From uBe Art Gallery's "Drive-By Interview" series, in conjunction with their MyScape group Exhibition. Nov/Dec 2016, in Berkeley, CA.
magic wizards, mighty creatures, and valiant heroes
12/09/2016 uBe Art
Launching our next round of Drive-by Interviews is artist Amory Abbott--one of 26 artists featured in our current exhibition, MyScape.
What are you presently inspired by?
My recent work has been inspired by the theme of Darkness, and I draw creative influence from three main sources that meet at darkness: Gothic Romanticism, Dark Ecology, and Black Metal.
Words to live by?
"The answer is in the studio."
Do you encounter misconceptions about being an artist?
Quite a bit. A frequent misconception I run into is people perceiving me as some sort of special genius, as if I was someone with other-worldly talents that are off limits to normal people. While that can be flattering, I think it ultimately devalues the artistic profession, insinuating I was lucky enough to find a shortcut in life to success, rather than face the trials and tribulations of other traditional professions.
Person: "Wow, you're such a great artist!"
Me: "Well, I've got a masters degree in art and I've been practicing for over 20 years."
Person: "Yes, but you're so gifted!"
Me: "No, I've got a masters degree in art and I've been practicing for over 20 years.
What I'd like to make clear to those people is that I've been devoted to learning a skill, a trade, and a craft, for a long time to get where I'm at. Anyone gets better at anything when they do it for a long time, and higher education only fortifies it. I may have a knack for art, but everyone has a knack for something. Like any other struggling professional, I've had to be self-disciplined, follow my passions, find my best outlets and most compelling interests, properly educate myself (and take on massive student debt), and have years upon years of practice to become good at it.
When you are in need of inspiration are there particular things you read, listen to or look at to fuel your work?
When I need inspiration, I go to the woods. I look at the trees, the rocks, listen to the water, the mountains. I let the wilderness tell me what it needs, and when I find it, I go home and research like crazy.
In an imaginary world where your artwork could speak, what would it say?
My landscape work typically depicts the world in a state of cataclysmic change, as a realization of our planetary future through the lens of Dark Ecology. I suppose my world would say something along the lines of "Dear selfish humans, you did what you did, and regardless of right or wrong, it's over. You will not live to see what follows, but it will be ok. The earth will right itself, and life will begin again."
Describe a quality have you retained since childhood?
Since I was young I've been an advocate for wild places. I've always lived close to nature and have certainly retained a healthy fascination with the wilderness as a place of power, or ancient magic. I credit my childhood obsession with J.R.R. Tolkien and his fictional world of Middle Earth. Listening to The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings being read to me, and reading through the picture books, my fascination with fantasy realms with magic wizards, mighty creatures, and valiant heroes has kept my sense of wonder alive and active.
What does creating art provide for you?
Creating art provides me a visual context to explore my interests in history, the environment, and contemporary issues. It's also a profession that allows me to focus on practice, discipline, research, philosophy, and whatever else makes it in. It's also deeply satisfying to see how feelings come out on paper, and to share those visceral experiences with others through my work.