Friday, April 24, 2009

Art Space Talk: Ami Muranetz

Ami Muranetz was born and raised on Vancouver Island. Muranetz has shown in solo and group shows across British Columbia. In 2001, she was one of twelve finalist's in Nescafe's Big Break Awards in Acapulco, Mexico for young entrepreneurs in Canada. While traveling and teaching throughout China Muranetz spent the majority of her spare time researching the major world religions including Buddhism, Daoism, Hinduism, Christianity, and various Pagan beliefs.

Through the comparison of these diverse ideologies she sought to express the commonalities through her art. She has stated that her work began to tell stories that included not only her own cultural perspective, but also shared symbols and meanings that exist in all nations.
Arc Angel (detail) by Ami Muranetz

Brian Sherwin: Ami, what can you tell us about your academic background concerning art? Did you study art formally? Tell us about your art studies in general-- any influential instructors?

Ami Muranetz: I did artwork years before I went to school for formal training. It started as a passionate interest as a child, and moved into a serious vocation as a senior in high school. It wasn't until I was 23 that I realized I hated working minimum wage jobs to support my artwork, instead of making my work support me. I enrolled in the Visual Arts Program at Camosun College in 2007, and underwent an intensive two year long program studying everything from painting, ceramics, and sculpture, to silk screening, modern art history and animation.

The faculty in our program are exceptional instructors, and beyond training us in a multitude of mediums they also taught us patience, an attention to detail, and the fine art of perseverance.

Sensory by Ami Muranetz

BS: Tell us about yourself. At what point did you gain an interest in creating visual art?

AM: My earliest memories of creating art were around 4 years of age, where I sold my artwork on the side of the road. These pieces generally sold for 25 cents to my neighbors, providing positive support that would later feed my passion for art.

BS: Can you tell us about your art? Give us some insight into the thoughts behind your art?

AM: Work I created before attending a visual arts program focused mainly on self-portraits and painting. I was deeply inspired by the life of Frida Kahlo, and modeled many of my earlier works on her expressive style and use of color.

Since attending school, I have attached broader meaning to my work by expanding the themes that capture my attention, and expressing them in greater conceptual terms. Recent works that I have completed address social issues regarding how we now interact with others, and the systems behind our contemporary culture.

Tubes by Ami Muranetz

BS: Can you discuss your process in general? Are there any specific techniques that you utilize?

AM: Issues that either inspire or piss me off usually spurn my ideas forward. These situations then challenge me to rethink how I can most effectively voice my opinions about them using installations and art processes. Sketchbooks and notepads are my constant companions, and must admit I have a decent collection that I keep for later use and ideas.

BS: What about other influences? For example, are you influenced by any specific artists?

AM: I regularly keep updated on the international art world and recent trends through the Internet and magazines. I'm very intrigued as to how China has been supporting their artists, and see this as a positive step towards becoming more self-sufficient.

Kiki Smith has been a strong female that has inspired me to move forward with what I'm doing. Kate Raudenbush, another New York artist has been an influential person to my creative practice. The three dimensional sculptures she builds for Burning Man in Nevada are built with a specific intention for interacting with them, and are also visually stunning. SWOON is another artist who has blown my mind in terms of scale and the accessibility she creates for her audience.

What You Never Knew by Ami Muranetz

BS: So what is there a specific message you strive to convey to viewers? Do you adhere to a specific philosophy as far as your work is concerned?

AM: I want to communicate to the viewers of my work the connection we all share with one another. There are basic human needs we all experience; the need to be loved, appreciated, supported, and encouraged by our community. It may sound clich├ęd to mention, but I find we are sometimes more informed about the world around us but farther apart in terms of relationships.

This is the era of the online social networking tool, where we have the ability to make many friends in a shorter time frame, but fewer deep connections. I wish to rekindle for others a sense of oneness, one that extends beyond ideas of religion, spirituality, or individuality. The only guidelines I follow when making work is that it touches something within myself.

Crucifixion #2 by Ami Muranetz

BS: What are you working on at this time?

AM: My upcoming wedding as been the biggest creative endeavor I've started during this period. We're traveling to the Burning Man Arts Festival in Nevada, where we will officially make our nuptials. Work that has been built there sometimes impacts me far more than something I would see in a gallery space or art museum. The work is built for the purpose of interacting with the people, as opposed to the collectors. I would like to be funded by them in the near future to build an installation.
BS: What are your thoughts concerning the internet and utilizing the World Wide Web in order to gain exposure for your art? In your opinion, why is it important for artists to embrace the internet?

AM: Online social networking tools have been one of the greatest tools for artists to reach a larger audience and market. My experiences with sites such as Terminus 1525, face book, and MyArtSpace have introduced me worldwide network of artists whom I otherwise would not have met in person. The Internet is one of the most cost efficient, innovative, and practical methods to show the world what you do and why.

BS: Will you be involved with any upcoming exhibits?

AM: I have an upcoming group show titled Fourteen that will be exhibiting work produced during our two-year visual arts program. I have another group show slated for the middle of May in Washington State at the Viking Union Gallery, and a group show scheduled for this October in New York at Agora Gallery titled Beyond Borders.

BS: Do you have any concerns about the art world at this time?

AM: One concern that I have encountered personally is when artists are not properly respected and compensated for the work they do. Artists are expected to pay for their materials, pay for documentation, pay for shipping, and even in some cases, pay their gallery to show work. Placing the entire onus on the artist to pay the bill is unfair, and is unheard of in business transactions. Artists should respect themselves, and demand back their respect and dignity.

Christine by Ami Muranetz

BS: There has been several stories involving copyright infringement in the mainstream press as of late. What is your stance on copyright? Do you see strong copyright as a reflection of artist rights in general? Or do you feel that copyright restricts creativity? Do you have a stance on this issue?

AM: These laws can be used to either protect or punish artists by both sides. I tend to see copyrights as necessary precautions to protect work that has been lovingly made by artists from corporations, businesses, and copycats for their personal uses. These steps can ensure that your artwork is not being sold by someone else for their profits. However, we are inspired by the creative pursuits of other artists, and consciously or unconsciously derive many of our "original" ideas from the previous work of others, either by further elaborating on a concept, theme or technique. I'm into the creative commons copyright that recognizes true original creativity is a myth, and encourages the sharing of ideas.

BS: As you know, the economy has been hard. Have you had to change-- or should I say adapt-- your practice due to the economy?

AM: As to date, I have always been adapting my practice to suit my economic situation. Not having access to a kiln, print, dark room or painting studio has been an adaptation I've recently and sadly had to make. When you are faced with limited situations, you adapt your practice to your environment. My latest desire is to acquire a huge warehouse in Vancouver where I create any scale of work I choose.

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

AM: Remaining positive in the face of any disaster has been my mantra over the past five years of making art, and continues to serve me well. If you are going to make art, then you are going to make art and no one can deny you that privilege. Understanding why I make art has been the current revelation I've had, and knowing that I make art not for recognition but to express myself has allowed me to expand the risks I'll make.

You can learn more about Ami Muranetz by visiting her blog, You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page--

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
Myartspace Blog on Twitter

No comments: