Amy Lee ’18 is a four-year senior who excels in fine arts. Painting ever since she was a little girl, Amy continually demonstrated her artistic prowess during her Blair career and was featured in the Blair Art Show multiple times. The Oracle’s Cristóbal Newman recently met with Amy to ask her about her incredible work, and what led her to become the artist she is today.
Cristóbal Newman: What is your art background?
Amy Lee: I took art classes at a museum near my house as a kid, and since those classes, I’ve known that I liked painting. I began regularly going to a studio at the end of middle school, and when I came to Blair, I began taking drawing and painting electives every semester. Junior year [was the first time I] seriously considered art school and [was when I] began taking up art as more than just a hobby.
CN: Is there piece of art you are most proud of? Why?
AL: I wouldn’t say “the most proud of,” but one of the pieces that I consider very important to me is a painting I did of two girls I saw at MoMA on the most recent school trip. I hadn’t made anything that I really liked in a couple of months, and that day at the museum left me inspired and refreshed. I remember going straight to the art room and wildly sketching the two girls and being really excited to start the painting, which was something I hadn’t felt in a long time. This piece also made me truly realize how cathartic art is and it left me feeling [like] more than just a student artist.
CN: How do you know when a work is finished?
AL: When I am completely content with the work. That being said, I don’t have many finished pieces yet.
CN: What inspires your artwork?
AL: Generally going to the museum, looking at other artists’ works, and books I read for pleasure and in class pop into my head when I’m [trying to think of] new ideas. I always want to paint most when I’m feeling angry or sad and want to be left alone.
CN: How did you start making art? Why do you make art?
AL: Sometimes when I’m on a roll and know I’m going to want to get lazy after I finish a piece, I pause what I’m doing and start randomly painting two to three new canvases to give myself new projects to start after the current one. Most of them turn out really ugly or mediocre at first, so seeing the ugly canvas motivates me to work on them. Also, putting down random colors on the canvas can jumpstart your color choosing process because having the background down before starting narrows the range of suitable colors significantly, which can be easier for the artist. And going in with the mindset of having an already-ugly canvas is really comforting because it’s hard to ruin something that’s already ugly, so the pressure is off.
CN: Is there a common theme in your art?
AL: Every time I paint I try to include all the colors in the rainbow at least once. I love choosing colors and mixing and matching them, so I think in most of my works you can find all of ROY G. BIV.
CN: Are there any artists that inspire you?
AL: Malevich and Kirchner are my current favorites. I usually don’t like geometric works that are done more with rulers and compasses than paints and brushes, but Malevich and his work really stand out to me. I also really, really love Kirchner’s use of color and how they’re all such soft pastel tones and friendly colors even though his paintings are so sad and dark. They’re both so amazing that my attempts to describe their greatness seem borderline sinful.
(Copyright 2018 Cristobal Newman)