How would you describe your practice?
I work from home so I am constantly surrounded by my pieces and can pick up my work and go on with it whenever I want. I live alone so having a live./work space has not interfered with my life at all. I try to do a little but every few days but I am more concentrated on my work on the weekends.
What inspires you to make the work that you make?
In terms of my stuffed pieces it is definitely fabrics and textures. I feel something or see a certain pattern and am like “Man I would love to have a stuffed animal from that.” Then I go the the machine and just let the piece create itself. When I approach my painting, I am inspired by my sewn pieces and also feedback from friends and family. Someone will say “Oh you should make a pink starfish monster” I will walk away from that conversation and ultimately make something I feel represents that. I have also had requests to make pieces modeled slightly after the person receiving the piece. Colour is a huge inspiration in my painting and complimentary schemes is something I am naturally drawn to when it comes to my asthetics in my work. I like to make things that will make people smile when they see them.
How would you describe the physical nature of your artwork?
I would say I mostly work in a abstract decorative nature. I am able to produce all types of work but the audience has determined that at this point in my career it is the cute and weird looking creatures that come from the brush and needle I am holding are the most popular. I feel only half responsible for the pieces that come out of my creation process. I sometimes let the brush or sewing machine move a bit on its own to dictate a shape that I am not consciously controlling. I like to see what kinds of animals and faces I can see in the blobs of colour and fabric that I am working with. It is a very rewarding process to not feel too committed or attached to a technique or piece. I find that I am as much an audience member as I am the creator when I approach my work with this mentality.
I like to work with visual texture and the tactility of the piece. Special op effects like neon compliments and glitters are always a favourite of mine as well.
Do you have any friends in Vancouver who are artists that you talk to about your ideas/work on a regular basis?
I like to talk about my work with all types of people but I find venting ideas with fellow artists will help me to get my own ideas in line. It is funny how when you share a difficulty you are experiencing with your work you will find that all of your artist friends are in the same slump. I also like to show works in progress or finished pieces to friends and family to get input on the next step to take or to ask them what they see in the works.
The most rewarding aspect of my art to me is the experience of making something like an abstract painting of a pile of garbage, for example, and having my mom come up and say “Oh what a cute painting of a koala.” The audience rewards me with the experience of interpretation and validation. They create their own story and concept to match the perception they manifest. It truly is beautiful.
What recent work are you the most happy with?
My most recent work that I produced that impressed myself was when I really pushed my own boundaries and created a mixed media piece that incorporated the figure. The figure has been something that I have avoided ever since the days of life drawing at UBC. I decided as of late that pushing myself in any spare time outside of the work that I produce for sale is a key way that I can self validate myself through the explorative process. I have also recently taken up life drawing again and have found it has inspired me to rethink my whole approach to my work. I will always be looking for innovative ways to push my work forward to keep it interesting for the viewer and myself as well.
Any upcoming shows?
I just participated in the Beyond Wonderland show on June 12th at Box Studios. Some of my friends and amazing artists were also in it . I am also always showing/selling pieces at Ainsworth Custom Metal Design’s store front on Granville Island and at South Hollow Studio and Gallery in Courtenay on Vancouver Island. You can view my work at www.amandasavinkoff.com.
Any advice for your peers?
Share ideas and always put yourself out there. If it had not been for my friends and peers that pushed me to put my work in stores and start selling them to their friends, I would never be as successul as I have been. The greatest strength any artist or business person can gain is the courage to take help and advice from others. Not taking things personally and letting your true creative process flow from the heart is the way to achieve the greatest personal gain. If you stay true to that process, you will truly find the road to personal happiness.