A friend asked to do a mock interview with me for one of her projects. I thought I'd share my witty and wise words here.
Tell us a bit about how you came to be an artist.
Ever since I was really young, I loved painting. I would paint my clothes, I'd paint little figurines, I painted rocks - no surface was safe from me. I remember loving the process of taking a bunch of pure paint, and spreading it to transform another surface. The textures, the colours, the effects of blending: I've been obsessed with them for as long as I can remember. After high school, I didn't really question the fact that I wanted to study art - not fully knowing how this would be actualized - but confident of this nonetheless. I studied studio art at McMaster University, and now work and create in Hamilton, Ontario.
What is your medium of choice?
Fluid acrylic paint & all its corresponding counterparts.
What is your favorite part about painting?
I like the the unpredictable, uncontrollable effects that paint surprises me with. My method of choice over the past few years has been to drop and pour paint onto flat surfaces, using gravity and forces of flow to "free-form" as they will. I like using transparencies that dry to different opacities- it's a really fun process of discovery when the painting is dry.
Do you ever see yourself branching off to other mediums when it comes to art making?
For sure. In particular I'd love to gain skill in graphic design and in calligraphy. But my exploration of fluid acrylic has taken over all my artistic interest and time for now, and I feel like I'm barely scratching the surface. So for now, I'll keep at it.
What is your studio like?
It is homey, comfortable, and has a TV in it. Oh wait - it's my living room.
Who are some of the artists you admire?
Some of the greats - Picasso, Cezanne, and VanGogh. Contemporary artists that I love are Anselm Kiefer and this fluid acrylic artist named Holton Rower.
What do you do when you're not creating paintings?
I work FT as a Project Coordinator for Art Forms, a youth arts studio. I also teach music lessons from my home, and recently I co-started a small makers' collective called Benchdog Collective, where I make wood & epoxy jewelry.
If you had a million dollars what would you do with it?
I've thought about this a lot. I'd buy a huge studio with perfectly level floors, and I'd pour huge paintings on sheets of clear plastic, 8-foot plywood, metal mesh (and sculpt with them when dry). I'd give some of it to Nate, my smart partner, to design and create a table with an adjustable surface so I could control the tilt on a piece while working on it, or time it so that the tilt changes throughout the drying process. Then I'd pay off all my student loans and donate the rest to Art Forms so I can keep working there for forever.
Where can we buy some of your work?
I have a few places where I exhibit occasionally (James North Studio, Hamilton Artists Inc.,the Pearl Company), but nothing constant at this point. I keep my website fairly current, so you can view what I make and have for sale at www.amberaasman.ca.
Do you dream of painting full time?
Not really - I really enjoy the community-based work that I do at Art Forms, as well teaching music. I love the various incarnations of my arts training, and can't imagine giving any of them up at this point.
What is the hardest part about being a studio artist?
At this stage in my career/life, it's lacking the funds for space and materials to create the large scale works that I really want to pursue. In addition, I think my work has a bit of an experiential component, so in some ways requires in-person contact for a viewer. This is not a problem in and of itself, but it takes some careful planning when applying for shows digitally or when sharing work online. This also usually just means a smaller viewership (though the interaction is arguably higher "quality"). Last challenge is taxes. Those are hard.
Making & co-creating