About Andy

Andy ShieldI have known Andy Shield for nearly thirty years. When I met him, I was a newbie designer and he was a business man with a thick, Virginia accent. He’d come and sit in my studio while I worked on his marketing pieces. He was always polite and gracious, and if I poked him enough, I could get him to talk. Over time, I found out he was really interesting, and told a great story.

For instance, to earn money in college, he sold and delivered birthday cakes to co-eds at a nearby woman’s college. He gave that up to be a bootlegger and made $8,000 one semester.

Andy likes to say he “had a fling” with a Playboy Playmate of the Month. In fact, he was introduced to her by her mother, a wonderful lady who worked for Andy for years in Florida. His company was gearing up for a big week-long trade show in Los Angeles and he wanted a “show stopper.” (This was one of many, many, many ideas he’d call me with at the crack of dawn.) A Playmate was just the ticket! he worked to convince me. But Playboy had to give their permission.

Of course, they said no, and I thought that was the end of it. I don’t know how he did it, but three weeks later he had his “yes.” He spent a lot of time with her and her mom, getting ready for the show. I produced all the double entendre literature Andy wrote, as well as his show follow up campaign, and off he went. All I heard back was, it was a hugely successful campaign, and Andy, Mom, and Playmate went over to the Playboy mansion late one afternoon for what he recalled as “a unique visit.”

Andy has hunted and fished throughout the continental United States as well as Alaska, Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Botswana, Canada, Columbia, Mexico, Namibia, Nicaragua, South Africa, Spain and Uruguay. He has canoed rivers in the east and western states, walked creek bottoms and climbed mountains (though, he claims, not really big mountains). He learned to tie flies from a cousin at an early age, once destroying one of his mother’s hats for feathers.

To enhance his bird hunting, he bred, raised and trained English Setters for thirty years, always having five or six females (he could always get stud dogs, he brags). Their ages are staggered, with a litter of pups every other year. No dummy, this man. (He has an MBA from Cornell.) He said when his dogs got invited to lots of places to hunt, he got to go along with them.

He has ridden horses since childhood — show horses, fox hunting horses, steeplechase race horses and packed horses into the Canadian wilderness.

Andy learned to snow ski on wooden skies at age 22 — much harder than learning as a kid — and has skied in most eastern and western states as well as in Argentina and Europe. He recently spent a month skiing in Wyoming.
He has been to all fifty states. By his rules, a “state visit” requires a minimum of a four-day stay to count. He asked his three children to, sometime in their life, drive across America, coast to coast. He told them it was the only way to see its diversity and its greatness. They all have done it.

He got asked to do some modeling once, and ended up on seven pages of Seventeen magazine (September 1962 issue). He remembers the photographer as a “neat French character” and that exposure to professional photography festered in his mind. Someday, he promised himself, he would buy a good camera. Forty six years later, he did, and took it outside.
I’ve long since learned that Andy is curious enough, and energetic enough, and just plain crazy enough to do anything he sets his mind to. So I wasn’t all that surprised when he showed up at my studio one day to “show me some pictures.” But he wouldn’t just let me flip through the folder. He had these double entendre titles, hand-written on a sheet of paper, that he’d make me read before I could turn it over and see each photograph. I was impressed. For one thing, Andy doesn’t know a thing about computers, and here he was with a pocket full of media cards and a serious digital SLR that he’d taught himself how to use. The photos were great. And the stories of what he had to go through to get them, or what the light did on that particular morning…well, just more of the interesting tales I’ve come expect from this incredibly neat man.
I suggested that we do a book of them. I’m pretty sure the notion had already crossed his mind, but he’s humble enough that he likely wouldn’t have gone there unprodded.

I asked him recently, in a quiet moment, what his life has meant to him. He hesitated, smiled slightly and said, “I have learned to see.” He means it, too.

Andy’s son summed him up well when he wrote about his father, “He has a farmer’s heart and an Ivy League brain.”
I’d like to add, “and the spirit of an artist.”

— Lisa Cumbey
Art director