Andrea McKenna: Painter and Furniture Designer

Andrea McKenna makes a living as a painter, co-owns and curates a gallery as a side gig, and rises and falls as an artist. It’s in her blood.

“My grandfather was a master plasterer and a decorative painter. He did a lot of faux marble – he was definitely an artist. In recent years I learned that behind the decades of ordinary paint in their home is the faux marbling that he did many years ago.”

Andrea grew up assuming she was an artist too, even when she realized that she didn’t draw well. “I simply learned how to draw in art school,” she shrugs.

Today she’s a decorative painter, primarily – which means custom wall finishes, Venetian plasters, and faux finishes. It’s a luxury item. It’s beautiful.

But what drives McKenna, what inspires her, is applying those highly refined decorative paint finishes to furniture. (She sells them – I bought one!)

“Furniture entered into my creative process about five, maybe six, years ago. I’m always on the hunt for vintage pieces that are made of wood. Any piece that has good bones and decent character can be transformed. It’s recycling.”

“Sometimes I see a piece and I know immediately what I want to do with it. Other times I have to think about its personality, its feel. I like design in general – from my experience as a  decorative painter, I became a designer of artistic storage. I like turning discarded furniture into art.”

McKenna’s work is deliberate, thoughtful, and so clearly demonstrates a level of craftsmanship that draws you into it, attracting attention and capturing compliments. Completed works can be seen on her website or at the Raven Gallery & Boutique, but if you have an idea for a bookshelf or a feature wall, she’ll sprinkle some magic into that too.

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Mel Kozakiewicz a professor, editor, writer, and mother of two.

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