Christmas cover profile: Local artist, musician Andy Chase Cundiff singing God’s praises on holiest of days

The Nativity scene, imagery, symbolism, heavenly angels and light — all inspirations for well-known local artist, musician and personality Andy Chase Cundiff when designing and creating the artwork in today’s Amarillo Globe-News Christmas edition.

 

“I’m really honored to do a Christmas cover,” Cundiff said of being chosen as this year’s featured artist.

“The imagery of the angels over the manger in the form of the seraphim taken from the Old Testament” and “the winged creatures circling around God’s throne singing his praises 24/7” were an inspiration for the piece, Cundiff said.

“That’s a real strong image to me as a Christian.”

A man of many talents, Cundiff shared his artistic gifts and his thoughts and feelings about Christmas.

“It’s primarily the advent of God’s son here on Earth. Salvation is extended to everyone,” he said. “God leveled the playing field, offering salvation to Albert Einstein on one end and Andy Chase on the other end.

“The same opportunity for kings and beggars; one of the reasons I love Christmas so much.”

Married to wife Danielle and father to adult children Jessi and Isaac, Cundiff said he also loves “the closeness of family, a few days to unplug.

“Remembering and focusing on the eternal and not the temporary — I think that’s what I like most about Christmas.”

Cundiff also said he loves the Amarillo community.

“Amarillo has been great to me; for someone who rode in here on a head of cabbage in 1990 to do radio; I fell in love with Amarillo,” he said. “It’s the people … there are no finer people anywhere.”

Cundiff is a transplant from Clovis, N.M., who started the beginning of his Amarillo career at KATP doing the morning show.

When the timing was right and his interests were piqued, a radio career transitioned into a music career and, additionally, a continued exploration of Cundiff’s visual art talents that had initially been tapped when he was a college student.

According to Cundiff, his colorful Route 66 paintings have been very popular with fans.

And his many commissioned illustrations and cartoons?

“No telling what illustration you’ll get if you commission one from me,” he said.

Cundiff does a lot of acrylic painting, but works with a variety of mediums, including watercolor and various drawing implements.

Color and images from childhood are major influences in the pieces he creates. He also said the late Ann Crouch, an artist and the founder of The Galleries at Sunset Center, became a mentor to him years ago when he found himself becoming less inspired as an artist.

Crouch noticed Cundiff was using a lot of black and white in his pieces, so she offered some advice.

“You need to get into color and pretend like you are a kid again,” she told Cundiff. “As soon as you feel the joy when playing around with color as you first did, you will discover yourself as an artist again.”

It worked, and now residents can usually find Cundiff’s colorful and imaginative art selections hanging on the walls of friend David Corbin’s studio, Art Gecko Gallery inside Sunset Center. Cundiff said Corbin is “a great artist as well.”

In his other major artistic venture, country, blues and Texas rock are all sounds with which Cundiff paints.

“It’s hard to categorize myself,” he said. “They (the songs) kind of come out the way they come out. I’m not really tied down to a genre yet.”

Cundiff said as long as his fans aren’t expecting a particular type of music, then he can “experiment with it a little bit longer.”

Fans can find Cundiff playing local solo gigs regularly, nearly weekly, at venues such as 575 Pizzeria, Spicy Mike’s Bar-B-Q Haven, Leal’s Mexican Restaurant and Napoli’s. He also plays gigs with his band Andy Chase and Friends and participates in special events with other local musicians.

“It’s incredible what a great music scene we have here. I’m proud to be a part of that,” Cundiff said. “We have a bunch of different great musicians here.”

Cundiff has recorded several of his own albums and worked as a producer, studio musician and co-writer on many other musicians’ albums.

“I started working in the studio a long time ago,” he said.

Cundiff is particularly proud of “Keep the Light Alive — Celebrating the Music of Lowen &Navarro,” an album he and other friends of the late Eric Lowen put together for the musician who died from complications of ALS.

Lowen was half of the successful 20-year songwriting team of Lowen &Navarro, known for such hits as “We Belong,” one that Cundiff says can be heard as background music on about “every commercial” on television these days.

Proceeds from the album benefit ALS research and, according to Cundiff, many famous musical artists and groups contributed to the “Keep the Light Alive” project, including the Bangles, Jackson Brown and other West Coast residents.

Cundiff’s cut on the record is “You Stay on My Mind.”

And what’s on Cundiff’s mind this Christmas is his faith.

“The focal point of God’s love here on Earth is Jesus,” he said. “The Bible says he is the light of the world.”

More