Episode 6: Art Maven - Andrea Vogel Sikkink

Episode 6 of the Mavens Do It Better Podcast features Andrea “Andy” Sikkink, actor, voice over artist, fine art painter and owner of As You Wish Arts in Oahu, Hawaii.

Listen in as Heather Newman talks with Andrea about:

  • Her career as an actor and regular on Hawaii Five-0

  • Working in technology and producing events

  • Being a painter and capturing one of the most beautiful places in the world on her canvas.

www.asyouwisharts.com | @AsYouWishArtist

Transcript

Heather Newman: Okay, so we're sitting here in lovely Mililani town center, right? Correct?

Andrea Sikkink: In the middle of Oahu.

Heather Newman: In the middle of Oahu and I'm here with Andy as I know her from all of the different times we've hung out together. And so there's a little outside noise and giving us a little color. But you want to introduce yourself?

Andrea Sikkink: Sure! I am Andrea, Andy Sikkink. I call myself a hyphenated person. I am an actor, an artist, a right brain, left brain. I do a little of everything, hopefully a lot of it well.

Heather Newman: I think you do a lot of it well.

Andrea Sikkink: So, the balance has always been between my interest in arts and my artistic endeavors. I've always painted from when I was a little kid, but I was also a jock so it wasn't cool. So I hid that side away and just did it and no one knew about it through high school until I got to college and was encouraged by a couple of different teachers to explore how good I could get. So I had an art minor but ended up getting a teaching degree and so I taught for quite a while. And that was fun because I could do a little of everything that I liked and then when I came to Hawaii just a lot of other opportunities opened up so I started doing more modeling that I had done a little of on the mainland, but there was just a lot more to be done here and there were a lot of tv productions and movie productions, so ended up doing acting about 50 percent of the time. And then friends with shops that would put my art in there and they'd call me up a couple of weeks later and say, "Need more!". And so it was like I'm a professional paid artist. And then I had friends with businesses that were like, “Hey, you want to do bookkeeping?”, “Hey, you know a little bit about computers. Can you do some computer work for us?” So I found myself learning a vast array of skills.

Heather Newman: A maven of all trades.

Andrea Sikkink: Yes! Yes. They call me the renaissance woman. Yeah. And I kind of, I look at Da Vinci and I am actually related to Van Gogh and I go, they did a lot of stuff. And I think when you build on your creative side then you take on more things like, you.

Heather Newman: Yeah, for sure. Absolutely. So I love your painting. I have one in my bathroom that I just love. Of the sea turtle that you gave me that is so sweet. And so how long have you had? So it's As You Wish?

Andrea Sikkink: Yep, As You Wish Arts. I started when I came on island and in the beginning just sold in friend’s shops. But then with my computer skills and friend’s help I started a website. I have paintings all the way as far away from here as Tasmania, Prague, Czechoslovakia and all over the US. So, I have a little map that I mark off when I sell something, and I have some that I've, like your turtle that you have of mine, that are limited edition prints. So, I actually had them archivally scanned and I can sign them and sell, you know, a lot of them and mass produce them and get them sold that way.

Heather Newman: Is there, do you have any, like everybody always wants to know where something's hanging that might be fairly interesting or secret or anything like that you could talk about?

Andrea Sikkink: Well, I, I definitely, I want to go to Europe, have not yet been to Europe and I had a lady commission one for someone of her dog on the canals in Venice. And so that's hanging in some famous shop owner’s place in Venice.

Heather Newman: Oh really?

Andrea Sikkink: Of her dog with the canal behind. Yes. And then I had a guy collect from Prague, from the Czech Republic, and his dad was a famous painter, which I luckily didn't know before I did his painting. That was a little pressure. Yes.

Heather Newman: And you do a lot of like sort of environments, obviously you get a lot of inspiration from Hawaii and other places you go.

Andrea Sikkink: Yep. Yeah. My childhood paintings were mountains that I never saw. I grew up in Minnesota. Flat, lots of beautiful lakes so I can paint lakes, but I painted mountains to no end. And my sister moved out to Eugene, Oregon when I was 12 years, 11 or 12 years old, and saw the coast and went, “Wow!”. Did some paintings that someday will be worth a lot of money. Yeah and then it just sort of became what else can I try? So I tried sea turtles and people's pets and I've moved into people. That's hard, but one I'm really proud of is a little local girl who's gotten to be quite famous for hula dancing and I did one of her first hula performances.

