Mix Amylo’s current exhibition of black and white worlds: ‘Pequeños Mundos’, is continuing at the Ceramiq Art studio, Plaza Moreno, 9, Órgiva.
We are all invited to her ‘reinaurugatión’ this Saturday, 24th March, where there will also be great music to enjoy along with her wonderful artwork.
Having been blown away by the intricacy and themes of her paintings, I have asked Mix to share with us about her work.
How long have you been painting? i.e. all your life or come to it later?
I have drawn off and on all my life, and if I hadn’t gone into music, I would have probably gone down the artist route sooner. I spent a long time as a musician in London, until I reached a point where the wall I had banged my head against for years crumbled and I needed time out for a while. I took some art courses in London and spent time in art schools in Florence and Cyprus, eventually leaving England for a year-long diploma course in Barcelona.
You have a very distinctive style. How did this come about? (Have you any influences etc?)
If I look at this photo of a drawing I did when I was nine years old, I can see the not very huge step from that to what I create now, in terms of detailed line drawing.
My style nowadays is no doubt an amalgamation of the influence of artists that have inspired me the most: H.R.Giger, M.C.Escher, Salvador Dali and Yves Tanguy to name but a few, with the odd element of manga and comic book art thrown in for good measure. Out of that brew comes a style which I hope is original, and at the very least is certainly personal.
Do you have a set of recurring themes? What are they and why?
I do seem to have recurring themes: circles, mountains, other worlds, the female form, eyes, moons, doorways, trees, growth, eroticism, holes, ladders, hair, chessboards, snakes. A silhouetted sitting figure, which originally came from a photo of me for an installation, has also installed herself throughout my drawings.
As to ‘why’, a therapist might be better placed to answer that; my dad calls my artwork a psychoanalyst’s dream! My work possibly plays on the dichotomies of strength and vulnerability, power and submission, order and chaos, fertility and infertility, growth and nothingness, and my recurring themes represent these concepts in different ways. The omnipresent circle is a complete, calming form, but is juxtaposed constantly by the need to escape into other worlds. Choices can be made, using the chess boards, or the stairs, holes, doorways and ladders. The (female) figures have to exist within this elaborate, tangled jungle.
Your work is so detailed, do you plan it all out meticulously beforehand or simply start drawing/painting and see where it leads?
On the larger pieces, I start at the bottom with no idea of what might emerge, and work up from there. Nothing is planned, and everything is drawn in pen as it happens on the day, apart from the occasional figure sketched in pencil first. As the work progresses, I fill in different parts of the paper or canvas randomly, begin to see form and balance, and imagine what might work to make it flow overall.
What do you want your audience to take from your work? Do you think your work is directed more at a particular audience i.e. women?
I have always loved art that you can lose yourself in, that blows you away because of its intricacy and skill, that reveals a curious, inventive, possibly twisted mind, and where there is always something more to discover. I like the idea that those looking at my pieces could be drawn inside them, and find something that either corresponds to or interests them. I am fascinated by layers, and worlds within worlds, and I aim to get even more complex in future works. My work has been compared to that of Hieronymous Bosch, M.C.Escher and Aubrey Beardsley, because of the level of detail and/or the black and white element, which is very flattering, but the female perspective possibly gives it a different twist. My art is not aimed at anyone in particular, but I imagine it is clear that it comes from a feminine hand.
Can you tell us the medium you work in and how long (generally) a piece of work takes you?
I generally work with fineliner pen on paper, but also with acrylic, satin acrylic and ink on canvas. My largest piece, ‘some of this is real’, took two months of work, eight hours a day, mainly because I was using a two-haired brush and acrylic paint, a fairly excruciating process. Obviously the size of the artwork dictates the length of time it takes, but it is never a quick process.
Have you moved through different styles in your lifetime as an artist or have you always worked in this style?
In my late twenties, the first time I really got back to art since being a child, I had a brief abstract phase, inspired by Kandinsky and Hodgkin, and a year or two of making collages. A few years later, when I began to paint and draw in earnest, I moved through charcoal portraits and life drawing into the acrylic zone. I have always been drawn to the surrealists, and explored that for a while before settling on a figurative, block-coloured, vaguely pop art style, using bold colours, and often painting what would become integral parts of my art now, female figures, circles and mountains. Once I moved to Barcelona, surrounded by so much colour in that vibrant city, I went almost exclusively black and white, and have stayed that way until now.
Where else have you exhibited?
I have exhibited in Florence, Prades in southern France, London, and Barcelona, before moving to Las Alpujarras.
If you have not already experienced Mix’s little worlds, then get down to Ceramiq soon before you miss her.
Her exhibition finishes on the 12th April.
This is my little bit of Mix’s art to take home with me. It’s called ‘You choose’, so I did.