Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Focus On : Artist Amber MacGregor

        Recently I had the opportunity to have a virtual chat with Victoria artist Amber MacGregor- painter, portrait artist, moon gazer and digital collage master - she is an artistic force to be reckoned with. In addition to managing her own career as an artist Amber also lends her Social Media talent to a number of additional projects including her online Collective- The Golden Goose.  In an ideal word we would be sitting down at the same table with a cup of coffee- so imagine this is the case and pull up a spot at the table for our chat on art and most importantly favourite art supplies!

WDFS - I love that your love of nature comes shining through in your work- be
it a detailed painting of a moth or the moon  or the natural light on a
portrait subject's hair. What is your relationship with the natural world? 

AM- Being a city girl, I've always been in awe of nature, though I'd have to say it's sort of a fearful awe.  I think I should spend much more time out in it, and have been trying to lately. I think getting out into the natural world is the most beautiful experience there is, I love plants and trees, and so many creatures and water and of course our stately Queen the Moon.

WDFS- What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing our earth? 

AM- I would have to say humans are the biggest challenge facing the earth, but I also hope that we will adopt new ways of doing things and help to save her from our own idiocy. It's tough because convenience has become so important in our fast paced lives, and people worry so much about the economy and making ends meet that they don't take into account all of the things that they do every day that are damaging to our planet on some level. From the clothes we buy that are dyed in chemicals to the little packets of snacks we purchase for our kids, that end up on the playground and eventually in the ocean or eaten by birds. In my art practise I even consider the impact of my supplies. I work in acrylic which is a plastic polymer. That's a big issue for me, sometimes I wish I had never learned to paint in acrylic. I do my best to make sure none of my paint gets into the water system along with some very nasty chemical compounds, but in the long run I will have to use up my paint and move on to another medium like watercolour or sewing. I figure I'm just going to have to learn some new skills and that isn't a bad thing just an evolution of my art practise.

WDFS- Which artists would you say have been the biggest influence on your
work- how and why? 

AM- Wow, that's a hard one because I find so many artists influential. My early influences were definitely Gustav Klimt, and Alphonse Mucha both used a highly stylized and decorative approach to their work that I still find fascinating. I did a lot of work looking at Velasquez and the Pre-Raphaelites when I was younger because I have a deep love of figurative work. I would have to say that lately I am finding so many artists fascinating in so many mediums that it's hard to keep track sometimes. I've been looking at the paintings of Henning Kles lately which have an eerie magical quality and the video work of Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon, which have a similar ghostly feeling I am trying to emulate. I also really love the work of Hanneline Rogeberg, Edith Lebeau, Mimi Kirchner, and Andrea Couch. The thing that what got me started on my current Moon phase was an amazing piece by Michelle Holmes who is an incredible fabric artist from England that I came across by chance on Facebook.

WDFS- Because I am still an art supply nerd at heart what are your favourite
materials to work in? Anything different you might like to try?

AM- I'm a total art supply nerd too. I'm sure that comes of working at an art supply store for years no? I really love all the things you can do with acrylic mediums and paints but I am trying to get away from those and move into some more eco friendly options. I really love the colour choices in Daniel Smith watercolours they have some amazing iridescents which appeal to my magpie sensibilities. I also love papers, especially printmaking and watercolour papers, I am getting into painting on them a bit more lately too, some really nice ones are Waterford and that lovely pale blue Stonehenge paper. You know I could go on all day, so I'll just stop there.

WDFS- I know you run several artist Social Media pages including your own-
what role do you think social media now plays in fine arts?

AM-I think that it's great that artists can get their work out there on their own. So many artists are shy people who find it difficult to approach galleries or maneuver through the social scene of the Art World in such a way that they can find their niche, find clients or make sales in that way. I think that the internet and social media have really helped to open up the whole scene to new artists who would be really hard to find otherwise. It also makes it possible to live just about anywhere and find an audience for your work in any other place that your media can reach via computer. I find it really fun to make artist pages and organize websites and things like that it's a whole other side of my art practise that I appreciate for it's visual appeal as well as knowing it's information and images that I can pass on out there into the world.

   If you are interested in seeing more of Amber's beautiful work be sure to check out her website and blog www.ambermacgregor-artist.ca as well as her fun and crafty Etsy collective- The Golden Goose Collective! Thank you Amber for giving us a peek into what makes you tick and such beautiful work happen!

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