February 2015 Artist of the Month | Chris Ann Ambery

Congratulations to our February Artist of the Month, Chris Ann Ambery! She was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine‘s Annual Art Competition. Her painting, Joyous Dance, is below. Keep scrolling to see what Ambery has to say about art and life.

Smithtown, NY ~ www.chrisannambery.com

Joyous Dance (silk screen, 30x22)

Joyous Dance (silk screen, 30×22)

Many of my earliest childhood memories revolve around creating things. I can easily remember many drawings and paintings that I did as a child. I focused on art in high school, earned my BFA in Illustration at Parsons School of Design and studied with David Passalaqua at the Passalaqua school of Drawing and Illustration. I had placed my professional career on hold in order to raise my family but thanks to the encouragement of my students in my drawing, watercolor and painting classes, I am currently pursuing an MFA in printmaking at LIU Post.

I consider myself a multi-disciplinary artist, working in paint, watercolor, printmaking and installation. I enjoy exploring many different mediums and often mixing them and employing them in non-traditional ways. My work is both figurative and abstract. For Joyous Dance, my daughter who is a dancer inspired me. I was fascinated by the shapes that were formed as she and the other dancers moved across the stage drawing you in and out of space, creating layers of transparent and fleeting movements and at times morphing into one.

Most of my work begins with drawing. I think through my hands and develop ideas in my sketchbook. I prefer to work from life, but that isn’t always possible so I will work from a combination of photos and video. I am always drawn to intense vibrant colors and often combine shape and line to create dimension. Once I have developed an idea I break it down in layers to create the silk-screen and experiment with color and opacity of shape. For Joyous Dance, each layer was a surprise. I had so much fun creating the different layers of opaque and transparent shapes and lines. Originally I had only one layer of line but it didn’t feel right so I added another and suddenly the image began to move.

Sometimes it will take me months to develop the image and idea sometimes an hour or so. Printmaking processes are generally not as immediate as drawing. This piece came about through a series of experiments; it developed over the course of a few weeks and was the beginning of a larger body of work.

Art isn’t created in a vacuum. There have been many people in my life who have encouraged and inspired me. However I would especially like to thank: my family for always encouraging and supporting me even when they don’t quite get what I’m up to; David Passalaqua for teaching me how to draw and more importantly how to be my own artist; Seung Lee and the professors at LIU Post for their inspiration and advice; and especially Rick Mills for introducing me to printmaking.

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