Monday, August 06, 2007

Art Space Talk: Amy Sol

Amy Sol is a Korean-born/Las Vegas- based artist. Her paintings depict Asian inspired themes with a contemporary edge. Known for having a trance-like quality, Amy's soft-toned paintings of sleepy-eyed girls and beast-friends transport the viewer into her imaginary world. You can learn more about Amy Sol by visiting her website:

Brian Sherwin: Amy, You spent much of your childhood in Korea. Can you go into detail about specific Korean traditions or customs that inspire your work? Do your images depict stories of your childhood? Or do you create your own stories with your art?

Amy Sol: The people, customs and nature of South Korea have certainly left curious impressions on me. Though... I would not say my work is directly related to one particular culture because I've been exposed to such a variety. Bits of everything, this and that seem interspersed throughout. I feel most comfortable when the work builds itself in a nonlinear fashion, sort of like a daydream and can be interpreted subjectively.

BS: Amy, the style of your work is greatly influenced by a combination of manga, folk-art, vintage illustration and modern design... however, you are a self-taught artist. You taught yourself to mix pigments and mediums to achieve a unique color palette of subtly muted tones. Why did you decide not to have a formal education in art?

AS: School is a good thing for those who are seeking it. I truly believe if a person desires an education from school and posses a great passion for it they will benefit the most. I also believe the same for those who seek to learn independently, all you need is to put the effort behind anything to achieve it. I owe much to the studying of traditional methods such as life drawing and color theory, though I choose to put most of my energy into developing techniques that work ideally to translate my visions.

BS: Amy, I've read that you find inspiration in the desert- having lived in Las Vegas. Can you go into detail about how the desert has inspired you? What is the link between your work and nature?

AS: I am very familiar with the desert, the quietness offers an open canvas to my imagination. Walking through a silent desert at night, under a full ceiling of stars is extremely transporting - and also my favorite pastime. My interpretation of the city itself isn't flattering... all I can say is it's a great place for a hermit like me.

BS: Can you name some artists who have inspired you? Are you influenced by any artists from the past?

AS: I think I owe much of my own development to illustrators who have grabbed hold of my imagination as a child. The late 1800's to early 1900's artists like Jessie Willcox Smith, Charles Robinson, and Kay Nielsen are among my favorites. I am intrigued by the mysterious, tapestry like illustrations and the way they perfectly interpret the lushness and karmic magic of folk-tales.

BS: Amy, you work on wooden panels instead of a canvas surface. Why do you prefer wooden panels over canvas? Also, can you describe your process? How do you start a painting?

AS: I think I prefer the wood panel because I've developed a psychological attachment to it. In my case, working with wood is an experience of it's own because of the complications involved. Most of the time, the work is developed and changed by the pattern, flow, and color of the grain and it's a concentrated and delicate process. I feel that wood is a precious thing and it can't be wasted. This seems to add or force more sincerity on my part. Before I begin working on a panel I size it with a clear water based compound to prevent acid wear on the paints. Then I begin working immediately or use a study that I intended for the panel as reference. I do not know if every work I do in the future will be on wood.. but for now I love it, its grown on me.

BS: Can you describe a typical studio session? Do you listen to certain types of music while working? What are your 'studio habits'? Do you have a routine, or do you go where the paintings take you, so to speak?

AS: My typical studio session lasts all day or night rather. I wake up in the evening when its cooler outside and work until around mid-morning. I take a look at everything in natural light and make mental notes before I go to sleep. I find that self discipline works much better on me when I follow ritual-like routines. I usually work 12 hours + a day with little tea breaks in-between and a walk. I always have sound going in the background, anything that can stimulate my mind a little. It's usually whatever record I'm hooked on for the week, science podcasts, or an audio book.

BS: Your first show was at Cannibal Flower [in L.A.]. Cannibal Flower is known for showing greats works by Chet Zar and other pop-surrealists. How did this show come into being? In other words, how did you learn about Cannibal Flower and at what point did you decide that you desired to exhibit there?

AS: I have to look back at all my e-mail messages and see how it played out, hehe. I was in contact with LC the director/ founder of the Cannibal Flower collective and drove all the way into town (LA) to drop off my painting. He ended up purchasing it and was very supportive of my work. Because it was one of the first, very few times to share my work outside of local galleries, I was very nervous. To my fortune, he was incredibly sweet and funny. LC is one of the most generous persons I've ever met and he's full of genuine humor.

BS: Amy, your first invitation to have a solo show came from the Copro Nason Gallery in Santa Monica. Can you recall how you felt when the gallery invited you to exhibit?

AS: The director of the gallery contacted me through the internet on myspace. I talked with him over the phone shortly after and felt incredibly lucky when he offered me a solo exhibit.

BS: You had your first New York solo exhibit in March at the Aidan Savoy Gallery. The exhibit was titled "The Most Blissful Sorrow". What themes did you tackle with this exhibit? Also, did the New York scene embrace your art? Were you nervous?

AS: Whenever I title a body of work, it randomly materializes in my mind and when "blissful sorrow" appeared it seemed right. I asked the gallery permission and advice for the idea and it was approved. I was very scared about exhibiting in New York. After being cooped up for so many months working alone and then having to present everything in a place I was completely unfamiliar with, it made for difficult sleep a few nights before. The young ladies who operate the gallery were very personable and friendly, it made the whole experience surprisingly easy.

BS: What are some other themes that you deal with in your work? Can you go into detail about your artistic philosophy?

AS: I think every painting represents a part of something whole but I have yet to determine what it is or if it is. There are so many things that I love in life and in nature and these are what primarily drive me to create. Everyday new things present themselves in waking life and in dreams, and they are waiting in line to be part of a new painting.


BS: Amy, I understand that you were featured in Juxtapoz Magazine. Also, your art is on the cover of Hi Fructose (Volume V). What have those experiences been like? Did you ever expect your work to be embraced as it has been?

AS: I am surprised and very grateful for the invitations to publish my work. I feel eternally obligated, even indebted to those who support my work. I am thankful each day. Through creating I find the greatest source of adventure, enlightenment, and sense of being.

BS: Do you have any upcoming exhibits? Also, where can our readers view more of your art?

AS: This year 2007, I am participating in two group showings with Roq La Rue gallery of Seattle-Washington, and Lineage Gallery of Philadelphia. 2008 and 09 I will be focusing on two exhibits per year. I update my website as often as I can.

BS: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your art or the artworld?

AS: Umm, I think I said enough myself.. the artworld is something I am yet in the process of discovering. Thanks Brian, for taking the time to ask such thoughtful questions.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about Amy Sol and her art. Feel free to leave a comment for Amy. Also, be sure to check out other interviews by clicking on the following link-
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

out of all the artist in this inter view, i think yours are the best, its fun, gives excitement to my imaginatoin and a relaxed feeling, ceep it up!