Andrew was born in Redruth, Cornwall, one of the few internationally recognised artists to begin their lives within the county. From 1954-58 he studied at the Falmouth School of Art before attending the Slade School, London the following year. In 1959 he travelled to France and Italy, before returning to London, and then took up a Visiting Artist post with the Portsmouth College of Art. From 1962 through 1970 David lived in Bournemouth, where he was Visiting Artist at both Bournemouth College of Art and Portsmouth College of Art. 

In 1971 he moved to Canada where he set up the Printmaking Department at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, over a three year period before transferring to the Painting Department.  Since 1977 he has lived mainly in Cornwall, with breaks of a year each in Crete and  California, and a 10 year period back in Canada with summer visits for painting around Europe and the coasts of USA and Canada - often in a mobile studio 'converted from a recreational vehicle'. In his own words, he sees 'painting as a way of testing speculations about nature against the touchstone of artistic form...posing questions in colour and shape.' His paintings 'embrace both "thinking" and "sensing" (i.e. making sense)' of the visual.

David Andrew is married to Sally Fleetwood, and works from their home studios in Mousehole.