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Happiness Followed Her

Where are you from originally and where do you live now?

I'm from Oregon (Portland and Eugene) but am currently living in Madison, Wisconsin while my husband completes a PhD program. Next year we'll be moving again, no ideas where yet, it's a bit of an adventure.

The artist's studio.

What is your background as an artist?

My parents are ceramics artists who sell their work at arts and crafts fairs around the country so I grew up surrounded by art and knew that it was what I wanted to do from a very early age. I received my BA in fine arts from the University of Oregon in 2000, spent a month in Siena, Italy studying watercolor on a study abroad program and a summer at the Chautaqua Institution in Chatauqua, New York studying painting and print making.

How and when did you start sharing and selling your art online?

I had a website starting around 2002 but it was late 2006 when I really started to make online a part of my business and started a blog, began uploading almost everything I do onto flickr, and opened my etsy shop.

A floral by the artist

Tell us a bit about this series.

By painting something you give it importance, you make it into a symbol and people will see meaning in it regardless of intention of the artist. Superstition is that same idea but with life - if you're looking for it everything can be interpreted to have a deeper meaning and consequence. I'm interested in the parallels between that search for meaning in art through symbolism and the search for meaning in life through superstition. This series focuses on six themes that come up again and again in superstitions - love, wisdom, safety, happiness, luck and the future - and takes superstitions and symbolism from different times and cultures to create images full of meaning. That meaning is what causes the viewer to build an emotional connection with a painting, which to me is always the goal of my work.

 

 

Do you work from any inspiration material?

I have a collection of books on symbolism and superstition and several sets of encyclopedias from the 1920's to the 1960's that I reference when planning paintings. I also have a large collection of antique family photos I collect off ebay that I occasionally look through for inspiration. When actually painting except for the occasional browsing of google images if for example there is a specific flower I need an image of I work from my imagination.

 

She Was Always Safe

Your paintings have a wistful, kind of magical quality to them. How would you describe that special quality?

I work to achieve a balance of familiar/other-worldly, pretty/dark and specific/vague in order to create an image that people will both relate to and want to know more about. I think it's primarily the tension within the pretty/dark dichotomy that creates the sort of wistful feel. My paintings may be mostly of pretty girls in party dresses but they are also generally in these situations that could go horribly wrong such as standing on cliffs with wings made of nothing but twigs, ribbons and pieces of paper - this pretty darkness is the stuff of fairytales and childhood and what I hope creates a feeling of nostalgia, melancholy and magic.

Amanda's website and blog.

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