Interview with Amy Sol for upcoming exhibition “Garden Gamine”

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Thinkspace Gallery is proud to present Amy Sol’s latest body of work with her solo exhibition “Garden Gamine.” In anticipation of the show we have an exclusive interview with Amy Sol sharing with us her inspiration, love of nature, and creative process.

Do your characters possess a complete narrative or are they suspended in the moment we see?
There is rarely a narrative in place when I start a new painting. It’s more fun to build a story or setting around the first spark of idea. But I’d say it’s closer to being a suspended moment. Often, I like to capture something mid-moment, where you can imagine a before and after. I really try more to hone in on a feeling, but loosely enough to be interpreted.

Walk us through what a day in the studio looks like?
When I’m prepping a body of work I tend to, for better or worse, compartmentalize my life to an extreme. I have to do this in order to have the energy and time to create. My life bar is not very strong, so I have to use it wisely. That involves having to isolate myself a bit… so less internet, e-mails and interaction in general. If I’m lucky, it is just me in a room, with plants, my dog, coffee, lots of decent listening material, and a block of time to paint and do nothing else.

Amy Sol Garden Gamine

What was playing in the background while you were working on this exhibition?
Everything. I consume tons of music, audiobooks etc. I’ve been more into podcasts lately. Especially if it’s focused on science, nature, or personal story telling. I just found an art podcast called Artist Decoded— the episode with Phil Hale is so good, I listened to it twice. I’ve had to paint thru headaches at times and oddly found asmr tapping videos to help. They got kind of addicting, so now if I’m feeling wound up I’ll actually listen to that stuff with headphones for hours sometimes.

What do you feel is the biggest misconception about being an artist?
mmm, I guess that it’s easy and all fun and no sacrifices need to be made if you choose to do it for a living. but no one actually thinks that… right? ;-P

It takes time to for an artist to develop their voice and style, then once they have defined who they are as an artist they must continue to push and grow without losing their voice. Having been in the post-contemporary world for nearly 10 years now, how do you push yourself to grow and experiment while still maintaining your unique style?
Experimenting with mediums is the phase I am in right now, I just started using oil a year ago. It is a huge challenge for me, and I feel it’s good because there are so many possibilities to be explored. My biggest rule is to trust my instinct, if I get a new idea, I try it out. I can’t put much energy into thinking where it will all lead to and how it might change me. I just try it, and if it doesn’t work I can paint over it. If I am excited to paint and getting something out of it, I feel I’m on the right path. Being in that mindset isn’t always as easy as it sounds but it’s what I aim for.

Amy Sol Garden Gamine 2

What’s your spirit animal?
A miniature panda! It reminds me to eat veggies and not take myself too seriously.

You use a lot of organic elements and imagery in your work, do you have a favorite garden or park you like to retreat to?
If I am ever visiting a city, I always check out the gardens or nature spaces. I love looking at plants. Even if there is one tree outside my window, it’s good enough. Looking at plants is really important to my well-being. I don’t know the mechanism behind this, but it works. A simple shape of a leaf or lines of a branch can communicate so much within a painting, it’s a big part of my visual language.

Amy Sol Garden Gamine 3

You’ve stated the Ghibli studio is a major inspiration, have you seen the documentary “The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness”?
Yes, I really love that documentary! It’s beautiful. Animation was a huge early influence towards the look and feel of my work now. Classic disney films played a big role in that too. As a kid I would pause the VHS tapes of Sleeping Beauty and Bambi and try to draw the forest backgrounds.

If you could live in a Miyazaki film for a day, which one would it be?
That’s a tuff one to choose, but I’d have to say Castle in the Sky and it would have to be on Laputa of course.

Amy Sol 4

The opening reception for Amy Sol’s “Garden Garmine” is this Saturday, April 2nd. For more information on the exhibition please visit the Thinkspace Gallery website.

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