Actor and artist Jeremy Palko talks The Walking Dead and his artwork

Tom Payne as Jesus, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, and Jeremy Palko as Andy - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Tom Payne as Jesus, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, and Jeremy Palko as Andy - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

The Walking Dead has had its fair share of memorable characters — for better and for worse. One such memorable character was Andy, played by actor and artist Jeremy Palko.

Andy was a member of The Hilltop appearing in season 6, alongside Jesus, who first mentions Negan to Rick and the group. Outside of The Walking Dead, Mr. Palko has starred in the TV series Bloodline and, more recently, Ruthless.

When the pandemic put the world on hold, Mr. Palko took to painting and has since been selling his one-of-a-kind artwork. I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Palko about his experience on The Walking Dead, how his passion for painting began, and got a little intel on his most recent TV role.

Q: In The Walking Dead, you played a character named Andy from The Hilltop. How did it feel to be joining such an influential TV series? Did Andy have a backstory?

A: What an honor it was to be a part of this amazing and influential show! It has never been lost on me how cool and fortunate I am as an actor to have been given such an opportunity. Playing Andy was such an amazing experience. There wasn’t a whole lot of info on the character, but it was easy to establish, and make up, a general back story seeing how established everyone was in the Hilltop community.

Q: Unfortunately, your character is killed by The Saviors during the iconic attack on a Savior outpost. Were you aware of Andy’s fate since being cast, or did you find out later on?

A: Like most actors on the show, we waited each week to find out the fate of our characters. I remember receiving the call from Scott Gimple and immediately thinking, “Oh, here we go…” and sure enough, I was given the news that Andy would meet his demise in the Savior’s outpost. A bummer for sure, but how cool is it that the producer calls you personally to thank you for your work?! Never heard of that. It was also cool to see the character Andy begin and end at the Savior’s complex.

Q: What direction did you want to see Andy’s path going in?

A: In a word: alive! As an actor, you would really prefer to keep working. But joking aside, I really was hoping Andy would become more of a prominent character in the Hilltop. But as Andy survived three seasons in a zombie apocalypse, there really is nothing to complain about. Very grateful.

Q: What was the overall experience like during filming of The Walking Dead?

A: Working on The Walking Dead was unlike any experience I have had as an actor so far. Most times, when you’re on set, you are there for a short while, and then you go home. With The Walking Dead, the idea [of] family is real. Everyone on set, from the bigwigs on down, treated everyone with professionalism and with a sense of family. I’ve heard that word a lot used. But it is absolutely true — The Walking Dead is one giant family.

Q: Recently, you have been playing Deputy Billy Poke in the TV series Ruthless. What can you tell us about your role and the television show for those who are unfamiliar?

A: Working with Tyler Perry was always a bucket list item of mine. And during the quarantine, I was cast as Deputy Billy Poke in Tyler Perry’s Ruthless. Working with Tyler Perry has always been a bucket list item of mine. I just finished season two, and what a unique experience that was. We shot during quarantine, which meant we had to shoot on location at Tyler Perry Studios for two weeks in a bubble. It was like an acting boot camp. So much fun and so challenging at the same time. We all stayed on the studio lot for two weeks while filming.

Q: What would you say is one of the biggest differences between filming a movie and a television show?

A: Personally, I have not found too much of a difference when it comes to preparation for the roles. Usually, the only difference is the amount of time you are needed. Movies tend to shoot within a specific amount of time, while television shows can go on for years, as is the case in The Walking Dead.

Q: You have recently become quite the artist, sharing and selling your artwork. What can you tell us about your paintings? How did all of this begin?

A: Such a unique time we are living in. During quarantine last year, I picked up a paintbrush for the first time. Little did I know that it would become such a passion! After selling my first painting, I used the money to go to Michael’s and buy a bunch of art supplies. It has truly taken over my life and has become something I never knew I loved. I paint pretty much every day. I began selling my artwork on my website ArtByPalko.Square.Site and have just recently discovered the weird world of NFTs. Painting has been such a fun journey — I would recommend to anyone looking for a new hobby to try painting. I believe there is absolutely no wrong way to do it, and you’ll find out so much about yourself in the process. It truly is an amazing and creative way [to] stay inspired as an actor or artist, in my opinion.

Q: Do you have a specific art style? Which artists inspire you?

A: I never plan anything out when I paint. I just go and see what shows up on the canvas. I get inspired daily by different things, ideas, and people. It can be simple things, or it can be worldly things that inspire anyone. I just try to focus on what I am feeling or thinking about that day and see what comes out of it.

Q: Do you have plans to present your artwork to an art show?

A: This past year, I was lucky enough to be accepted into a handful of art shows. It was such a cool experience having people look at my work. As an actor, you’re always presenting someone else’s ideas through their words. With art, it truly is a representation of me — my thoughts, my ideas, my views being put on canvas. It is a very vulnerable experience, but I’ve been very thrilled to see the positivity that it can bring to people, and the support people have shown means so much to me. Truly humbled.

Q: You have been able to connect with fans through convention and charity appearances, including Rhode Island Comic Con and The Camp Marimac Charity Bash. What upcoming appearances will you be making this year?

A: I absolutely love attending Comic Cons and meeting people. Getting to talk about acting and my artwork with people has been an experience I absolutely love and look forward to.  The pandemic has put a lot of the Comic Cons on hold, unfortunately.  But we’ll just have to see what happens. Like many people, I am so ready to get back out there traveling!

Q:  Do you have a favorite experience or memory from a convention or charity event appearance?

A: Where to begin?! There are so many great memories that it is impossible to name one. I do, however, remember the very first time I did a panel on stage. I was so incredibly nervous! There were about 2,000 people in the room. But luckily, I was on stage with a few cast members, including Scott Wilson. What an amazing human being. I remember meeting him for the first time and talking with him before we went out on stage. He was the kindest, funniest, and most graceful “famous person” I had ever met. Calmed me down without even trying. The 2,000 screaming fans were also pretty cool and mind-blowing, by the way.

Q: What projects, whether it be film, TV, or something else, do you have coming up in the near future?

A: I just wrapped on a TV show called Tales which will be airing on BET soon. Other than that, painting as much as possible as well as auditioning for some pretty cool projects. Fingers crossed!

Next. Callan McAuliffe talks The Walking Dead and future projects. dark

Would you have liked to have seen Andy survive on The Walking Dead? Comment your answers below!

The Walking Dead season 11 returns February 20, 2022.