Andrea Hindt of rural Spring Valley has been expressing herself artistically since her elementary school days. “In third grade, I would draw pictures for my teacher and classmates,” says Andrea. “Growing up, the Sunday comic pages were the best! I loved to read them. My twin sister, Anji Bennett, and I would draw cartoons and we used to say ‘when we grow up’ we want to have our own comic strips.”
Andrea continued to take art classes throughout high school and was a member of the Albert Lea High School Art Club. During the holidays students would paint the windows at local care centers and restaurants. “Also in high school, I took a graphic arts class taught by Mr. Goodnature. For one of our projects, I designed and screen printed my favorite band logo on my jean jacket. I loved that class. Mr. Goodnature put me on the path towards graphic design as a career.”
While in college Andrea continued to draw for classmates, and created and printed her own wedding announcements, but after graduating from Austin Community College, work and family claimed her time so she quit drawing and painting for almost 15 years. However, the call to become a professional artist came back to her when her father, John Bennett asked Andrea to paint a couple saw blades he wanted to give as gifts.
Then in 2006, Kathy Simpson, co-owner of the A&W in Spring Valley asked Andrea if she would be interested in painting a mural on their property. Andrea explains, “I’d never painted anything that large before. It was my first mural, so I called up another artist and got a few tips to get me started. My sister Anji came and helped me with that first mural; with each one I try to grow and try new things.”
Mentioning new things, the most unusual project Andrea has ever done was when she painted a unique casket. It looked like a school bus and was created at the request of her uncle’s funeral home for Glen Davis who was a driver for the Grand Meadow school district.
Designing large murals started in the fall of 2015 when Jen Slifka, owner of Chateau de Chic asked about painting a graffiti mural on the back of her building. “I figured I needed to try and spray paint it. Part of the mural is brushed and some of it is airbrushed but that was my first attempt and I had a tough time with the humidity and windy conditions. I’ve created so much for Jen and her family, it’s been a wonderful experience. She’s really pushed me past some of my fears… like heights, when a few years ago I painted the front of her Chic by Chateau Boutique building,” muses Andrea.
“Since then I’ve airbrushed a classic car mural on the fence at the A&W. That mural was the first one that I painted entirely using a SATA airbrush and minijet. It was so much fun to do this and I learned so much. I actually got some good tips from Mickey Harris and some of my co-workers at Dan-Am Company gave tremendous support. Working where I do, I have met so many amazing airbrush artists. Watching them paint, I’m just amazed at what they can do. It makes me want to work harder to improve my ability to airbrush smaller details, that is one of my goals this winter is to get better at that.”
Several years ago, Andrea had an opportunity to take a custom design class at Dan-Am Company in Spring Valley, taught by Jim Hetzler. So when the pandemic hit in April of 2020, Andrea decided a “COVID shut down project” would be in order. “Our 97 HD Dyna Wide Glide had been in desperate need of a new paint job, so I custom painted our motorcycle tins. I came up with and sprayed some fun colors and effects, taped it out with a creative pattern, part of it is airbrushed using lace,” comments Andrea. “After it was done, I took it to a pinstriper up in the Twin Cities. It’s the first motorcycle I ever painted and I’m very happy with how it turned out.”
Andrea’s public artwork has painted for a variety of businesses including: Valley Farm & Home, A&W, Ody’s, former Spring Valley Tribune, Valley Angus Farms, Racks Bar & Grill, Threads, Chateau de Chic, Some Like It Hot, Stellar 181, Ladd K9, Lake View Iowa Historical Museum, Hop & Barrel Brewery, and multiple home murals. She has one more outdoor mural to finish this year and two already planned for 2022.
Doing each project involves meeting the customer and getting a feel of the space, size and what idea is envisioned. Andrea explains, “Many times a customer will have ideas and send them to me or while we’re meeting we toss ideas around and come up with a plan. Then if needed, I do a rough sketch. I’ll figure out what I have for paint and what I might need for additional paint colors. Then I start to rough sketch on the wall, I don’t draw things out super detailed because the first layer of paint covers up my pencil marks so I just do my main lines. I don’t use a grid system, yet sometimes I’ll use reference points on the wall, for example when I’m painting on corrugated steel. I’ll use the rivets and seams as a guide to know where my images should be according to the design created with their wall as a background image. Sometimes on really tough things, for instance I had to paint the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin with all the counties, so I made a template.”
Andrea finds painting relaxing. “I forget about everything else going on and my focus is solely on the painting. I love when everything comes together,” says Andrea. “It is very satisfying when the customer is happy, then I know I did a good job for them and that’s what is most important to me.”
To see other artwork Andrea Hindt has brought to life, go to her Facebook page – Hindt of Color.