The second in my interviews with other creative business owners, please enjoy Amy Crook and Antemortem Arts. Amy is one of those people whom I am just delighted to know about.
Q: Amy, being a working artist seems so impossible to most of us non-artists. So, tell us what you do!
A: I’m an artist living in the San Francisco East Bay. I paint small, strange watercolors & draw whimsical fandom cartoons so grown-up geeks can bring real art into their daily lives. My goal is to create beauty and delight where none existed, especially for the communities closest to my heart.
You do indeed create delight. I get your blog and it often just makes me smile.
Q: Tell us a very important person (VIP) to you being the artist you are today. I know that it is always a process, but I am curious about how creative people find their way—and who guides them.
A: When I was in art school, lo these many years ago, I had a wonderful sculpture professor named Yoshitomo Saito. Saito-sensei had a wonderful way of looking at things from a different angle, and challenging us to see beyond the initial idea to present everyday things in a new way. He does these amazing bronze sculptures that mix the natural world with an abstract sensibility, and even though I’ve moved from sculpture to oils to watercolors, I always try to keep in mind this idea of art being more than just reproduction of everyday life. That art can add an element of surprising thoughtfulness and delight to something otherwise mundane and simple.
I know that the art I respond to isn’t always the art I would describe if someone asked me what I like. I love the idea of art being more than a reproduction.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your art and what it is about from your perspective.
A: I create two kinds of art, dorky cartoons about media I’m a fan of, and small, strange watercolors. Everywhere I look, I see people saying that I should pick one or separate them somehow, but I get a lot of people who come for the Doctor Who and stay for the paintings, so I feel like I’m on the right track with my audience. I basically want to make things for people like me, who love a lot of different stuff, that makes them feel better, happier in their spaces.
I think everyone deserves something that’s beautiful or makes them smile — or better yet, both! And nerds are my people, someone who knows which House they belong in at Hogwarts or has a favorite Doctor. I also have an inordinate love for Halloween and all its spooky trappings that shows up in my work all year, from orange sunsets with bare black trees, to strange cities painted in monochrome under looming skies.
I completely came for the Doctor Who (I bought some of her cards for my husband) and stayed for everything else. I purchased a small watercolor because it completely captured a sea turtle. I gave it to my mom as a memory of her life in Maui.
Q: Describe a place that is meaningful to your work or how you work.
A: I work at home, mostly at a folding table in my living room covered in this awesome heavy canvas tablecloth I got at Target that’s covered in skulls, bats, and pumpkins. Like everything else in my life, it exists in a perpetual state of semi-organized clutter. Looking around my apartment, I can see weird and wonderful objects in every corner, snuggling up to the books in my shelves and nestling in unexpected nooks. I’ve totally achieved my childhood goal of being one of those little old men in a bookshop full of bizarre tomes and magical objects, only I’ve somehow crossed it with the artist that works in their pajamas with their cats.
I love the helpful black cat. That is impressive tagging in that book, which would indicate you are not dis-organized!
Q: Please tell me what is going on in your business now, and any exciting projects you have going on or coming up. Also here is the place to tell us any other personal things that I didn’t allow you to mention above!
A: The most exciting things in my business right now are the monthly Floating Gallery, which is like a virtual pop-up shop of new art that lasts for 8 days; my Patreon patrons, who are awesome and supportive and multiplying weekly; and Periscope, where I’m starting to actually enjoy doing live art.
It’s moving into my time of year, with Halloween followed by the winter holidays after that, and it feels like the world is taking a breath and getting a little lighter after the heaviness of the summer. I’m taking that breath with everyone, and then using all that inspiration in the air to make new art.
Most of us look at the shortening days and feel heaviness—so thank you for a different perspective!