Photographer & Painter
In our next interview I had the pleasure to speak with Mixed Media Artist Amanda Sinclair who managed to completely move me with her honesty and realness. Her playful, humorous yet sincere answers about her art and her experience in the creative industry are what, in my opinion, every artist needs to read right now.
Amanda aims to explore the transition between trauma and reality, drawing on surrealism and the unreal. She is inspired constantly by not only her own trauma but of folklore and mythology. Her work is predominantly concerned with a dream state and psychological occurrence of reality and the subconscious. As a mixed media artist she wishes to exhibit the occurrence of delirium.
- Katerina Panaretaki
"To imagine art without a creative block is to imagine life without air or food"
What made you follow the artistic path?
My life has been entrenched in the arts in many forms. I showed zero interest in my school days at art classes but was an avid reader and besotted with visual imagery and literature. I grew up in a large family with three sisters, who often spent hours reading together and drawing.
My imagination ran rife in my younger years, devouring fantasy novels and having a keen interest in mythology. In my earlier years, I spent time acting with a touring theater which eventually led me to music and for many years, as a vocalist in groups.
During these years, I had written poetry and plays which were published within social theater groups. It was much later in my life that I began painting. This was initially due to a reaction to trauma within my personal life and over the last few years evolved into the path I now follow.
What are your personal/artistic goals?
My personal goals are that through my art, I can empower others from disadvantaged backgrounds to find bravery to produce and show their work. I would also dearly love to share my knowledge and skills to enable community co-creation. My ultimate goal would be to open a gallery that was forward thinking and dismantled the institutional artworld from finance and bias.
Women that inspire you?
There are so many and sadly numerous who are unheard of but a few that come to mind are Leonora Carrington. A surrealist artist and novelist who produced an astounding catalogue of artworks, which were inspired by magical realism and alchemy. She stated that -she painted for herself and never believed that anyone would exhibit nor buy her work. This resonated with my own belief and of course many other artists. Frida Kalhlo for her astounding creative path and endurance. Louise Bourgeois as an absolute icon. Her personal struggle to be affiliated with any artistic movement and her astounding symbolic work is something I greatly admire and the resilience she showed until the age of 70 is a testament to all female artists who struggle to find acknowledgement. Sally Mann, a photographer and artist who faced inexcusable contempt for her artistic portfolio. Her work, like the artists I have mentioned, opens up a narrative which reaches out and leaves us questioning their work.
Where do the ideas for your work come from?
My work is predominantly concerned with a dream state and psychological occurrence of reality and the subconscious. As a mixed media artist I wish to exhibit the occurrence of delirium.
My projects aim to explore the transition between trauma and reality, drawing on surrealism and unreal. I am inspired constantly by not only my own trauma but of folklore and mythology. I often have no fixed idea when starting a painting and let the process evolve naturally.
How do you plan your work and what materials do you use?
As a working-class artist, I am bound by chains of poverty and circumstance. I apply the necessary means to evolve my work by whichever means. This can be with whichever tools come to hand. I strive to employ a large range of materials when painting but with photography, I often use texture and layering to achieve a painterly quality to certain works.
How has your practice changed over the years?
Joyfully my practice has evolved by the means of abolishing the ego. By understanding the meaning of Co-creation. This has taken quite a while to appreciate.
My personal practice is still emersed in particular story telling yet my ideology has changed. I no longer wish my own work to be scrutinised but wish to help others achieve their goals and accomplishments. My own artwork continues to evolve and change with every part of life experience. I often look back at my work and do not recognise myself.
Favourite pieces you’ve produced so far?
My favourite works are not my own. If I were to be persuaded into revealing a favourite moment of creativity, it would be at the beginning of a project yet not the end result.
Are you currently working on some new work?
I am currently working on an exhibition with Arts Homelessness International at the Old Diorama in London, which will be exhibited on the 30th of March 2023. I work as a freelance photographer for Museums in the East Midlands and independent corporate businesses.
My personal artwork is being curated for a private exhibition in the summer of 2023 and I am currently writing a collection of local folklore that is based on female persecution.
Do you have any discarded ideas? How do you deal with creative blocks?
Every idea I have is more than likely abandoned. My creative block takes place in almost every project I do or think of. At this moment, I am imagining invisibility and have become stuck in cliché.
To imagine art without a creative block is to imagine life without air or food. It is sadly inevitable and one that requires a break from thought.
With a pause in time, we often begin to reimagine our story. The block for myself means that the current project will become abandoned or reimagined with a larger creative input.
I once believed that these great pauses were the end but now understand they are valuable to moving forward.
What have been your struggles in the industry?
As a mature female, I have often felt absolute invisibility. I absolutely appreciate my status as a UK white female, yet also have been astutely aware of the barriers that face me.
Times are changing, yet not fast enough. I have almost given up on myself yet strive daily to promote and encourage female artists to find courage in promoting their work. I do believe through experience within establishments, that there is a positive change afoot. The dominance of white middle class male art is most definitely changing for the better for identifying females within the art world.
Are there any questions you hate being asked?
How long did it take you to paint that?
What’s your real job?
What does it mean?
Could you paint my cat?
What advice would you give to someone wanting to embrace the arts world?
Do not fear the enormous past. Everything has been done before! Do not be daunted by what you see. Shut your eyes and let your creativity unfold.
Your own work is important and has a voice. Let it speak.
Everyone at some point will feel impassion towards your work, yet it doesn’t matter. Remember that we are here for a short time and your joy is the voice that speaks louder than others.
What would your dream lifestyle be?
Well, that opens a can of worms!
My own dream lifestyle would be to be able to have a studio, where I could go and create. A place in which I would be able to dream and fulfill my fantasies.
Apart from this, I would wish to open a cooperative gallery within the city centre, that allowed artists who were disadvantaged through bias or poverty to produce work and sell their art in a joyful and non-exclusive space.
These dreams are however hampered and denied by a political system which continues to envelop the art world.
What change would you want to see in society when it comes to female artists and their place in it?
The appropriation of female artists in the world of photography and art within exhibitions and museums is still at an all time low.
We as a female art collective remain an outsider and have to challenge the parochial ratio.
The landscape is changing slowly and we must hold firm.
I want recognition for all the female identifying artists to have deserved recognition and state their rightful claim amongst the influential artists- past and present.