Q and A with Amy Wright

By Laura Main ()

Can you tell us a bit about Near and Far? Did you know what this collection looked like before you started painting?

I generally don’t have an idea how works will work together until I am in the depths of it all. I find that having an end product in my mind, just cripples my process.  

In saying that, the layout/size of the gallery the works would be shown in was considered.  Working smaller than I normally do was a conscious choice. I wanted individual paintings to be hung together to suggest larger paintings.

 These days I have a finite amount of time in the studio every day, so my practice has become more routine orientated. Near and Far is a collection of works that emulates these routines. The ’Far’ being abstract works that capture the memories of the landscapes I spend time in, and ’NEAR’ being more botanical focused works; capturing my inclination to bring objects / specimens back into the studio.

 Run us through your morning routine!

Oh how things have changed. I am a domesticated goddess in the morning. Bahahaha!

My morning routine is dictated by my little girl Maeve, who is now 17months. First Coffee. Then everything revolves around food, poo, getting dressed, ‘BabyJake’ cartoon and stickers and drawing. Together, we always go out for a coffee/walk.I need the change of scenery to keep me sane. We live near the Barwon River and the Surf Coast (We are just outside Geelong in a little historic hamlet called Ceres) and there are some pretty lovely walks. Invariably Maeve will fall asleep in the car as we get home and I run out to the studio in the garden, for my daily ‘power session’ while she sleeps,  that can last anywhere from an hour to 2.5hrs. I have no idea how I will be able to work once she drops her day sleep???!

 What do you listen to while you are working?

This changes based on my mood and what I plan to be working on in the studio. If I am starting new work I generally tend to listen to Orchestral movie music scores without any vocals. My go to are Abel Korzeniowski and Dario Marianelli. My music tastes swing widely from classical, folk, 90s techno, and cheesy love ballads!  When I am working on lots of detail areas and slower going work, I love the odd podcast or even audio books. I enjoy the ‘Talking With Painters’, ‘Conversations’ and ‘The Inquiry’ Podcasts.

 What are some of the biggest lessons that you have learnt over your career (and these do not have to just be art related as you are also a business woman)?

To stop procrastinating and just start. 

Stop overthinking things.

Say yes and work it out later, but know when something doesn’t feel right and to say No. I am a massive advocate of trusting your gut. Any time I’ve ignored it, things have always turned bad.

 

I definitely have a heap of moments in my life that when I look back I shudder; do you have any defining fuck-ups that have influenced you later on?

Oh I have many of them, but none that I can think of as being defining…. Embarrassing YES!  

 

When I first met you years ago when you had A Shop Called Milton I had no idea you were an artist! Have you always been a painter? Would you do anything other than being an artist?

That does seem like a very long time ago now. I’ve always created, whether it be painting, drawing, sculpture. When I answer questions like this, I am always surprised by how many incarnations I have had in my creative career. I initially started my training as a Sculpture Student at VCA, before jumping ship and moving over to RMIT to study Textile Design, where I majored in Printed Textiles. I taught the practical side of Print for a while at RMIT before taking on an internship in Automotive with General Motors in Detroit USA.  On my return, I worked for a small Taiwanese Textile company designing fabrics for the transport industry, before moving over to GM Holden and working in their Colour and Trim Studio for a number of years. At the same time I was designing and printing my own fabrics for my brand ‘Wunderplant’ which at that point mainly offered cushions, throws and printed wall art. 

 This was all before A Shop Called Milton! The shop I had for a couple years - part working studio, part retail, part cafe. At the closure of the store, I never wanted to make a cushion ever again! So at that point Wunderplant transitioned into a Flower studio - I had always painted and drawn flowers so the were always around, so it was a pretty natural progression. I was totally self taught. I worked in floristry for nearly 6 years and worked on events and weddings primarily. I absolutely loved working with flowers, but it is hard hard yakka.  I worked out of  my  tiny second bedrooms, or took over the living room in whatever flat I lived in at the time, before crazily moving into a warehouse space in Elsternwick. It was a bloody awesome space, but it was RAW. Really a glorified underground carpark! But here, I had the space and freedom to make a mess, so I started back into my painting in ernest alongside the endless weekend parade of flowers. I had my first solo show “Fallowland” at Brunswick Street Gallery in 2016. We moved to Geelong early 2017, I stopped floristry mid 2017 (My body was tired!) and our daughter arrived late 2017. 

 I am always keen to try new stuff and I love learning - I’m a nerd. I would love to return to do some Ceramic work in the future. I am an Artist. Its just who I am. I couldn’t stop creating if I tried. 

 Painting works for me.  I can do it in tandem to raising my little girl. It is really important to me and my partner Steve, that I be at home with Maeve while she’s little.  We don’t have much family help (Steve, being English has all his family in the UK), so I set my world up to facilitate being at home. 

 

Who and what gets your blood pumping?  

I can’t stand arrogance and the bullying mentality. Especially in the art world. Makes me fume! 

My pet hates; when people say ‘You’re so lucky you get to play with flowers all day’ and ‘Did you have a nice day off” when referring to a day spent painting in the studio.

On a parting note – what would you want other young females/artists/businesswomen to know as they kick off their careers? Perhaps what did you wish you had of known before you first started out?

If you are passionate about something, stick to your guns.  You will always have people questioning the validity of what you are doing. If you believe it is right and where you need to be, you will find ways to make it viable for you.  Your idea of success is your own, it might look very different to someone else’s.  If I had listened to all those people telling me what I was doing was never going to make me any money and that I would never support myself as a creative, I would have pulled the pin a long time ago. For me, those comments just drove me to find creative ways to support my artistic pursuits. I may never be a millionaire, but I get to do something that I love everyday and I am very appreciative to all of those wonderful people out there that have shown their support during my creative journey. 

 Oh and ask for help - I’m still working on this one!

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE FULL CATALOGUE FROM NEAR AND FAR PLEASE CLICK HERE