Monday, August 13, 2012

A Conversation With Amanda Christine

"Really Love Your Secrets (Wanna Shake Your Trees)" 22x28" acrylic on canvas, 2012

Amanda Christine, a mostly self taught artist located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, paints lovely creations that are a fusion of strong women, symbolism, fantasy elements and deep ties to the natural world. Amanda Christine spoke with ArtSeen about her artwork and her artistic inspirations. 

Can you tell us a little about your artwork, artistic process, and what types of artistic materials you use?

I paint feminine portraits with a surreal feel, that often fall into the lowbrow category of art, and fantastical animal art. I am primarily self-taught and educated in art by practicing artists, both who lived in my small hometown in my youth. One mentor taught me oils for a short time and another taught me a little about so many other mediums, but I actually studied a lot of psychology in college.

Most of my surreal portraits start with a drawing, a sketch, or sometimes an idea that I have jotted down into a notebook. I have a lot of those. The drawing is fleshed out more once it is transferred to canvas, paper, or wood panel that has been prepped.  I have recently been working with oils more than I used to, and my acrylic process has merged where I like to used layers of both, and embellish with metal leaf and other elements when I feel it right. All are built up in layers.

"Eva Considers His Offer" 12x12" acrylic on canvas, 2011

What inspires you as an artist? Why do you create art?

I am continuously inspired by nature. I love being outdoors and going on little nature walks with my camera and finding interesting birds and bugs. I was a re-enactor (where you dress up in Renaissance costumes, make up a character, and go camping...essentially) and studied women in history and absorbed what I learned here like a sponge to apply to creative works. I was raised on "oldies" music and classic movies and many things from these memories are timeless to me. Mythology and fairy tales are big influences.

Sometimes I feel I am expressing myself and re-connecting with myself at the same time. I am inspired by so many strong women, and so many great stories, but the thing I know I do and have been drawn to do since I was 4 years old is make art. So that's what I do. 

"Lady Disdain" 8x24 acrylic, ink, paper on canvas, 2012

What types of themes, ideas, or concepts do you explore within in your artwork?
Isolation and longing are big themes in my work. I have been one who has been drawn to a sort of "sad beauty" aesthetic, so many of the women I paint will be shown at a moment of vulnerability. My ladies will represent icons, archetypes, and feminine roles that have societal duality or quiet controversy, like courtesans for example. Fairy tales and folklore help complete the women-animal link in my work. Comparative religion and mythology are themes I want to focus on more in future pieces as well. I have a few paintings that portray ladies in the role of Eve.

Are there any artists that inspire you? If so, who would they be and why?

I could go on about this for weeks! Gustave Dore is one of my absolute favorites- I love the fantasy and narratives, Adrian Gottlieb for the "glow" in his portraits, also Maxfield Parrish, Alphonse Mucha, Gustav Klimt, James Jean, Sylvia Ji, and Dave McKean, to name a few more. 

"Estella and Archimedes" 16x20" oil on canvas, 2012

What do you think the role of the artist is?
In college there was this major in the art dept.- "visual communication"- I thought that phrase summed it up perfectly even though I wasn't there for art originally. We are visual communicators. In past years I had higher expectations for the title "artist", and felt maybe I was not doing enough, being enough of an "activist", but I have come to understand that I make the work and put it out there for others, and that is the most basic of the definition.

What do you want viewers to walk away with when they view your artwork?

I love that it is viewed! It is really special for me when someone connects with my work, and I enjoy it when they notice something small or subtle that I did not expect anyone to notice. I also notice a lot of women connect with my pieces so I like when I see men enjoying my ladies, too.

"Letting Go" 20x24" oil on canvas, 2012

And finally, what advice would you give to other artists? 

Find a healthy balance between trusting your intuition and good business practice. Only you will know what is right for your creative path, and also- don't give up on it! If you are in an area that is not favorable to your style, put it in front of the eyes or markets for which it is a better fit before you reconsider any of your dreams. 

For more information about Amanda Christine and her artwork, you can visit her website and Facebook page for more details. 

All images provided by Amanda Christine.

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