Heather Newman: Was that a live painting? Have you done any of that?

Andrea Sikkink: I have done some live painting. I've done it mostly at the shops where I am showing my work. No pressure, it just starts to rain or when somebody bumps your easel. Someday, maybe I can be like Wyland and paint in my gallery and have people gather around and watch. And you say, yeah, its $9,000 staring bid. That's my goal. And then the fun part is like when I'm doing the other part of my job, the acting part of my job there's a lot of downtime when you are on set, so I can just look around wherever we're at. It takes me to a lot of locations around the island I wouldn't normally go.

Heather Newman: Tell everyone about that.

Andrea Sikkink: I became a union actor when I came on island. So, Hawaii Five-0. It been eight seasons long and I got to be a recurring police officer and then tried out for different parts. And season finale I got to be a Russian spy, so they wrote it in as I've been in plain sight the whole time. The very awesome part is my daughter got to play my real daughter. So when we went to the audition, I warned her, we might not get cast together. You might get cast with a different mom. I might get with a different daughter. That's happened to us before. And so, we did it and they said, “Well, there probably won't be speaking or other people will be talking over you”. But they actually wrote what we said into the script. So, we got this fat script and we're like, that's what we said in the audition! And we got our own trailers and probably five minutes later she was on my door. She's 20. "Mom, I'm bored and I'm scared can I sit with you?" So we hung out in a trailer together. They were lines I wrote, so we shouldn't have had to practice them, but it was fun. It was really, really fun. Yeah. And to have worked with the people all these different seasons so when we're in the green room together, they turn and like, "Oh, you!", you know, and it was so much fun. And amazingly one of the main characters, Scott Caan is, his passion is photography. So we sat and talked about art, which was really fun and made me much less nervous.

Heather Newman: That's very cool. That's great. So, and so you've been in all seasons?

I've been in probably over 60 episodes and then, may not be in the ninth season too much. Depends on what happens with my character because it was the season finale. So everything's hanging. Maybe I'll escape, maybe I'll be good.

Heather Newman: And you have to, like, you weren't allowed, you weren't allowed to talk about the…

Nope. No, yeah, you signed a nondisclosure. You can tell people to watch the episode, but you can't tell them much.

Heather Newman: Right, right, right. So, yeah, that makes sense. You find that a lot of film gets shot here, obviously because it's so beautiful. What other things?

Andrea Sikkink: Yes. Yeah, and usually my kids laugh because I have three children that have grown up with us doing this. They don't think it's that amazing, but when I came home from doing the first Jurassic World, I was in some trailer with some guy named Chris Pratt, I don't know who he is. And they're like, “Are you kidding? What are you talking about mom?” I'm like, yeah, they were running lines, him and someone Bryce, I think she's related to Ron Howard. And they're like, “Oh my God!”. But, yeah, so I got to do both the brand-new Jurassic World and the one that comes out in a couple days. So, I'm kind of a Rosie the Riveter working in the background in one of the scenes for that one. Got to do Godzilla. Quite a few Japanese movies come on island. So, my husband and I are pretty famous in Japan, so once in a while we'll get stopped by people at Waikiki beach that want our autograph and then we have to figure out what movie they're talking about. We just did one that's a remake of 50 First Dates, the Adam Sandler movie that showed in Japan, that was pretty famous. And then another one about the Eggs and Things restaurants called Love and Pancakes. I got to eat pancakes all day and get paid to eat pancakes. And the guy said take bigger bites and really eat it. It was amazing. Yeah. The end of the day I'm like, I don't want pancakes for the rest of my life. But, but it was fun. It was really, really fun. And it was one of those things where you don't know what it's going to be and then it ends up being really amazing because it's a camera crew from another country that does things completely different.

Heather Newman: That's super cool. And then you've also been involved with, you know, I met you through, through the SharePoint Saturday. You've been involved in the Microsoft with the SharePoint crew with our good friend Chris Bayot.

