Amie Williams embodies endless amounts of personality from sensitive to wild and across the spectrum to a peaceful sense of spirituality. She and I met at her Winter Street Studio December 16, 2011. Her studio was filled with artwork. Each piece activated an inner dialogue — what was she feeling when she created this? What thoughts flowed inside her mind? What do I make this painting mean? It’s no surprise I chose to integrate her work into my personal journey – one of relating through patterns, people, and art. There were several framed works that bordered into my intuitive, calm nature and I could create a sense of consciousness and relatedness with her imagery. Others, barreled my sense of erratic temperament and juvenile anxiety.
Artiste Illumination: Amie Williams
How do you classify your artwork?
I have over 200 paintings in my current body of work and they span across a variety of genres – mostly abstracts with figurative abstracts on occasion. I just really love abstract because it can be interpreted in a number of ways but I do like figurative. I’ve been thinking of integrating it into my abstract.
What’s the earliest memory of your inclination to art?
I remember in first grade when we were reading in class, I had a plain looking bookmark to hold my place. I thought about how pretty it would be adding color and imagination. I would want to come back again and again to open my book and continue to read the pages. Pretty soon, I was making decorative book marks for everyone in class! I used multiple colored pens and put the student’s name on it as a finishing touch. The bookmarks looked similar to the beautiful stained glass I had seen at church on Sundays. I still have a few of those bookmarks at home. I guess as a child, I was constantly seeking to show my newest creation to friends and family. I would take my mom to local art contests and I remember winning three times and my pictures even appearing in the local paper. She was very proud. Some things never change – I still love it when people tell me about their feelings on my work.
Do you have a passion for any other art?
I love listening to music. I am really into the rare genre of 1980’s industrial music with bands from countries like Belgium and Germany. Many of these songs feature machine-like industrial sounds and dark brooding subject matter to a dance beat. It’s sinisterly haunting and fun at the same time. To this day, I still love dancing to this music. I also played an instrument in high school. I played the clarinet with the marching band – not quite as sinister, still a rewarding experience. Yeh, I played the clarinet.
Do you listen to music while you are painting?
Well, I have listened to some music while painting and some paintings have been inspired by Thrill Kill Kult. There is one painting in particular I can recall, it’s called “You Liars Repent”. The painting was inspired by the song A Daisy Chain 4 Satan.
Do you have any formal training?
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art with a specialty in Graphic Design from Lamar University in Beaumont. I took all of the fine art classes offered at Lamar. I loved figure drawing, pastels, watercolor, and history – there are wonderful memories. Actually, Lamar has a surprisingly prestigious Fine Arts program for a small Texas oil-town like Beaumont. I enjoyed the university very much but my fondest memories are of my most inspiring professor, Dr. Jerry Newman. Dr. Newman always pushed his students to achieve more than they thought possible. He was one of the greatest artists I have known personally. My time at Lamar gave me opportunities to explore all facets of the art world. As a result, I have a deep appreciation for artists of all types and especially for the inspiration they put into their work.
Is anyone in your family considered or considers themself an artist?
My mother is a wonderful artist who uses oil paint and acrylics; she paints more realistically than I do. My grandfather was an artist and my uncle is an artist as well. My uncle used to work real detailed landscape drawings – my grandfather too, as well as, paintings. He was a first draftsman with Dupont – a company in Orange, Texas. I’m guess I’m following in his footsteps because I am also a Mechanical Designer. These relatives are all on my mother’s side of the family and I believe this explains where I get my artistic abilities.
What is your work experience in the art field, if any?
I’ve been at Winter Street Studios for about six months. I recently got back into painting a little over a year ago. As for working in the field, I worked briefly as a graphic designer in my twenties. More recently, I have designed logos as a side project for corporate and small business ventures. I learned at an early age that supporting myself by selling paintings would be difficult. Currently, I work with Auto CAD and Inventor as a Mechanical Designer at Cameron.
What is your experience in the realm of arts?
I have shown my current body of work at many galleries and studios mainly in the Houston community; however, I’m excited about the idea of visiting other galleries around the country and sharing my work with new people. In October, I had my first solo show with Mark and Joanna Roden’s gallery JoMar Visions. It was awesome. Mark and Joana are close friends. They worked with me and Erik, my boyfriend, on the installation. We installed a large portion of my collection, including a series of four 4’x4’ fluorescent works I created for a Beaumont dance club. We illuminated these with black lights and they gave the show a festive atmosphere. Another friend, Michael Lombardino –a professional DJ — played ambient house music to set the mood. It was a magical night plus I sold six paintings at that show! I just had so much fun. My work has started to garner amazing attention. Aside from the solo show, collectors and art aficionados have recently been purchasing my work.
