Today's contributor, Amanda Michelle Smith, is an Ohio-based ceramicist whose work combines highly ornate textures and colors with a mischievous playfulness and otherworldly quality that I can’t get enough of. I love the way she combines painting and ceramics, using the raised pieces to create things like flower petals, leaves, and other decorative elements. All these little touches really make the work come alive! You feel like you're living in the space, surrounded by little girls in ruffled dresses and monsters as playmates.
There are definitely elements to Amanda's work that feel strange and mysterious, like a children's book on acid, but, at the same time, there is something very familiar about the scenes, as if you've lived through them before. That deja vu feeling may come from the fact that most of Amanda's narratives are based on actual stories from her childhood. The visuals may seem bizarre or exaggerated, but the emotions, the experiences, are real.
If you would like to see more of Amanda's work, you can check out her website, right here. You can also follow her on Instagram. Scroll down to read all about her inspirations. Thanks, Amanda! ~Erin
I love podcasts and listen to them while I'm working in the studio a lot. If you like art, I would recommend Art For Your Ears by Danielle Krysa (a.k.a. The Jealous Curator). They're great because they're just conversations with a bunch of different artists and they offer you a glimpse into their lives and studio practices.
I really liked the book Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Berkeley sociologist Arlie Russel Hochschild. I think it helped me take baby steps towards climbing some "empathy walls" as she puts it.
My husband and fellow artist, Casey, just introduced me to one of his favorite movies the other night. It's a French film called La Haine. It follows three teenage boys who live in an impoverished minority neighborhood in Paris and clash with the police, skinheads, and each other. It was made in 1995, but it was amazing to me how relevant it seems twenty-three years later. I also think one of the best movies on Netflix right now is The Witch. Everyone should watch that too.