Amy Smith: Nothing to Fear in the Darkness

To get to Amy Smith's garage studio you must walk past a raspberry patch and a two story playhouse. This 5th generation painter and daughter of an Elementary School art teacher takes her painting very seriously... except for when she doesn't. At the time of my visit she was working on about 5 paintings at once and trying to ignore one in the corner. Her home is like a live-in art gallery; adorned with giant pieces that seem to stretch floor to ceiling. We talked for quite a while about art, life, bravery and making a mess. I found myself jotting down little quotes from her about every 3 minutes and so I decided to just stop and talk to her instead. I really admire her approach to her work. She says, "I am painter because I like making a mess. I like making a problem for myself and then solving it." One of my favorite pieces yesterday was named "What if there is nothing to fear in the darkness"... here's a little more about that and how to find out more about Amy's work.

If you could give every artist one piece of advice what would it be?
Try to come to your (five) senses. If you can get out of your head and really be aware that you are in a particular moment, whatever you are doing will be more honest and more interesting.

So, what if there is nothing to fear in the darkness?
Seriously, how free would you be!  I get a thrill just thinking about it.  I guess it's about approaching the unknown with excitement and wonder, mixed in with the fear. The idea of a dark woods sounds scary but when you are actually there it is always just charged with a wild, open feeling that is dependent on the darkness.

What made you decide to move your studio out into the garage? Do you notice a change in your work?
I'm in the garage for the warm months, it feels like a special treat to be in the world and painting.  Being outside makes me happy and I don't labor over my work as much.

What motivates you to create?
My life is so much better when I am painting and I love my painter self best of all.  I try to remember to cultivate awareness in my daily life, making art is good practice.

Where can people find more of your work? www.mnartists.org and search Amy Noelle Smith

 

To contact Amy directly you can email her: smith494@umn.edu

Content & Photographs by Jennifer Sandquist

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