November 1, 2012 - Temecula, CA – On October 4th, 2012, artist Andy Lakey passed away at the age of 52. A self-taught artist who painted prolifically, Lakey created over 10,000 documented works of art in a 22-year span. He was best known for inspiring many thousands of collectors and fans with his paintings of angels, after receiving a vision during a near-death experience. Through this event, he created art that would bring joy to people who were in ill health or looking for meaning in their lives.
When artist Andy Lakey first picked up a paintbrush in 1986, he did not realize the journey that this newly-forged career in art would take him upon. Lakey went abruptly from being a car salesman by day, to what was referred to in many circles as a "millennium artist", when he began to paint an artistic cycle of 2000 separate angel paintings, in the narrow span of only ten years. The subtext of his painting career was one of unconditional love shared with the world by the angels, which he represented in all of these paintings, and which soon found their way into homes, galleries, institutions and places of business all around the world.
By his late twenties, Lakey was working in auto sales, but in his personal life he had succumbed to substance abuse and in 1986, he suffered a near-fatal drug overdose during a New Year's Eve party. Lakey quit cocaine "cold turkey" and replaced drugs with drawing pictures from his experience, in which he vividly recalled angels coming to his rescue. Later, Lakey was able to recall this elaborate vision, and began to draw from his experience, perfecting the iconic "angel" form which soon became an emblem in many of his paintings after 1990.
Lakey's first major exhibition was in Beverly Hills in 1997. Throughout the 1990s, he donated many of the works to charities, and many of which have become part of private collections. Lakey's art studio claims that he presently has over 30,000 collectors worldwide, including celebrities and notable people such as Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Pope John Paul II, Ed Asner, Kelsey Grammer, Jimmy Carter, Gerald & Betty Ford, Prince Albert of Monaco and others. Since these early beginnings, many of Lakey's collectors have also become the subjects of a series of his portraits – works based on his tracings by projection of their heads and hands – a collection Lakey titled "Silhouettes and Shadows," and which he continued until the time of his death. After 2000, Lakey continued to do commissioned works in mixed media on wood and also painted other collections, most notably a collection of heart paintings, as well as portraits and many abstracts.
This newfound passion for art did not come without a cost. In 1999, Lakey began to suffer chronic health issues, which resulted in multiple sinus surgeries. Until the end of his life, Lakey painted, but at times, wore protective gear for health reasons. On October 4th, 2012, the artist passed away in his home. He left a wife and two daughters, and two stepdaughters, one of whom worked directly as his painting assistant for 15 years, while she learned the finer nuances of his elaborate painting techniques and original methods.