Artist Amy Beager is most certainly one to watch. Her work was recently acquired by the exclusive Soho House group, and features in private collections throughout Europe, Australia, the US, Taiwan and Canada. A fierce advocate of women’s rights, she is constantly working to ensure female artists are equally represented. Currently exhibiting in five international shows with a solo presentation in collaboration with Banksy under her belt, MOJEH speaks to Amy about her inspirations, artistic flair, and how we can all get a taste of her sweet, colourful spirit.
What first inspired you to pick up a paintbrush?
I’ve always loved painting since I can remember. However, probably partly due to lack of confidence or knowledge of how to be an artist, I ended up doing my BA in fashion design. After working in the fashion industry for seven years, I quit my full-time job as a womenswear designer and worked freelance while building up my art practice. It was always my dream to make a living as an artist and felt it was the right time for me to try. I’ve now been exhibiting my work as a fine artist since 2019.
How does your background in fashion translate to your work?
My fashion background has definitely influenced my work, not only because of my enjoyment for drawing the female form, but also from the knowledge I have gained and things I experienced while working as a designer. Learning to create palettes for collections and textures through fabrics are part of the design process and this translates to my painting practice. Research is a huge part of designing too, and I was lucky enough to travel a lot and experience things that have become subconscious references; references that I inevitably take from when creating and editing my work.
How would you describe your artistic style?
My style is expressive, featuring bold colour juxtapositions and figures that are rendered in a simultaneously Classical yet Modern style. The shapes, colours and brushwork created during the process form a painterly language and help to suggest a narrative. I like to create compositions that are dramatic, romantic and poetic.
How has your work evolved since you first started out?
It’s evolved quite a lot over the past year or so. When I was selected as a winner for the Delphian Gallery Open Call in May 2020 it was such a confidence boost for me and encouraged me to continue in the direction that my art was going at the time. I have painted as much as possible since then and continued to experiment with techniques that I was discovering through my practice.
How important is use of colour to you?
Colour is very important. For me it is what instantly evokes the mood as a viewer. I think the balance of colour is key – which colours you are choosing to put next to each other and how this can create tension and drama or harmony and fluidity within the composition. It’s interesting to play around with and I like to choose colours quite instinctively and layer them up. I will then edit later to balance the final palette that remains visible.
Do you feel female artists are fairly represented in the industry?
There are so many women working in the art world – gallerists, writers, curators and artists. However, statistics consistently appear each year that women are underrepresented, particularly at the top level where women artists’ work sells for less than that of their male peers. There are still many preconceived ideas within society of what is feminine and masculine, and I have heard the term ‘too feminine’ when describing art but, interestingly, never ‘too masculine’. I do contemplate whether art that is seen as too feminine may not be desired among some galleries and collectors; however, the work that I make is often described as feminine, and I am really proud of that and take it as a compliment. I hope that my work will help to encourage other artists and that the enthusiasm for feminine art continues to increase, while the derogatory or prejudiced term ‘too feminine’ does not. Amy Beager’s work is available through Purslane Gallery.