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Quarantine Confidential: Amy Rice

Are you ok? What are you doing to stay sane & ride out the quarantine? I’m not okay. I’m an anxious person on a good day. I feel like a jerk for saying so though because, really, I am so fortunate. My husband can work from home and still earn a paycheck and we like each other and he’s an amazing cook. I’m making art (of course) and keeping on track with my daily exercise routine. The dogs are super happy to have us both home and I’m trying to groove on their positive vibe as much as is possible.

Beekeepers, Amy Rice

Who or what has had the biggest influence on your career/work? I had very, very little exposure to art as a kid. None of my extended family had art in their homes. I have a very specific memory of seeing a Cy Twombly “blackboard” painting at the Milwaukee Art Museum on a school field trip in early high school. I can’t say I “liked” it, but it was a light-bulb moment. It was Art with a capital A.

My Mom received a “Current” card company catalog in the mail every month and I always poured over the illustrated cards and gifts.  I would recreate my favorite illustrations in my sketchbook. Mary Engelbright was one of their main artists. She also had paper dolls in one of my Mom’s “lady magazines” each month and we were a big fan. I still am. Here is a great article about what she is up to now: Joan Walsh Anglund is another artist/illustrator I loved as a child. I didn’t really realize the extent that these type of commercial illustrators had on my art until kinda recently.  I mean, what else did I have? I sometimes wonder what my art would be like if I had grown up exposed to art exhibits and museums.

What are you working on right now? I’m working with the National Butterfly Center to make art to raise awareness of the devastating effects the southern border wall will have on already fragile ecosystems. I’m still working on the project and I am excited about how the work is progressing, but in many ways it feels sorta pointless right now. I put some of my most popular art images up as “coloring book” pages for anyone to download for free and use as starting point for a collaboration with me. Here is the link:

Water is for Wishing, Amy Rice

Amy Rice: I use nontraditional print-making methods--including hand cut stencils and a Japanese screen printing toy called a Gocco printer--as a starting point for original mixed media pieces. I use enamel spray paint, acrylics, gouache, and inks, and print on a variety of surfaces including wood, fabric and antique papers (preferring handwritten love letters, envelopes, journal pages, sheet music and maps). I am most satisfied when I can make a tangible or visceral connection between the materials used and the image rendered. My work is deeply layered, often both literally and figuratively. My imagery--nostalgic and wistful--is largely biographical and reflective of my pensive nature.


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