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Amie R Gillingham

Artist's Interview

How long have you been creating?
Pretty much always. My grandmother always encouraged me to paint, draw, crochet, and in general make things from odds and ends around the house. I recall a rather monumental dollhouse I made of shoeboxes, complete with homemade furniture and miniature paintings for the walls, made in part because my mom wouldn't buy me one of the really swank expensive ones like a friend of mine had. Turns out, I liked mine better in the end. I was also the sort of geeky kid who would copy old masters paintings out of the encyclopedia at recess for fun, although they would always have my own special twist.
What is your medium of choice?
At one point, I would have said installation art, doing highly conceptual, architectural pieces. But seeing as my budget is much smaller than my vision, I am quite happy working 2-d in acrylic on masonite, as well as continuing my passion for large-scale charcoals.
What are your motivations for creating?
It's like something that keeps nagging at me and I have to get it out of my system, and I can't rest until I do. Perhaps it's a disease, lol.
What other artists and movements inform your work?
I am a HUGE fan of Frida Kahlo, and the 20th Century Mexican painters movement in general. As I am an art historian by education, there are a whole slew of other passions that find their way into my work; I love medieval illuminated manuscripts, Japanese ukiyo-e prints and Chinese scholar paintings, the work of Gustav Klimt, who himself shares my love of Asian art, Monica Castillo, who is a contemporary Mexican artist, and the installation work of Kiki Smith.
Regardless of what you do, you have a definite voice. How do you go about incorporating different styles into your own work?
I think I paint the way I cook; metaphorically I get an idea for a dish, scan what is out there that is like what I want to do, use it perhaps as a springboard, and then throw out the cookbook and have at it. I am keenly aware that my vision is inspired by all of the art I have seen in my life, but I also know that I paint my own unique vision. Even if I wanted to, I have found that I can't paint other than the way that I paint.
What do you find stimulating right now? How does this influence your creative process?
My newborn daughter, Abbey :).
Read anything good lately?
"What to Expect when you are Expecting" for obvious reasons. Not much time for leisure reading these days, although I am mad about Michael Ondaatje and Alice Walker.
I notice that you seem to create in series' and that the subject matter is varied. What motivates you to create in this manner?
Part of it is requests from others to see more. My ukiyo-e and retro beach series have always sold faster than I could paint them. But I try to never repeat myself. I like to see where the series leads. And should I burn out on a subject, I most likely won't revisit it, even if the demand is there. Boredom kills art.
What would you like your fellow EBSQ artists and collectors to know about you and or your work?
I love what I do, and I wish I had more time to do it. If there was a way that I could paint full-time, parent full-time, and manage EBSQ full-time, I would gladly split in three. I am someone who likes to commit to an action 100% as I am a poor multi-tasker. But the upside of that is that when I am able to paint, it is with passion, and with gratitude.

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