I saw Amy Wilson’s work at Art Chicago earlier this year and fell in love.
Art Chicago is a huge place with so much visual chaos and the throngs of people, that it can be easy to get over stimulated and desensitized. I found Amy’s work in a corner of a gallery space, though, and had to get very close to read the words written into the piece. (Reflections, seen below) The text isn’t short, either, so I really had to settle in to digest what was there – and before I knew it, I was in this wonderful quiet rapport with the painting. It was the most intimate experience of all my time at the show that day.
What are your main inspirations in art?
The thoughts in my head, conversations I have with others, and the interactions I see between people as I go about my day.
What is your art background? (education, experience, etc)
I was an undergrad at the School of Visual Arts, graduating with a degree in sculpture in 1995. It was a weird choice – I found myself in art school (which at the time was notoriously easy to get into; it’s much more difficult now) without too much of a background in art; I finished high school with terrible grades and found myself stuck either pursuing a career in being a waitress or receptionist, or blowing a few years in art school. I’m glad I chose the latter. I worked really hard and was accepted to Yale for my MFA, also in Sculpture (I graduated in 1997), which probably surprised me most of all.
I was totally dedicated to making sculpture and installation work throughout those years. But when I graduated, I realized there was no way I could afford the kind of studio I needed or supplies I liked to work in, now that I was on my own. Switching to drawing was a very practical decision – I hated giving up sculpture, but it was the only thing I could reasonably do. Luckily, I fell in love with it relatively quickly. (I’ve been able to return to more sculptural works over the last year or so, incorporating them into my drawing practice.)
What is your process for creating your work?
I usually start with some sort of vague image in mind and just start writing the text, and let the image unfold as a play between it and the text – sort of back and forth like that, through the whole drawing.
What is the single most important thing you want to communicate with your work?
Just that I’m here, I’m having these thoughts, and maybe other people are too.
What are your career goals?
I’m not sure I have specific career goals when it comes to my artwork, other than to keep showing and exhibiting at a regular pace.
What one object has been the most instrumental in helping you achieve what you have so far?
It’s not an object per se, but I am a deeply stubborn person and that, undoubtedly, has helped. I also have amazing, supportive friends and a great husband, all of whom help to keep me going.
Tell me three random things about you.
1. I don’t drive, have never had a license nor have I ever owned a car (and I live in NJ, so that’s weird).
2. I adore Asian desserts.
3. I’m 6’1″ tall and have gigantic feet!