Andrea Sikkink: Yeah, for like six years with helping put on the SharePoint conference. And I thought at first they were just hiring me to be like, you know, the show model of the car show, but then they're like, you're going to go set up the computer and you're going to get this ready and you're going to run the whole app to get people signed in and yeah. It's just one of those growth experiences where you're like, wow. And then if you can go to a session and learn from somebody, like, now I have a whole new skill set. Now I can do all this. And I always joke that I should get paid because I promote all my friends. You should go to this seminar.

Heather Newman: Here in Honolulu we do, instead of SharePoint Saturday, we do SharePoint Friday.

Andrea Sikkink: Correct.

Heather Newman: Does that have to do with surfing or is it just?

Andrea Sikkink: It does.

Heather Newman: Okay, talk about that a little bit.

Andrea Sikkink: Well, there's the Aloha Friday mentality. So basically the weekend starts Thursday night. So if you try to teach people and have them come to learn something on a Saturday, they're not going to come. But if you do it on a Friday and their employer condones it, they will come and they'll be happy because it's a bonus day and then their weekend starts the minute their seminar is done.

Heather Newman: I see. I knew Aloha Friday but I didn't realize about the Thursday night.

Andrea Sikkink: Yep. Basically starts Thursday night.

Heather Newman: I think Hawaiians really got it down then. That makes a lot of sense to me.

Andrea Sikkink: And most of our holidays that are uniquely Hawaiian, fall on Monday, so we know how to shorten that week up. So, we just had king Kamehameha Day, we'll have Statehood Day in August. We get Prince Kuhio Day, we have a lot of Mondays off.

Heather Newman: And you've lived on Hawaii how long?

Andrea Sikkink: A couple of decades now. Our kids were raised here. Yeah. So a novelty for them is to go to the mainland and have Olive Garden. And then I have friends who say, but there's so much better Italian food! I'm like, but there's Olive Garden. We don't have that.

Heather Newman: Right, right. Those breadsticks are pretty awesome.

Andrea Sikkink: Or In n Out. Hello? They don't have In n Out here. So yeah, it was amazing when we got Target, and Five Guys right over here.

Heather Newman: I know we're looking at Five Guys. That is kind of amazing Five Guys right over here.

Andrea Sikkink: It's pretty empty though, unfortunately. They don't make a Hawaiian flavor, that's why.

Heather Newman: Well, I love the whole, you know, I mean I was a theater major, I tech, dadada, you know what I mean? And I just feel like it all sort of compliments and bleeds together. So much, you know?

Andrea Sikkink: Oh yeah. Oh yeah,

Heather Newman: And you also being an educator, you taught for a really long time.

Andrea Sikkink: Yeah, and half of teaching is acting, right?

Heather Newman: Yeah. Completely.

Andrea Sikkink: And faking it, the entire way. Fake it till you make it.

Heather Newman: I always say smoke and mirrors.

Andrea Sikkink: Exactly. And that does definitely translate through for acting because you memorize things and you present your knowledge to the kids in a way that they'll pay attention to and that's half acting. And the art side, you, especially nowadays you're a personality. Look at any of the famous artists like Wyland you put on a show.

Heather Newman: I agree. Yeah. What do you think about sort of the dawn of social media and art and being an artist? So it's like, like I want to do my art and, and all of that. But then it's like to get people to pay attention to it or to buy it, and to, you've found that there's more time…

Andrea Sikkink: The days of being Van Gogh and cranking out 15 paintings, while no one bothers you and enjoying your absinth, they're gone. They're gone!

Heather Newman: I wish I could've enjoyed my absinth today, but I have to go tweet and get on Instagram.

Andrea Sikkink: I had to get out two Instagram posts. And it's true though, right? It's totally true. It is a balance. And luckily my kids help me with some of that because they're like, the kids aren't on Facebook. Mom, you're wasting your time. Spending time on Facebook, go to Instagram, push it over to Facebook if you want. So, paying attention to that younger generation is huge. And then also knowing what advice to take and not take because Snapchat, I am not going to paint on Snapchat. It's not happening. And then it goes away. So why did you spend the time? If it's just going to go away.

Heather Newman: I mean, I send certain people in my life bunny videos. The filters, you know where I'm like…

Andrea Sikkink: The filters are cool. And there are some artists who are fantastic at using it. I would have to say Chris Pratt as far as actors is my favorite. The man knows how to use it and he knows how to speak to the next generation.

