Interview with Amy Sol for NEXUS III at The Brand Library & Art Center

Technically self-taught, Amy Sol has spent many years perfecting her own mixed pigments and materials. Known for a distinctive palette with a subtle ghostly cast, her compositions possess poetically measured images that invoke melancholic pause in spite of their idyllic beauty and calm, feeling at times like the magic of fairytale tempered by the ambivalence of the adult.

What was the inspiration behind the body of work that will be showing at the Brand Library & Art Center?

I painted these works over the summertime of 2020 during the pandemic. I approached these pieces as a form of meditation & introspective peace I was searching for at  the time. The portraits for instance, are focused on medicinal plants I had as reference in my studio with a very limited colored palette. This allowed my mind to wander and relax a bit while I got lost in the small details. I had to look inwards to find calm during times when I could not find it in the outside world. It was my goal to communicate this with each of the paintings. 

Do you have any pre-studio rituals that help you get into a creative flow?

I always drink tea and try to go on a walk before I work. I’m lucky to live in a pretty beautiful area where there are abundant trees and plantlife to look at. 

It’s was a challenge to stay free of distractions during some of the stranger times this year. I found that if I went straight to work and stayed away from my phone a bit, it helped me maintain a flow state necessary to paint. 

When you were working on this body of work, what were you listening to in the background? 

I listened to a lot of new music I found online, I really enjoyed instrumental lo fi and wavy music playlists just to have going in the background. I spent more time with my windows open just hearing bird sounds as well. I have a broad taste in music, it just depends on the mood and vibe of the moment!! 

When I start sketching, I definitely go for music to help with the creative flow. As things start to get technical and tedious I’ll put on an audio book or podcast to keep myself entertained. 

Is there an artist or piece of work that has made a significant impact on you? 

Many many, but off the top of my head I saw some Eyvind Earle originals at an art fair while I was a teenager. These works definitely sparked something in me and kind of woke me up to the possibilities. 

Has that work influenced your own artistic voice/style? 

Sure, I do think his work inspired me to explore and experiment to find a way to uniquely communicate my love of nature. I also loved animation and his art was a sort of bridge from illustration to painting mixed with a strong visual language he made his own, I found all of that intriguing and inspiring. 

What piece challenged you most in this body of work, and why?

I think the painting Biome was a challenge to paint because I was trying to express a very strong feeling I was dealing with. It was challenging to synthesize this feeling into one simple and emotionally nuanced portrait but that was my goal.  

This piece started when I was experiencing some old emotions stirring up from my past trauma dealing with severe pneumonia. That trauma sort of re awakened because of this pandemic. This feeling blended into a concept, the reality of interconnectedness of humans and nature and the need to recognize vulnerability as awareness not weakness. 

I started off sketching mycelium-like forms to represent the lungs of the subject. The salamander is a symbol of vulnerability & vitality. I choose an Amphibian because they are sensitive creatures being both land and water borne. Because of this, they are considered accurate indicators of the health of the environment they dwell in.

Her floating head in the darkness sort of reflects this idea that because our minds & egos are all encompassing to our own human experiences, we sometimes forget how interconnected we are to other living things. 

This piece really helped me put some closure on my past experiences & navigate some unresolved emotions. 

What do you think will be said about the New Contemporary Art Movement in 100 years?

I hope it will be looked back upon as a time of positive & progressive transformation in the psyche of humans and our push towards a better future. Many artists make art to send messages about what we care about & we communicate what matters most to humanity across a broad spectrum.

 

Visit https://players.cupix.com/p/r6FRkjOZ for a self-guided virtual tour of Nexus III featuring a solo exhibition from Amy Sol at the Brand Library & Art Center .

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