Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Vensel.
Amy, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I’d say creativity was part of my life from a young age. My grandfather was a hobby painter, and we had his paintings all over the house. He had a little studio space set aside in the basement so I assumed making art was something everyone did. My high school had a great art program, and the teachers encouraged me to explore lots of different mediums and delve deeper into the things I found interesting.
In college I studied art and design. I wanted a career that allowed me to do something creative, so after graduating from Syracuse University I moved to New York and worked in advertising. I enjoyed the process of coming up with ideas for ads, but eventually I yearned to make something more lasting and meaningful. I started painting again and rediscovered the joy of creating something on my own terms.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I make paintings that incorporate a mix of gestural, process-based and geometric abstraction. Over time I’ve developed a system of experimenting within set parameters. I start by deciding on a compositional structure for a painting. Then I tape off different areas of the canvas and work on them independently. In some sections of the structured layout I experiment to see what happens. In other sections I react to those uncontrolled marks in order to create a visual relationship. I’m basically setting up a puzzle for myself by generating imagery I can’t control and then figuring out a way to make it work in the painting.
Generally, I don’t use brushes when I paint. I like to wander the aisles of hardware stores and kitchen supply stores to find tools that will make unusual marks. Currently I’m using custom-made tools similar to trowels used to float concrete. These tools allow me to build up layers of acrylic polymer and pigment to create a variety surfaces — from smooth, transparent planes to thick, opaque blankets of color.
A few years ago, I realized that I paint in way that’s similar to the four-color printing we used in advertising — I use single colors in alternating layers and intensities to create the final colors of a piece. I’ll put one layer of acrylic polymer and pigment on the canvas and allow that layer to dry before continuing with the next layer. The drying time can take anywhere from one to three days. Each piece will end up having dozens of layers of paint and polymer. It’s not a quick process, and it can take months to finish a painting.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I’ll have work in a couple of shows coming up this fall. The first show is at the Silvermine Arts Center in New Canaan, Connecticut. It opens October 14 and runs until November 10. I’ll also have work in a group show at The Urban Hive in Sacramento, California from November 2 through January 25.
If they can’t visit a show people can always go to my website, www.amyvensel.com, to see my newest paintings and announcements for upcoming events. I also use Instagram and Facebook to post paintings I’m working on — it’s a great way to follow what’s going on in the studio.
- Website: www.amyvensel.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @amyvensel
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/amy.vensel