Heather Newman: Yeah, he does.

Andrea Sikkink: He's right in the middle of, he's still hip enough for the young kids. And there's some artists who really know how to do it. There's one guy in California that I follow, I think his handle is @Crayola. Started out being a tagger, graffiti art, does amazing stuff. It gives you ideas and artists learn from each other, hopefully not copy each other.

Heather Newman: Yeah. Right, right. That's awesome. Well, cool. So I think you're amazing and it's always good to see you. I was like, oh, I want to get you on the podcast to talk about your cool life. I was just telling my mom and dad, "You gotta watch Hawaii Five-0", because that's one of their shows, and they're like, "Wait a minute, your friend is on it?" and I was like, yes.

Andrea Sikkink: I know, I have to make an IMDB page. There's like credits up there, but I don't have a photo or anything and my kids are like, “Mom, why are you so blasé about this?” I'm like, I need to do that.

Heather Newman: That's awesome. All right. So, for people to get ahold of you and look at your beautiful art tell everybody your handle.

Andrea Sikkink: They can look up my website on As You Wish Arts. And that literally came about because of my initials. I signed everything AS and they'd be like, as what? And I'm a Princess Bride freak and then I can tell if they're my people or not if they go "Oh my God, Princess Bride!" If they don't get that then I just sort of let it go because they'll think I'm weird. But that's where that came from. Unfortunately, when I went to grab, As You Wish on Instagram, someone already had it. So I'm @asyouwishartist. So we've kind of just gone crazy with that whole as you wish thing. It's helped me because now I can tell people I can make whatever you want. I can make it "as you wish". And it's been fun.

Heather Newman: You're a SAG actor. What is your official name on screen?

Andrea Sikkink: My actor's name is Andrea Elizabeth Sikkink. Stuck with that.

Heather Newman: Well sometimes you've got to do the three name dealio.

Andrea Sikkink: Correct and my mother was an actress and she took a different name, but I kind of wanted to honor my husband and the family. My daughter however, who acted with me, has a completely different name. So she is M. Jenna Rose. Yeah. So, on the credits when it ran, everyone's like, “Oh, they didn't use your daughter after all.” I'm like, no…

Heather Newman: She's right there.

Andrea Sikkink: That's her. She just wanted nothing to do with the Sikkink thing.

Heather Newman: I didn't realize your mom was an actor.

Andrea Sikkink: My mom was an actor back in the fifties but had to stop. In those days it wasn't okay for a woman to do that once they were married. So she worked at a radio station. She did acting and then. Yeah, I remember her boss basically told her, "Yeah, now that you're married we'll fill your job".

Heather Newman: My how far we've come.

Andrea Sikkink: Yes. So glad we've progressed beyond that. It's awesome because my husband was in radio and so they tell stories. My dad was in TV and basically swore we were not allowed to do any of the above. So, I marry a DJ, I act on TV, and I'm an artist. You're welcome dad.

Heather Newman: You are defiant five ways to Sunday, which is awesome!

Andrea Sikkink: But he loves it. And the day I got the speaking part on Five-0 my mom sent me a picture. He’s not media savvy, but she sent me a picture of him at the table when she told them that she's going to have credits and a big smile on his almost ninety-year-old face.

Heather Newman: That's amazing! How cool.

Andrea Sikkink: Well thank you.

Heather Newman: What we want to do is make our parents proud, right?

Andrea Sikkink: Yeah. Well, and just to enjoy life and not be afraid to try stuff. I think that's the thing we found when we came to Hawaii it’s like you start looking at things different. If you leave that comfort zone where you grew up and go, wait, there's this possibility and this possibility. And then I met people and like five years later I find out you're the aunt of Bruno Mars? And you go, wow, but it's so awesome because you didn't have that in the way. You were friends for how long, you know? And, and then like with the Chris Pratt thing, I didn't know who he was, I just had a conversation about, oh, I've got to make sure I get out of here to get my kid after school. And he's like, totally cool, thinking, wow, this lady has no clue who I am.

Heather Newman: When you're working with people with celebrities, you know and dealing with that, it's like at the end of the day everybody's human. Everybody has to deal with their children or spouse and they eat and whatever, you know. And like, yes, do people do amazing things? Absolutely. But, you know, at the end of the day, just having a normal conversation with somebody about whatever is what most of us just want.

