Getting to Know Amy Summer
Introducing up-n-coming Sydney-based artist Amy Summer. We reckon she’s someone you definitely need on your radar, so we asked her to tell us about herself:
I am a 23-year-old art maker living in Sydney, and I’m a pretty happy person. Instead of resting bitch face, I have resting smiley face. I used to try and look more stoic so people would take me seriously, but now I’ve kind of come to terms with the fact I’ll look cartoonishly ecstatic at all times.
Art is everything but also nothing. I was watching some reality cooking show the other day and laughing at the fact that the contestants would cry like it’s the end of the world if they messed up a soufflé. I was literally yelling at the TV like “OMG shuttup it’s just a dessert!!!” Then I realised I do the same despairing thing with my art. If I do a bad drawing it doesn’t mean I’m a failure as a human and life won’t go on anymore, it’s actually just one bad drawing. So much of creativity is learning how to let go.
My art practice is super erratic and playful. Lately I’ve been experimenting with using different mediums: painting, collage, illustration and mixed media. I look into notions of identity and sexuality, and I’m especially drawn to the idea of the PRETTY vs. GRITTY nature of life. I love portraiture and juxtaposition, and find that I’m constantly combining elements from humans, animals and nature. More than any concept, I try to capture an energy.
Aside from being an artist I do a little bit of curating, creative arts writing and reviewing. When I was younger, I really wanted to be an actress. I think all my interests basically boil down to storytelling, which I find deeply satisfying.
Home is a regional town on the Mid North Coast. I grew up in a really interesting household with four siblings, my Mum being a painter/model/art therapist/psychologist and my Dad a professional clown/DJ/sign writer. Our dressup box filled up an entire room and we were basically allowed to draw on the walls. I feel really grateful that the importance of creativity was impressed on me from an early age. But sometimes I do get jealous of those people who are like “my parents made me study law” because I never had a parental voice guiding me to a sensible career I might actually make money from.
I’ve lived in Sydney for about five years now, so it does feel a bit like home. In my overseas travels I’ve found cities that feel familiar or ignite something new in me, and I hope that someday I can live in these different places around the world.
I spend too much time eating chocolate and stalking people on Instagram. I am absolutely fascinated by the way people curate their lives on that thing. You can literally be whoever you want on the internet.
I’m currently listening to remixes of Blondie songs; I’m unexplainably obsessed with them. I once sneakily put on a Blondie remix playlist at a party, and it took people about an hour to realise that they’d heard “Heart of Glass” about ten times in different forms.
It might surprise people to learn that there are at least three people in the world that have my face tattooed onto their limbs. A couple of years ago I did some modelling based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and it turned out the photographer had a bit of a cult following. I find it funny, but also creepy.
On a more serious note, it may be weird to find that I chose to study Art Theory instead of Fine Arts at university. I did theory because I wanted to learn about art but couldn’t stand the idea of being told how to paint. A part of me now regrets this decision, but I think a solid understanding of art history has definitely enriched my practice. That being said, I’ve often wanted to blow up my laptop during my degree and pick up a paintbrush instead. I was writing an essay on Mark Rothko the other day, and he always goes on about how he hates all art historians and critics and that everything they write is useless. I felt so guilty that I wanted to submit the essay with just the words “Rothko didn’t want me to do this.”
In the future I want to travel, make art for a living and drive around in a pink stretch hummerzine. I have visions of doing huge, colourful, interactive shows. But for the moment, I’m focusing on working hard, finding a new studio space in Sydney and grabbing as many opportunities as I can.
Interview by Bobby Townsend.