Member News June 6, 2014
Her new series of digital paintings is an experiment in mashing up the old and the new — ideas, understandings and processes — to create an original and irreverently “modern” piece. The result is an understated manifesto that sees straight through the cultural norms that define art and society. We caught up with Amber to learn more about her creative process and the inspiration behind her untraditional salute to tradition.
ADC: Where did the idea for this series originally begin?
Amber: This series started out with the piece “Clap Along,” which was inspired by James Victore‘s (ADC Young Guns 1) “Burning Questions: The Relentless Pursuit of Happiness.” It visualizes the idea that happiness isn’t an animal that you hunt down, but an emotion that you allow yourself to feel. (Fangirl moment: I got to meet James and his wife, Laura, briefly in their studio after he saw this on Twitter, and they are two incredibly inspiring people.)
ADC: What are some of the wider themes you’re exploring now?
Amber: From there, the pieces that followed began to be influenced by modern ideas revolving around feminism, equality, modern-day language, social norms, and rebellion. I’m fascinated with the idea of merging the period in which the original artist existed, and his/her surroundings, with the time period in which we currently exist.
ADC: What is the process behind each piece in the series?
Amber: All pieces are digitally painted on top of reproductions of paintings from the 1600’s to the late 1800’s. The making of the images themselves has been a new process for me; because these pieces are all presented on a (mainly mobile) digital platform, all sketching and ideation, in addition to the creation of the final piece, is done on the computer. Though coming from a background of sketching in books prior to digital work, I felt that creating everything digitally would further play into the idea of merging two time periods and their opposing ideals.I do the painting aspect in Corel Painter X3, and then composite the two pieces in Photoshop. I keep the print size small (8×8 inches maximum) to continue the “microcosm of modern-day ideas” aspect into the print side.
ADC: How does digital painting challenge you differently than analog sketching and drawing? How is it similar?
Amber: There are similar challenges to working digitally as there are with sketching, such as finding a compositional balance when illustrating on top of a piece with a solid composition originally. The inability to step away from the painting has been the dominant challenge; not being able to turn it upside-down, and view it in different lighting situations as well (though I have been known to flip my monitor upside-down from time-to-time).
You can find Amber’s work (including other pieces from the series) for sale as prints here!
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