We welcome Amy Park!
Creator of metropolitan magic.
Living in a big city can be a challenge at times, so we strive to preserve moments of urban beauty and the romantic charm of the city through our wide array of cityscape prints. Many of our artists are inspired by NYC and Paris, two of the most visually enticing cosmopolitan centers. Our ArtStar artists have captured the dynamism and energy of these cities through their own poetic rendering. Our newest artist, Amy Park, offers us an intimate look at the built environment, combining realistic interpretation with a playful abstraction.
Amy creates a vision of a city to which we all want to escape. She offers a unique perspective on the subtle architectural details that can be easily taken for granted, yet are vital to the story a city tells. We got the chance to talk to Wisconsin native Amy Park about her creative process, her inspiration, and why she's fallen in love with New York City.
AP: I love New York City and find huge amounts of inspiration everyday just living here. I also love abstraction and architecture, and spend a lot of time reading and researching these topics. Another way I’m inspired is by taking photos. I use the camera to look at specific buildings or parts of the city; it’s an easy way to frame my experience. Then I use the photos to create watercolor paintings in the studio.
AS:What is your favorite thing to do in NYC?
AP: I love going to museums, especially MoMA, and walking over the Brooklyn Bridge at night. I also just love being in NYC, not necessarily doing anything.
AS: Where is your favorite destination to escape to?
AP: My new favorite escape is West Texas. My partner, artist Paul Villinski, and I took our son to Marfa, Texas last year for three months. The entire Big Bend region is a magical landscape that is both starkly beautiful and dangerous. Everything was new to me, the colors of the land and vegetation, the sky, the climate and our simplified way of life. It’s the polar opposite of New York. We are going back to Marfa for a week later this spring and I couldn’t be more excited about it.
AS: Can you tell us about your creative process?
AP: When I start a new series I spend a lot of time doing research -- doing a lot of looking and absorbing information, both with books and the internet. I take photos and choose ones to work with. I make ink drawings and collages, both of which are important to the process. Then I paint small studies, generally 22” x 30”. In those I make a plan for the final large paintings: I figure out the colors, the patterns, and how to paint them. Finally I make the large paintings and they can actually be easier to paint because I have figured out a great deal in the small version.
For my latest series of work, “You Are Here,” which will comprise my solo show this May at Morgan Lehman Gallery, I have spent two years working from photos I took of NYC from 1200 feet in the air. Paul, my partner, is a pilot and he flew me down the Hudson River in our small plane so I could capture a cityscape where eye level is mid-building or above. I shot thousands of photos, which took me a week to sort through to find the perfect views.
AS:Do you have any quirky or interesting routines?
AP: The “quirkiest” thing about my routine is that I have a routine! I have a set schedule in the studio, 9-5, Monday thru Friday. I need to be alone in the studio, so my three-year-old son is either in school or with a nanny, while I work during the day. I love having a routine: it provides structure that I need in a largely unstructured profession. I try very hard to just be in the studio during that time, painting.
AS: Who is your contemporary favorite artist and why?
AP: Without a doubt: Michelle Grabner (co-curator of the 2014 Whitney Biennial). Michelle was my first real teacher. I met her at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I was fortunate to study with her for 6 years. Today, I look to her for inspiration and practical answers on how to manage a career and a family. Beyond that, Michelle’s work, whether it’s drawing, painting, printmaking, weaving or sculpture is sublimely beautiful and made with the simplest marks. I could look at one of her paintings all day!
AS: What is your favorite weekend activity?
AP: I love weekends, especially during spring, summer and fall. My family and I spend time at a very small airport upstate. On the airport we have a FEMA trailer that Paul converted as an artwork for an International biennial. It is off-the-grid; it has solar panels, a wind turbine, and is outfitted with recycled and sustainable materials like denim insulation; bamboo cabinetry; reclaimed wood and linseed oil floor tiles. It also has a drop-down wall that opens up to make a deck and a geodesic skylight dome. We call it our “design lab.” I love being there; it’s peaceful and fun. I read and play with my son, Lark, when we aren’t flying in gliders or the airplane.
AS: What are your three favorite ArtStar pieces?
AP: Kysa Johnson's "Blow Up 201"; Frank Webster's "Blue Highway"; Zaria Forman's "Greenland #62"
AS: What is one piece of advice you can share with aspiring artists?
AP: The best piece of advice I was given was to move to Chicago, which turned into moving to NYC. I don’t believe that NYC is the only place to create an artistic practice, but I do believe that you need to live in an environment that you love and feel great in, and which stimulates and challenges you creatively. For me, coming from a small town in Wisconsin (population 18,000), I needed the visual stimulation of the city. I love that I can find a potential painting almost anywhere in my daily life.
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