“I’m a high school dropout. I had my first baby at 18. When she was 5 years old, must have heard me talking or something she asked, “did you drop out of high school because of me?” And I never wanted her to feel that way. That she was the end all of my future. So, because of her, I got my GED. They said “You did such a great job on your GED, we’ll give you money to go to college. And I was like are you kidding? So, they gave me money for college, like $800. I was like what would I want to go for? Nursing is the smallest amount of hours with the biggest pay off. At graduation, we gave roses out to the person that helped us through school and I gave it to my daughter. If she never would have said what she said, I may not have been a nurse today. I love nursing, it just goes well with my service personality. And it’s just like working in the NICU with premature babies, I truly get to save lives every day.
Transilient: Since you do it so much… does it ever hit you where you’re like “Wow, I saved a life?”
Andrew: My other friends who are nurses would agree, we’re so humbled. It doesn’t feel like it. It’s a day to day thing that we just do. But you get that sense when you see that 4-year-old running up to give you a hug and he might not have been here without us.
Transilient: Is connection important to you? Cause it seems with nursing and all of the art you create, it might be important. Friendships, connections, does that inspire your work?
Andrew: I keep saying “I’m going to go to an art fair and display my art” but then I don’t because I never have any!
Transilient: Because you give it away?
Andrew: Yeah, because I’m really connected to people. There’s one lady I met online, she just spoke to me ya know, she was going through a really tough time and I gave her a painting I did of a ship and it was called “Lost at Sea.” I framed it, packed it, sent it to her and in a note, I said, “Don’t ever feel lost at sea, you can always come talk to me.” And she hung it on her wall and to this day we’re still really good friends and she calls me whenever she needs anything.”