way, removed as they are from the institutionalized trappings of the art world, are also islands of innocent enchantment. The two of you are, in this way, I believe, kindred spirits."

The New Victory arranged a meeting between Nicole and Bello where she gave him a copy of her drawing, Bello the Clown. We took a moment to interview her to learn more about her connection to Bello and what it was like to meet him!

How long have you been a fan of Bello's?
I'm 25 years old. I was nine years old when I saw Bello at the Big Apple Circus for the first time, at Cunningham Park, in Queens. The Big Apple Circus comes to Cunningham Park every Spring. It's less than a block from our house. The first time I saw him, he made me feel very happy. I loved him!

When did you first start going to the circus?
We started going to the circus when I was a little girl. We never missed a year. We've been to the circus at Cunningham Park, at Lincoln Center, and at Ringling Bros. We've also seen Cirque de Soleil on Randall's Island, and in Las Vegas. And, of course, we've seen many performances at the New Victory Theater. 
Nicole Meets Bello
Nicole Meets Bello!
Nicole Appel meets Bello after a performance of Bello Mania. She presents him with a custom piece of artwork!

What about Bello and his show is most interesting to you as a New Vic theatergoer? As an artist?
I've loved seeing him riding on his little bicycle, doing magic tricks, climbing chairs and poles. He's a very funny clown. He makes me laugh! 

Bello and his daughter perform together. My dad is an artist just like me. We love to draw together. It's great for dads and daughters to be able to work together. We're all artists and we love each other!

Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
I love running. I belong to The Alley Pond Strider running club. Four years ago, I ran the New York City Marathon. I enjoy camping and hiking. I've been camping and hiking in the Adirondacks, Anza Borrego, Death Valley, and Yosemite. This winter we're going camping in New Mexico near Moab. I also enjoy traveling very much. I've been to Paris and next Sunday we're going to Barcelona to visit a Spanish friend named Pilar. We'll visit the Dali Museum, the Picasso Museum, and the Miro Museum. It should be a lot of fun. I'm very excited!

Can you tell us more about your artwork?    
I do my artwork at an art studio in Brooklyn called the LAND Gallery. I go there three days a week. Since 2014 I've had lots shows at different places. I've had shows at The Outsider Art Fair for the past three years. Bello likes to make people happy. I do too! People like my artwork. I've sold many drawings since 2014. You can see my Bello the Clown drawing and some of my other drawings at the Land Gallery website.

How do you decide the focus/theme/subject of each piece you create?
I do my drawings as gifts for people I love. My drawings are about them. They show the things that they like. 

How long do you work on a piece, or when do you know that it's finished? What are you working on now?
Most of my drawings take about 6 weeks to do. But sometimes, a drawing can take a very long time…half a year or more. I know when it's finished when there's no more white space!

Right now I'm working on my Barcelona drawing. It shows paintings by Picasso, Dali, and Miro. They all lived in Barcelona. 

What was it like to meet Bello?
Bello is very handsome and kind. We hugged each other, he gave me a red rose and I gave him one too. I gave him a copy of the Circus Drawing that I did for him. I signed it, "Nicole loves Bello." He signed my drawing, "Bello loves Nicole." It made me feel very happy. I love Bello! He's the best clown in the world! I love The New Victory Theater too. It's the best theater in the world!

Bello Mania Icon Interested in getting inspired, just like Nicole? Check out The New Victory Theater’s Pinterest board to find exciting activities for the whole family!
Posted by Beth Henderson
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