Saturday, September 10, 2011

September, 2011 Artist of the Month

For the month of September the Westchase Artists Society's featured artist is Amy Lennard Gmelin. Amy's a relatively new member to the club and has managed to hit the ground running. Amy participated in our Summer Showcase at Great Art and Frame and even sold one of her fantastic pieces. So without further delay here's Amy's interview:

Question: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Amy: I grew up in New York and New Jersey and now happily reside in New Port Richey, FL with my husband and son. For a long time I was a professional student but did eventually get a BFA in Photography from the University of Florida (GO GATORS). I quickly learned that a career in art does not pay the bills so I entered the healthcare field and that is my present occupation. When I'm not working I can usually be found in my spacious 6' x 6' corner of the garage. This is the first year that I have attempted to sell any of my artwork and so far so good. Some of my concrete sculptures can be found at and also at three different venues in the Tampa Bay area. My other loves besides family and art are in no particular order: eating massive amounts of chocolate, watching Dallas Cowboys football if they're winning, buying plants before the money runs out... etc. etc. etc.

Question: What first made you want to become an artist?
Amy: I can't think of what made me want to become an artist -- I think I've just always been one. I've always been amazed by the textures and patterns I see in everyday objects or nature, for exampe; cracks in the sidewalk, peeling paint on old buildings, or moss growing on rocks gets me every time. I'm one of those crazy people that picks up rusty pieces of metal in the middle of the road and I feel like I've found buried treasure -- it's all art to me.

Question: Describe your creative process.
Amy: I have tried many different art forms and media over the years from paint to clay to photography, but I have finally found my artistic soul mate in concrete. I create functional sculptures using ordinary grey Portland cement and sand purchased straight from the home improvement store. One of my goals in life is to show that concrete is not just for sidewalks and countertops -- it can take the form of so many unique and beautiful shapes, textures and colors. The pieces that I create are produced in many different ways because I love to experiment. At least once a day I think to myself "what would happen if I..." And so some of these sculptures are produced by pushing concrete into various molds (glass, plastic, cardboard, etc.) or by carving or chiseling a semi-hardened concrete block. I will then incorporate acid stains, colored sand, found objects -- anything that strikes my fancy at the time. I usually start out with a drawing or idea in mind and then end up with something completely different from my original plan.

Question: Top 5: books, movies, songs, websites, groups

Amy: I am not a big movie fan -- short attention span for anything on a screen -- so I'll go back in time and list "When Harry Met Sally" as a favorite movie. Love all different types of music: The Beatles, Third Day, Alison Krauss, India.Arie, the list could go on forever. A few of my favorite authors are Nicholas Evans (The Horse Whisperer), Alice Hoffman (Turtle Moon), and Sarah Addison Allen (Garden Spells).

Question: In ten years I'd like to be...

Amy: Healthy and Happy

Wow! What a great interview. It was a blast getting to know a little bit more about Amy's process and inspiration. I for one now have a whole new perspective on concrete thanks to Amy. Stay tuned for our next Artist of the Month!