Elusive Muse is pleased to present the work of printmaker Sarah Amos.  We recently featured Sarah’s amazing studio with you. Now we are featuring her amazing work.

Sarah Amos is a Vermont-based Australian printmaker currently practicing in the United States. Her prints are created by hand on a large etching press. She combines Carborundum Etchings, Monoprints and Collagraph plates to make the final printed surface. The successive layers of patterns are laid on often while the surface is still wet. These ground layers create a foundation for the work, with soft, repetitive shapes and quiet color. The complex and fluid threading of lines, dots, and swirls shifts the spatial language of the print dramatically. The prints are then further embellished with organic, scientific and architectural references in gouache, watercolor, pencil and charcoal to create a surreal surface where two disparate environments collide.

…and now for our exclusive interview with Sarah Amos…

How would you describe your art?
I would describe my work as large Scale Abstracted Prints with Multi-Media. My work uses contemporary print mediums with untraditional materials and painting techniques while questioning the contemporary boundaries of printmaking in the process. I am a visual Archeologist interested in the natural and scientific worlds observing where both Macro and Microworlds intersect and cohabitate. My work has always been a magnifier that allows me to dissect and illuminate, shapes, and forms creating my own cupboard of curiosities.

How long have you been an artist and how did you become an artist?
I have been an artist now for at least twenty-five years. I grew up in a family of artists, where Ceramics, Painting, Sculpture, Fashion Design, and Architecture were undertaken but not much Printmaking. I decided I would go to art school as a sculptor but switched after a year, as I liked the interactive relationships in the print shop far better than the isolation of the sculpture studio. I did my undergraduate in Printmaking and majored in Etching but soon caught the Lithographic bug as it was so unique (working on stone). I Graduated and went to work as Print Technician at an Art School in Melbourne where I could begin to work and use the printmaking facilities on the weekends. I stayed at the VCA for three years and accumulated more technical information as a Technician /Teacher until I applied to The Tamarind School of Lithography in New Mexico. I was accepted to do a one-year program in Lithography. I then went on to complete the Master Printer Certificate for an additional two years, which were the best hands-on education and experience that a young artist could imagine. I moved from New Mexico to New York to work at Bob Blackburn’s Print shop and other Independent printmaking projects and continued to Collaborate with Professional artists but was always frustrated about not having more time to work. An opportunity soon arose to go and work at the Vermont Studio Center to supervise and teach printmaking in their Print shop in Northern Vermont. I jumped at the chance to get out of New York as I could see that this was where I could start to make my work in earnest. Ten years later, one hundred and seventy-five Artist Collaborations and a MFA under my belt I left the VSC to continue on with my work full time. For the last ten years, I have been able to make my work full time with little or no distractions. Finally!

What is your favorite medium and why?
My favorite medium would have to be drawing with pen and ink, watercolor, gouache, and pencil. Drawing to me is like an x-ray, it shows all the details and ideas that are buried below the surface and also checks the daily temperature of ideas in a very spontaneous and immediate way. It is like breathing to me, and is something that you do almost unconsciously, letting go and allowing your pencil to wander is great artist meditation. Drawing is also a great way to work through a body of ideas without the large financial and time commitment and in my case to large reproductions. Recently I have taken to making three to four pages of sketches daily, a running sheet or tally of what I plan to investigate for future use. What I love about the intimacy of drawing is that it is my secret place to play and no one need see it until I am ready to bring it into the spotlight.

Pick one work of art from your portfolio and tell us the story behind it. Why does this piece have meaning to you? What steps did you take to create the piece?
The piece is called “Cosmos Reef.” This piece is a new idea and was a prototype for a new body of work that I have just developed in 2014. It was made from a trip that I did recently to Central Australia. The backdrop for this work was the famous Uluru National Park and the Olga’s. Uluru is the largest Monolith in the world; a large red rock that has great historical and geological significance and a pilgrimage to the rock is a “must do” for all Australian Artists. In close proximity to Uluru was also the incredible Olga’s, similar in color but a series of massive rounded marble rocks sitting on the desert floor and carved from years of erosion. I was totally inspired by the sheer physicality, color, and monumental reach. I was in the presence of something far greater than a geological wonder. This area is incredibly beautiful, remote and loaded with spirituality and indigenous culture surrounded by the most bizarre flora and fauna. My interests in these natural oddities were given a library of new shapes, objects, and colors to digest.

