Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bon Jour Amy!

I just cannot say enough great things about Amy Abshier-Reyes' work.  
She is one of my favorite artists and a former Kansas City Art Institute graduate.  
Her haunting portraits of women are mesmerizing, murky, and ethereal.  
Right up my alley!

1. Name, Astrology sign, and location please.

My name is Amy Abshier-Reyes, I'm a Scorpio (November 13th), and I live in Kansas City, Missouri.

2. What are you currently working on?

A whole bunch of stuff! I can never work on just one thing at a time, so right now I'm working on a commissioned eye portrait, some oil paintings for the Blue Gallery, and some small watercolor pieces for my Etsy shop. I have a day job, too: I manage an auction house that deals primarily in antiques. Sometimes it's hard juggling the two, and unfortunately working on art usually loses to the promise of a consistent paycheck. But I paint as often as I can, and at least try to draw or sketch something every day. I post daily sketches and sneak peeks on Instagram (user name Curvilinear) and Flickr. 

"A Time of Hunger and Despair and Giant Insects" oil on board

3. Who are your favorite artists?

Ooooh, that's a tough one. Seems like it changes all the time! Perennial favorites include traditional portrait painters like John Singer Sargent; Pre-Raphaelite painters like Waterhouse; I love Kees Van Dongen, Jenny Saville, Walt Kuhn, Edward Hopper, Lu Cong, Kris Knight. I love figural painting, and I love to see how other people paint flesh. Some painters have got that dialed in so perfectly, I want to just stare and stare at their work and try to figure out their methods.
I love discovering art and artists that inspire me. Those are the moments when I want to just drop everything and go paint!

Untitled pencil and oil study on board

4. What's the best advice you ever received about your career choice?

I think the best advice I ever got was actually not advice, but acceptance. My parents never questioned my passion for art, never quibbled with me about my decision to go to art school instead of a "real" college. They believed in me and my abilities, and I think that's pretty awesome. It allowed me to pursue my dream, sharpen my technical skills, and grow as an artist.

5. Favorite place(s) in your city?

Hmmmm. I like the fact I can drive for ten minutes and be out in the country; that's pretty nice. And on the flipside of that, I like driving through downtown, looking at the skyline and the architecture. I love the Toy and Miniature Museum, and the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art is a wonderful place to visit (and it's free!). The Nelson is a mile from my house, and we go there often.
"Noleta" ink and watercolor on paper

6. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? And while we're at it, what about a different era?
I'd move back to California, no question. The five years I lived there were pretty wonderful, but too expensive to maintain. If money were no object, I'd be on the coast in a fabulous modern home with a HUGE studio. I think I'd stay in the present-day, though. I like my mod cons. And I can still have a 20's inspired bob and wear whatever style of clothing I like. When I hear people talk about simpler times, my brain immediately goes to worst-case scenarios like: "You mean back when people dropped dead from curable diseases? Yeah, that must have been pretty awesome".

7. What do you usually mindlessly doodle? (do you have a picture of this?)


Faces mostly, but I also scribble out boxes full of lines and circles and other patterns.

8. First website you peruse of the day?

Lately it's been Pinterest, then Etsy, then rotten old Facebook. There's a ton of design blogs I love like Remodelista and Desire to Inspire that I look at almost daily, too. I love looking at houses and interiors as much as I love looking at art.

"In the Wayward Garden" oil on canvas

9. What's the worst movie you've ever seen, but secretly love?

I shouldn't say it's the worst, but I LOVE the 1960's movie "Smashing Time". It's a ridiculously silly little movie, but I dig it. 

10. Any pets? Any kids?

I have an elderly cat named Spooky. She was brought into the record store I worked at in 1999: a teeny 7 week old kitten. The guy had found her up under his truck on a wickedly hot September day, and brought her in while he shopped. He asked if I knew anyone who might want her. She's been with me ever since.
I have two kids: an 8 year old daughter and a 3 year old son. They are smart, funny, sweet kiddos. I never really thought I wanted children until I got married, and even then I wasn't into babies. Until I had my daughter. It's amazing how much you fall in love with them. Nothing can prepare you for it. Nothing can prepare you for the loss of sleep, either. Oh, man.

"Always Looking Forward" oil on board

Thanks so much Amy!
You can find more of Amy here, here, and here

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