Andy Friedman is a visual artist, musician, illustrator, performance poet, writer, and cartoonist. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Born in 1975 in East Meadow, New York, on Long Island, Friedman graduated with a B.F.A. in painting from The Rhode Island School of Design in 1997. He began working as an assistant in the editorial department at The New Yorker in 1998. The position was facilitated with the help of his mentor and former RISD painting professor Richard Merkin, a contributor of art to that, as well as many other magazines. Friedman received his first editorial illustration assignment from The New Yorker in 1999, and sold his first single-panel gag cartoon to the same magazine the following year. He signed his illustrative work under his own name, but used the pseudonym Larry Hat for his humorous drawings.
Friedman's career as a touring artist began In 2002, following the publication of his debut collection of pencil drawings, Polaroid photographs, and poetry called Drawings & Other Failures on his own City Salvage Records label. To support its release, Friedman left his job as the assistant to Robert Mankoff—the Cartoon Editor of The New Yorker—and embarked on a tour that brought projections of the images from his book together with readings of his blues-inspired poetry and storytelling onstage. Averaging a hundred shows annually over the next three years, Friedman brought his "Slideshow Poetry" to music clubs, colleges, art museum theaters, and bars to nearly every state in the nation. His second book of art and poetry, Future Blues, was published in 2004.
In 2006, Friedman transitioned from performance-poet to singer-songwriter. His debut collection of original songs, Taken Man, was recorded less than a year after the artist picked up the guitar and learned to sing for the first time in his life. The title track found its way onto a New York Post "Best Songs of 2007" list that included tunes by Bruce Springsteen, Amy Winehouse, Neil Young, and The National. As a musician, Friedman continued his relentless touring while meeting the demands of an illustration career that saw his work published in magazines, newspapers, and literary journals around the globe—The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Esquire, GQ, New York, The Atlantic, TIME, Newsweek, The New Republic, The Paris Review, Golf Digest, Marie Claire, Japan's Asahi Shimbun Globe, Canada's Globe & Mail, and The Times of London among them. He fulfilled many of his illustration deadlines from hotel rooms while on tour in support of his music.
Friedman released and toured behind two more critically lauded albums, 2009’s Weary Things and 2011’s Laserbeams and Dreams. In 2012, Friedman removed himself from the road to begin work on a collection of essays and illustrations about his travels.