This new piece was made from drawings made while I was there. It has upon returning to the United States become part of a new vocabulary already and has started to shape shift into other forms for the next body of work. My idea to use Felt, Linen, Canvas, Hemp and Jute came from a desire to create many printed elements that could be placed together on one surface just like the child’s toy “Fuzzy Felts” that I adored from the 70’s. There was something interesting about the rawness and commonplace of these fabrics and that they mimicked paper in their size with can be used to accept a variety of printmaking techniques. It would seem now that Thread replaces the gouache drawings of the past and the Printed felt and linen have replaced paper.

COSMOS REEFE 2014 COLLAGRAPH WIITH MIXED MEDIA
COSMOS REEFE 2014 COLLAGRAPH WITH MIXED MEDIA

Tell us about one medium, technique or style that you would like to try working with (that you have not tried before) and why you would like to try this.
Animation really intrigues me and would be a secret wish of mine to Collaborate with an Animator and turn these images into ones that jostle or vibrate quietly in place. Movement and motion have always interested me and have become integral to the overall feel and look of these pieces. Animation seems like a very natural step in my works continuing evolution. The soundtrack to these pieces would be a crowd people in a small room all talking quietly at the same time, a tangled mass of whispering threads.

How do you make time for art?

How do you not? It is my full-time occupation now and I am compelled, committed to getting up every day and make my mark on the day.

If you could imagine the “perfect art day” for yourself, what would it be like?
I just had a week of perfect art days. I went to Miami for the first time in December for all of the Art Fairs and especially Art Miami where I had work exhibited. To start with it was 81 degrees and when I left Vermont it was 8 degrees so this admittedly was a gorgeous backdrop for my experience. I started my day with lap swimming each morning, which is my daily religion and is also a great way to organize your thoughts and ideas. I would have a Cuban breakfast at some local café in the sun gathering my thoughts for the day and break out the sketchbook for a pencil wander and another cup of coffee. An hour later I would run over to one of the 15 Art Fairs that were in town for the week and immerse myself into these unique worlds of color, material, and insanity for hours stopping only before I would become drenched in images and could take it no more. This day would then be topped off with a meal at the local Moroccan Restaurant where there would be are – hash of the days highs and lows with friends. Repeat for the next five days until totally exhausted.

If you could spend 24 hours with one artist, living or historical, who would you want to spend the day with and why? What would the two of you do?
It would be my grandfather Len Annois and his wife Mavis Annois. He died when I was young so I never met him, and she died twenty-five years ago and I think of her daily. I have so many questions for him over the years that I want to ask. He was a Watercolor landscape Artist Printmaker, Muralist, and Naturalist who made his living from his work and supported his family during until the 1960’s which is totally amazing to me today. Mavis was in her own right a gifted Ceramicist, Teacher, Weaver and great influence in my life. I would ask him to meet me at a special place in Australia where he used to paint before it turned into an Art Museum “The Heidi Museum”. I would make a picnic lunch and we would wander into the gardens and catch up on the past. After lunch, we would walk into the Museum to see his huge retrospective and discuss it in full. This would be a great way to learn about his whole career with the paintings and Murals to guide us. At closing time we would go to the café opposite and sit down for more conversation and where I could talk to him about my work and life and tell him what a huge inspiration he was to me growing up. Some time later his wife and co-collaborator Mavis would join us and all three of us would head out after a while for some fabulous dinner arm in arm.

Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring artists?
I strongly believe that hard work has its rewards. If you have the passion, drive and work ethic to maintain a career in the arts then great personal satisfaction will come your way. More of the same and better should be your daily Mantra. I believe that obtaining a MFA still has value in today’s art world.

To learn more about Sarah or to see more of her amazing work, visit her website at:
www.sarahamosstudio.com

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