Is there a particular individual(s) that influence(s) you? What is it that captured your attention about their work?
I am mostly inspired by modern art. I first go to Van Gogh, Picasso, and Kandinsky. I generally admire the use of forms and colors they used. In particular Van Gogh, for his use of color and freedom in application. Picasso, especially his pioneering vision with the Cubist movement and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Kandinsky, his beliefs on the spiritual aspect of art and how different colors evoke different vibrations on the spirit. Kandinsky’s theory on vibrational energy influences my work. I really believe different colors evoke different vibrations that affect your soul and spirit. Art can be very therapeutic. Frida Kahlo’s surrealist work is also inspiring. Frida painted out of physical and emotional pain. It shows in her most moving pieces.
Every artist has a specific medium they favor – what is yours? Is there any other medium you are interested in exploring?
I am constantly experimenting with acrylic paints. Most of my work is 16” x 20”. Not all pieces are big but I have recently started getting bigger and bigger with the latest one being 36” x 48”. Acrylic really is my favorite medium at present. I like diluting paint in hypodermic needles and syringes. I use them to draw lines. I really like using squeeze bottles. I tend to use squeeze bottles a lot along with brush strokes and spattering combinations. I’ll use plastic bristle brushes to give the scratch look. I find acrylic paint is both practical and malleable. I painted with oil pastels in college. I’d be interested in exploring oil pastels again someday. They are really neat to work with.
What kind of topics or subjects do you find yourself discovering in your art?
Energy. Energy is present all around in multiple states. I believe in esotericism – that all things are composed of energy. I paint my interpretation of this and I explore this in my paintings. The colors I choose emit frequencies and vibrations of energy. This energy, interpreted into the colors and textures, has healing properties for viewers’ moods and feelings of well-being. For me, painting has been very therapeutic, especially in this way. I believe it can be therapeutic for others who view it as well.
What inspires you to create?
I believe that for me, inspiration often comes from the “divine”. I believe my faith in God works through me to create and I am simply a channel. I am constantly inspired by nature and the positive energy of God’s Earth, which brings joy, and happiness. I paint bright, colorful paintings. I like to paint when I’m happy but unfortunately I’m not always happy. Sometimes I can paint from pain I may be feeling. There is one painting called “One Difficult Weekend” and it is about a difficult weekend I had.
Do you work based on a theme or stream of consciousness?
I sometimes create my work based on a theme. But I usually work spontaneously and create the feeling I have right at that time. I do not define my particular style. I am constantly experimenting with different techniques. I’m drawn to different colors and make my palette. Sometimes, I have an idea of the color palette I want to use but I’m very spontaneous.
Let’s talk about the creative process on this piece of art .
“City on Fire”
This painting is called “City on Fire” It is one of my favorites in my collection. The blue has a calming effect that contrasts with the city above. Blue fights to encompass the painting, with calming and assuring vibration, but there is negative energy within. Red is agitates against the calm, forces against it.
When I think about City on Fire, I get a feeling of insecurity and helpless. This is an example of a painting that took on a life of its own during production. It started as a cry for help. It would be impossible to exactly reproduce, as I worked wet. I started with a wet background and then use simple brush strokes adding some dripping and splatter to create the painting. The reddish color that I decided to add was for a complimentary effect. This painting has been given to my mother as a gift.
Do you have a favorite place to brainstorm? What’s that environment like?
I don’t really have one place in particular to brainstorm. I like to sit on the floor with my paints. Ideas just come to me. It’s very subconscious at first. I like to be close to my work and don’t use an easel. I sometimes start spontaneously, with a feeling, an urge, or an idea. I work very ‘in the moment’. The developing piece has a mind of its own – like it wants to take over. An abstract has a way of taking its own direction when I’m in the middle of it.
What is your vision regarding your work? Your hopes?
I want to continue my creativity and have a positive influence on others. I want people who view my pieces to enjoy and like what they see! It’s so cool about abstract art, each individual takes with him his own unique perspective and experience – joy and therapeutic energy manifests in different ways for people of different backgrounds. It makes me happy to have others enjoy and benefit from my work.
What are your thoughts on the highbrow vs. low brow art?
It all depends on the relationship between of the artist and the viewer. One person’s trash can be another person’s life-changing experience, or evoke a treasured memory. I would never look down at an artist whose work inspires a viewer – no matter who that viewer is. At the same time, I have heard of other moving and talented artists who when they get famous suffer from ego that gets in the way of expressing their inspiration. To be honest, some famous artists at the end of their careers, come across as kind of lazy – like they have shown beautiful and innovative work earlier in their careers, but later they’re just kind of phoning it in. But the bottom line is: if the viewer is inspired, or moved, or affected somehow, it’s all good.