We are pleased to introduce Artist Amy Ford.
Amy is one of two Beacon Gallery artists featured in our current exhibition, Art Therapy. The show focuses on the important theme of art as therapy, for both the artist and the audience, through their unique figurative styles.
Drawing upon their own inspirations and distinctive approaches, Ford’s and Meclina’s works express their individual experiences and perceptions through art. Their colorful figurative works illustrate the explorative role that art can play in our lives, while also providing a sense of shared emotional connection with the viewer.
Amy Ford is a mixed media artist who focuses her work on exploring human emotions and the figure in its many dimensions. Her use of large, bold shapes and bright colors creates dynamic and energetic compositions. Often appearing abstract upon close examination, uncanny expressions or portraits reveal themselves to those viewers who take the time to step back and reflect. These distances, in which her work can appeal to audiences in many different ways, are part of her creative process of exploring the push and pull dynamic between the “exterior presentation and the interior truth of her subjects.”
Included in this show are several pieces which seek to portray emotions rather than portraiture. Pieces such as Still Blue without You, Morning Light, and Superspreader each strive to evoke a tenor of emotion unique to their composition.
Beacon Gallery recently interviewed Amy Ford about her path as an artist and how it has guided her to where she is today. The conversation follows:
How did you get started in your career?
I have always considered myself an artist, drawing and painting whenever I could since childhood. My career began, I suppose, when I made a commitment to put my studio work first and let all the details of home and family take a back seat and/or be shared by other family members. Once the studio practice was in place, the rest followed.
What is/was the hardest obstacle(s) you’ve had to overcome in your career?
Giving myself permission to break out of the role of wife/mother/homemaker in order to pursue something that I am passionate about in a focused, organized and intentional way. After 25 years in that role, it wasn’t easy! My husband had to learn to cook some nights, and do laundry and deal with school apps and pick ups. I had handled it all for so long!
What are near-term (and longer-term) plans for the future of your business/initiative/project?
Near-term plans include travelling to Scotland this fall to paint for nine weeks. I can’t wait to see what happens in that dramatic and mysterious landscape! When I return, I’m looking forward to pushing the scale and dimension of my work. Sorry, Christine….but I do just love to work BIG!
I also have an idea for a show that wraps a space visually – with no separation between pieces – all in black and white. I am more and more interested in the challenge of using materials in a stable but not necessarily archival way to communicate my own recently-evolved understanding of my mortality following the death of my brother.
Who or what inspires you in your work as an artist?
I happen to be a person who has more ideas than I know what to do with. I think this is, in large part, because I have been waiting so many years to be at a point in my life that I could be ‘all in’. I have trouble doing things here and there, sort of halfway. So, the time has come!
Four years ago, as all this was beginning to take shape, I took an intense but fabulous largescale life drawing course at UNH with Rick Fox. That course was like a lighting rod that focused everything I’d been doing and learning throughout my life. It continues to inspire me and I am still working through my own mental list of ideas that were generated during that semester.
What impact do you hope or want to make on the public (consumers, the art community, your community,) and/or society in general?
Much of my work ponders philosophical questions. It is not as centered on psychological states and emotions as it is a search for meaning and understanding. Why do we do the things we do? What is the nature of love? What makes me the person that I am? Does our suffering at the hands of others, although unjust, ultimately become our superpower? My personal experiences growing up in a religious community that denied me the opportunity to go to college shaped my thinking and questioning.
Now, as a fifty-one year old woman, I have made the intentional choice not to pursue education for education’s sake but to, instead, learn in a more Rousseauian manner, following my passion for poetry, art and music and finding mentors and inspiration along the way. I find that this style of learning works for me and keeps the flame of curiosity burning bright. I would like to be an example to others that have not had the opportunity to pursue a traditional college education.
Can you share an important misstep you made in your career, and the outcome? What lesson did you learn that may help others, and what advice would you give your younger self?
I have learned the hard way that it is very important as an artist to control the narrative when discussing your process, inspiration, life, and work, especially when your work is inspired by very intense and personal experiences. There has to be a sweet spot of being able to discuss the work without turning it into a journal entry or therapy session.
Ultimately, the work must rise above my own experience and speak to a wider audience. That is the goal. Oversharing may feel good early on when you want to be understood, but ultimately it leaves you feeling overexposed and misunderstood. This happened to me right before my first solo show with a group that I felt was “safe” enough to be really candid with. My candor inadvertently opened the door for an over-the-top emotional response that I was completely ill-equipped to manage.
Can you share something about yourself that others might be surprised to learn?
I begin every painting session by listening to Emmylou Harris’s album Wrecking Ball.
For all other inquiries or to get in touch with Beacon Gallery directly, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org