INTERVIEWED BY Palesa Kgasane IMAGES courtesy of Amy Ayanda
Cape Town-based artist Amy Ayanda has a distinct painting style reflective of today’s zeitgeist, rooted in non-conformity and experimentation.
Multidisciplinary artist Amy Ayanda is in many ways her own muse; her bright and emotive art is a metaphorical window into her life, and yet it somehow has a universality with outsiders. It’s uncomplicated and honest and draws in new, young art coveters because of the way it effortlessly marries aesthetics and design.
We spoke to Amy to find out more about her work, process and her current projects.
How would you describe your style of art?
Bright, impulsive, impressionistic, vivid, maternal.
How did you develop your distinct style?
I wouldn’t say I have a distinct style, but a lot of people say that I do. I like to experiment with paint and play. I don’t conform to one particular process but I find my colour choices always quite similar, so in that way there is a conversation. I would say it is always developed through practice – this has been something I have continuously done for over 20 years and, more formally, for just over 10.
You have described how you are inspired by your grandmother. What other parts of your identity inspire you as subjects for your paintings?
Flowers always inspire me. More recently, flowers found in everyday life, coupled with everyday scenes of home. I always come back to themes of the domestic and home.
How has your artwork changed over time?
I worked in oils when I first started formal training. I now work in acrylics, which have their limitations, but I find it easier in terms of drying time. I have also leaned into a more playful way of creating and do a lot of illustrative work alongside my more painterly pieces. My work constantly changes – that is what I love about my job.
You are often surrounded by colour in your studio photos. In what way does your home/workspace reflect and affect your work?
I am in constant conversation with colour and the choices I make when putting colour onto my canvas. My home is small, but has striking, brightly coloured walls throughout. I love making spaces beautiful whether that be on canvas or at home – it is a constant and they have a close relationship. I also love making my studio my home away from home, a space where I can escape to create in.
What is one thing that you think most people overlook when it comes to being an artist and making art?
Creating art is not easy and sometimes the work that has taken you the quickest somehow becomes your strongest after months of creating other work. I think the process informs this, but a lot of the time it happens without the artist even realising. Never underestimate the process. You will create a lot of bad work before you create the masterpiece.
Can you share a highlight in your artistic career so far?
My first solo show at Ground Art Caffe in 2017 was very special to me – it marked one year of me being a mother, and was the last show of mine that my mother came to. Just a poignant full circle moment for me.
What have you been working on recently? Have you launched any cool projects?
I have a few things in the pipeline – just trying to navigate the right time to launch, as things are quiet due to COVID. I have just launched some amazing journals with my artworks on them, which you can find on my website.