Andrea Sikkink: Right. And those friendships that you make, you know, the friends I made through SharePoint, the friends I've made through acting, the friends I've made through the art community, I have this incredible network of talented people that I know and instead of comparing and feeling like I'm inferior, I go, wow, they tried that, I'm going to try it, you know, and it opens up everything that you maybe didn't think that you were any good at, and you find out what you're not. I suck at golf. I'll never be good at golf, but I'm okay with that.

Heather Newman: It's totally okay.

Andrea Sikkink: It's not going to make me sad. It's all right.

Heather Newman: You're sort of, you're the compilation of the five people you spend the most time with. Right? And so, I think like, I loved growing up in the Midwest, I left the Midwest. I've been on the west coast ever since and I sort of traveled all around the world and all that stuff. And I really, I love people who push me and inspire me. Like I love watching you do what you do. It's super inspiring. And that's why I love talking to people on this podcast. I feel so blessed. My friends are amazing! Why not talk to them about their lives, right?

Andrea Sikkink: Exactly. I think it's awesome what you're doing. And I think with all the advances of how small the world can be with technology, that should be our focus, is how can we help each other and improve each other's lives versus comparing to each other versus going, oh, I'm not as good as this person. Instead like, wow, I could try that, or I can do this, you know?

Heather Newman: Or share what we're doing and how we're doing it. It's like, you know what, I bought this thing and I hit record and I stick it in somebody's face and be like "Let's talk about stuff."

Andrea Sikkink: I don't even know what that is.

Heather Newman: We've had some screaming babies and we've had a few cars go by, but I'm like, you know what?

Andrea Sikkink: That was some good music.

Heather Newman: That was some good music. That car was kind of cool too. At the same time I'm like, yes, should it be all professional? But then it doesn't come out. And I'm like…

Andrea Sikkink: It's so real. And then other people want to hear it.

Heather Newman: Yeah. I think so, I hope so.

Andrea Sikkink: Yeah. And I think it doesn't have to be Hawaii. It can be anywhere that you end up just plant those roots and try stuff and connect with people and yeah.

Heather Newman: That's awesome. Alright. Ms. Thing.

Andrea Sikkink: Thank you! Ms. As You Wish.

Heather Newman: Ms. As You Wish.

Andrea Sikkink: And he's coming. Carrie Elwes is coming again. He was here last summer for a comic con. I went to the comic con. My husband was promoting a movie that he was in, so I had to work the booth. I never got to see Carrie Elwes. Literally like across the hall from him. But he will be here, I think it's the end of July.

Heather Newman: That needs to happen.

Andrea Sikkink: I need to give him my card. As You Wish with the turtle on it.

Heather Newman: Yes. All right. I'm going to close this out. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Andrea Sikkink: Thank you, I appreciate it.

Heather Newman: Alright, I'm going to turn the button.

Andrea Sikkink: Go. Aloha!

Heather Newman

Creative Maven, 8710 Graton Road, Sebastopol. CA 95472, United States

Heather Newman is an award-winning marketing maven, technology entrepreneur and an epic connector that brings many worlds together. She has extensive experience marketing products and services for Enterprise businesses, startups and emerging markets. Heather builds plans and processes that are nimble, human and different. She is an adept storyteller and is passionate about growth for both employees and the corporate bottom-line. Heather hails from the arts and the bulk of her career has been working with the largest technology companies in the world (Microsoft, Google, Amazon, NetApp, Hewlett Packard, and Dell). Her nineteen years of experience working at technology companies and building global high-tech marketing strategy has driven millions of dollars of revenue and multiple award-winning campaigns. She has led global marketing teams for many technology companies including AvePoint, IT Unity & KnowledgeLake. Heather was a part of the original Microsoft SharePoint Marketing team. During her tenure, she helped launch multiple versions of the product, build the SharePoint Partner Ecosystem and conceived of and produced the first three Microsoft SharePoint Conferences. Creative Maven has produced thousands of global marketing campaigns and events. Currently CM is focusing on go to market strategies for Microsoft and its partners as well as a new site sister site launching in 2015 called Marketingfixer.com. Heather also serves as Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Content Panda, an innovative technology startup looking to actively disrupt how content is delivered inside software.