Sunday, January 8, 2012

Artist Interview: Amanda Atkins

Another great artist to show you today.  I was drawn to her work for the strong female characters, and the wonderful line work.  Her interview made me like her even more.  She's super talented, and I'm a huge fan.  So, here is your chance to become a fan too.  An interview with Amanda Atkins of  

1. Were you always an art kid, or did you stumble upon it later in life?

I was definitely always an art kid. My mom bought me my first journal when I was 3 and I would draw pictures of my dreams in it and my mom would write the captions. I kept a journal from that point on – I’ve always loved writing and drawing. In elementary school, I loved making comic books and making really detail-oriented pictures of bedrooms and tree houses. In middle school, I got into fashion design. It all shaped itself into a love of making art, which is what I ended up going to college for.

A Number of Things.

2. What style of art is your favorite and why?

Honestly, I love layman’s art from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. That whole time frame is my biggest inspiration. Recently I’ve fallen in love with the aesthetic of art deco, the clean lines and shapes and the limited color palettes.
3. What do you use for inspiration, or how do you generate ideas?

I draw in my sketchbook constantly. My work really embodies the things that I love. I love vintage, animals, literature, science – these things surround me in my room and provide me with constant inspiration.

2 Dresses of Peacock.

4. Walk us through your creative process from idea to finished project.

My paintings are usually born from something I am feeling, which is usually hinted at in the title. The image for the piece will come to mind, complete with a preliminary idea for a color palette. I’ll do a quick sketch in my sketchbook, gesso the masonite, draw it out in pencil, get out the colors I want, and get to painting.

And with unspoken ease I was your pet.

5. What is a typical day in your life?

I have a lovely job teaching first graders in an after school program. Some mornings I go to the gym, and other mornings I go to a coffee shop and read and draw. I walk to work, and then I spend 4 hours with the kids. They truly lighten my heart  and I get so much inspiration from them. I walk home from work and spend the evening listening to music and making things (sometimes I take nights off) and I love reading in bed before falling asleep.

Weekends are spent roaming Boston, doing things with friends, and making more art.
6. What do you think draws you to other people's work?

I love striking color palettes, especially ones that are primarily neutral and really showcase one brilliant color. I love art that draws from the past. I love old science charts, anything with astrology and botany. Anything inspired by literature, writers, and authors – I love linking art and literature, using each one to pay homage to the other. 

The Escapist.

7. What are your interests/hobbies?

I love nature, and finding nature in the city. I love going for walks and finding streets I’ve never been on before. There’s also comfort in the familiar. I write almost every day and take tons of pictures. I love reading. I love being in bookstores.

Animals are a great love of mine, so any time I can spend with my pets (or anyone else's animals) really makes me happy.
8. Is this your full time job, or do you have a job out-of-studio?

I have my job with the kids - such a great job!!

The Language of Foxtrot.

9. What is your favorite piece you've ever made and why?

Once in a while, I’ll make a piece that resonates so well with how I’m feeling at that particular moment that the piece itself becomes a thing of comfort to me. The last piece that made me feel that way is “Remember me remarkable,” the monochromatic painting of the girl with all the stars in her hair and smaller stars in the background. I love her so much. I like the women in all of my paintings, but some of them end up feeling like friends. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true! 

Artist's Workspace:  View One.

10. What advice would you give to an artist just starting out in the business world?

Keep a blog and make a brand for yourself – choose a font and a look. Follow other blogs that interest you and before you know it you’ll have a bunch of people following your blog, too. If you truly love what you’re doing, everything is going to work itself out for you! There may be hard times where money isn’t coming easily, but keep working and putting yourself out there. Don’t give up. If you’re a kind and friendly person, networking won’t even feel like work; it will just happen naturally.  If you sell prints of your work or other products, try to get into art fairs like Renegade. Every city has its own version, especially around the holidays! They’re lots of fun and a great way to make connections with potential customers. Show your gratitude to those who buy from you, comment on your blog, etc.
11. Describe your work space.

My desk typically has bottles of paint all over it. My paint palette weighs about 10 pounds because it’s covered in inches of dried paint. I love having inspiration pictures all around. Once in a blue moon, I’ll get fresh flowers for my desk. My brushes live in a coffee tin I decoupaged my freshman year of college. It will be my brush tin forever!

The Artist's Workspace:  View Two.

12. Did you face any setbacks on your path to being an artist?

There have been times when I’ve felt burnt out by how much time and energy has to be put into being an artist. Sometimes my life feels like a full time job. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, though. I love the feeling of constant searching that comes with being an artist. Sometimes I think I’m crazy for loving it, but I love it.

As far as setbacks, I’ve always had to work other jobs in order to make ends meet. I love my art and make it a priority no matter what. Since I’m not always relying on it for the entirety of my income, I can’t say I’ve ever felt like I’ve had a “setback.” There are of course disappointments, but that’s why I try to keep busy with lots of different things. If one thing falls through, it’s less disappointing if you have a few other things on the backburner, as well.

The Artist:  Amanda Atkins.

13. What milestones, goals, or achievements are you striving for right now?

I will be having my third (as of now unnamed) solo show at Three Graces Gallery in Portsmouth, NH, this September, so I will be planning/working on paintings for it. I’ve written a children’s book which I’d really love to get published at some point. I’ve been working on illustrations for it, so we’ll see!! I’d say that that is my next big goal for myself.
Other Links:

Thanks so much Amanda for letting us get to know you.  Keep up the great work, I know we'll be seeing so many more great things from you.


Amanda Laurel Atkins said...

Dear Julia,
Thank you so much for featuring me on your blog. I'm so honored!

Julia Wright said...

You're very welcome. It was wonderful getting to know more about you. I hope a lot more people find your art and shop because of me. It was a lot of fun.