Art By Colorscape | An Interview with Amy Smith

2016-08-27-10-25-49 Amy Smith is a Los Angeles based artist creating colorful and empowering contemporary art. Inspired by street art, couture fashion, and photography. She designs in collections, using each style to represent a different inspiration. These collections include fashion illustration, acrylic painting, digital painting, and mixed media collage.
    Her digital paintings have been turned into wall murals for office buildings and have been rented out on tv/film sets. Smith’s mixed media collages have been shown at Wallspace LA, The Hive Gallery and been part of auctions such as revered Julien’s Auctions. Her first solo-exhibit was at The Gabba Gallery in January 2016. Smith’s works can be found at Artspace Warehouse and Wallspace LA, as well as online galleries; Art Dimensions, Deny Designs, Turning Art, and Artcase.
      How did you get involved with Westfield’s first ever public art installation? How long will it be running?
        Westfield had a sign up in San Diego that my brother saw and sent to me. They were looking for local art for that area. I heard that they sent my info to the mall in Culver because they were having trouble finding artists to get involved. I met with the woman wanting to put art within the wall and I pitched the idea of a local artist wall that features new local artists every few months. I’m launching what they now call, Pop Up Art a curated section featuring local artists. The space is really great, a 25’ wide wall and they put up information about each artist.
          You have three series that are different in concept : Cityscapes, Empowering Word Art and Portraits. All three series are mixed media collages combining acrylic, stencil and digital painting. The fashion illustrations have an unspoken element of film noir. What is the inspiration behind each series? They are different in concept but not in style, would you consider your work “pop art?”
            I’ve always loved fashion and in that world you design in collections. So I used that concept to develop different styles that are fun and challenging for me. As a self-educated artist I think it’s important to try different things and learn as much as you can. With these different techniques, I was able to teach myself many different important design skills.
              I started out with digital painting as an excuse to learn more about Photoshop, Illustrator, and photography composition. Travel is a big part of my life and love taking photos. I wanted a reason to use my images from trips to create and give them a new life. I turned the digital paintings into large acrylic paintings on canvas when I got interest from a gallery and they only accepted original work. I can’t stress enough the importance of flexibility. I made the decision to make original pieces from the concepts of the digital, and it’s been working out really well.
                The fashion illustrations come from my love of sketching. I have always loved the creativity behind all fashion especially haute couture, which is my favorite because of the sense of fantasy that is created. I used that to develop the Faceless series, in which I mostly use travel photos as backgrounds and add the sketch within the piece. I love to play with the dark macabre as well as the vibrant pop. That’s where the collage comes in.
                  The mixed media collage is something I worked on with a mentor of mine in Los Angeles. He really helped me figure out what I can do with these portraits and the emotion I can portray. I love the emotion and/or playfulness behind each piece. This is a series that takes the most time. It’s always challenging and there are many steps in the process.
                    I still don’t really consider my work Pop art though once in a while I will create a collage with a recognizable Pop image. I think it’s more of contemporary with a street art influence.
                      "Girl Who Waited"
                      "Girl Who Waited"
                      What are some of the organizations that you feel are important to highlight by donating your time and work?
                        There are a few I haven’t gotten to spend time with just yet but I look forward to volunteering with Las Photos Project and Inner City Arts. I was apart of a young leaders board for a non-profit called, Project Angel Food for over a year, and I spend time volunteering with Off The Wall Graffiti.
                          "Make Noise"
                          "Make Noise"
                          Do you have a preference when it comes to having your work showcased for film and TV vs a gallery? What is your involvement in the entertainment industry?
                            I have been working in the art department for television for the last 6 years. I’ve recently taken a break to focus on my art and developing my collage style. I enjoy having my artwork show up on sets of movies and tv shows. I have people contact me so surprised to see it, which makes me smile. But galleries really get my work and my name out there. They’re really great to work with and they provide lots of opportunities to connect.
                              Tell us about your podcast? When and where can we hear it?
                                My friend and I co-created a podcast called, The Everyday Awesome. It’s something we’re both very passionate about. We talk to people that have followed their passions and have taken risks to follow their dreams. We want people to see how projects, lifestyles, and movements can change if you decide to follow what makes you happy. I have always learned from examples, so talking with these individuals really gives you a sense that you can do it too, anything is possible. If you have a dream, a desire to follow a different path, you are not alone. We need people to take more risks and stand up for what makes them different. That’s the only way we will have motivated, passionate change-makers in our communities. And make a difference for the people that need it most.
                                  We will be launching in the beginning of the year with our website and podcast. We have some great interviews with street artists, activists, film-makers, and entrepreneurs. We are always looking to talk to more people, especially doing work in Los Angeles. So definitely get in touch if you’re one of those people.
                                    Do you think it’s important for artists to have their own online galleries now with commercially viable merchandise?
                                      I think it’s important to be able to reach all types of people interested in art. And that may not be a painting hanging on the wall. So merchandise is something for everyone and it allows your work to be seen outside of a gallery. I am pretty specific when it comes to producing merchandise though, I try to find the best quality while ethically made. When possible I like to work with locally owned businesses or independent companies.
                                        How would you like to see your work progress in the next year?
                                          In the next year, I’m planning on painting outdoors on walls so that will be a progression of my style to fit a different landscape. Also I’m excited about the evolution I’m working on for my collage series that embracing my love of texture, giving a more messy, loose feel. Also taking my own portraits of models will be the next challenge and learning process. I’ve been talking with others artists on the possibility of collaborating, so that’s also something I’m looking forward to.
                                            In a wider scoop, I want to expand my work to other locations like, Miami, New York, and possibly London. I think my work fits well in those areas as well as Los Angeles. I’d love to collaborate with fashion designers and campaigns for businesses. As well as create my own ethical t-shirt line that has an urban feel with motivating but bold messages.
                                              A passion project Amy Smith is currently working on with her co-founder is a podcast called, "The Everyday Awesome" celebrating the creative community living passionate lives. Launching this fall. @theeverydayawesome
                                                In addition to creating art Smith believes it is important to create projects that create awareness and actionable change. Check out these amazing projects and organizations you will contribute to while supporting this local artist.
                                                  KPFK- Pacifica Radio - Local radio station bringing important news stories that is listener funded.
                                                    Project Angel Food - Los Angeles based non-profit dedicated to creating specifically tailored nutritious meals to the critically ill.
                                                      Off The Wall Graffiti- Los Angeles based non-profit dedicated to nurturing and mentoring at risk artists in the style of legal graffiti and mural art.
                                                        Legacy Collective- A giving community focused on finding solutions for systemic social issues around the world.
                                                          Kiva- a non-profit that's mission is to alleviate poverty through micro-lending.