Oct 27, 2011
Interview: Amanda Visell Reckons ‘Everything Dies’
[Right before Amanda Visell flies off to Mexico for the opening of her ‘Everything Dies’ solo (11.3) @ Guru Gallery, Vinyl Pulse caught up with her just long enough to pick her brain about her latest work. Enjoy.]
Q: Your next show, 'Everything Dies' revolves around the end of life, from the title to the scheduling with the opening falling on the day after Dia De Los Muertos. What does death mean to you?
AV: Yeah lets start with the light questions... Well I dont believe there is an afterlife beyond being absorbed by the rest of life around us now. You know ther’es a cycle, we eat things, we die, we feed things. So death has to happen for life to exist, but life keeps going, death is really just about the individual.
Q: While the timing of the show makes the theme a natural fit, you seem to gravitate to destruction whether it's rampaging monsters, avenging female warriors, or the modern battlefield. I think you once told me that you draw things you think 'boys' will find appealing -- i.e. guns, bombs, etc. Is that all there is to this story, or is there something more -- a sense of vengeance and perhaps empowerment against oppression ?
AV: Mmmm, well I guess I made this show more about life. Creatures with life buzzing in and around them. Thats’ a bit more of what Dia de los Muertos feels like to me, celebrating life.
There’s always an aspect of attempting art that you hope will be palatable to people. This is my actual job and identity so I’m very lucky as an artist to be able to have complete control of what I make every day. I’m also a big geek so imagery I use is just my own geekiness shining through.
Q: Many of your new paintings have a loose and flowing aesthetic. Characters, in outline form, find themselves jumbled against one another, often embedded in a much larger primary character. This is a new approach for you, right ? It seems to reflect a more relaxed, stream of consciousness style or is that just an illusion ?
AV: No its hard for me. I knew what I wanted the show to look like, individually and as a whole. I had to work to get it there, I destroyed about half of the work I put into it, but Im trying to push myself with every new project.
Q: Titles are an interesting thing. For some artists they seem like a forced ritual, for others they are an integral part of the art itself, not simply describing the visuals but adding context and meaning. You've directly incorporated your titles into many of the pieces themselves as written, cursive text. Are they mantras to be read, re-read and internalized? Memory aids for the forgetful? Homages to the beauty of text or something else entirely ?
AV: Each painting is about one character, all the buzzing of creatures and writing in and around them is the life and moments that make up what they are, the titles come organically.
Q: Beyond your painting, you're known for your 3D sculptural work be it in wood, resin, or plastic. For this show did you approach the two forms differently? Perhaps as complimentary or a way of creating contrast?
AV: Ha, you haven’t seen them yet. Stark contrast.
Q: It's been a little while since you've embraced pop culture in your work. This time around we've got Mr. T. and Mr. Spock and plenty more. Where have they been and are these as fun to paint as one would imagine ?
AV: Not particularly, but I feel like Mr T's eyes follow me.
AV: Well I am raising chickens... what I seem to not be doing is vinyl toys. So write in to your local senator. Thanks Jack, go eat some red vines.
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