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AMY STEWART HALE - ARTIST INTERVIEW

 
   
 

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INTERVIEW 
Amy Stewart Hale
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By Dr. Don Noyes-More Ph.D.


My Current Shows in Vegas are:

I'm a resident artist in Twisted Artist Gallery at The Arts Factory Las Vegas. I'm also in Downtown Crown Pub at The Arts Factory with my Ringo Starr illustration. All of the new illustration on this interview can be seen at Main Street Moto 831 S Main, and I have pinups Inside Style, Interior Design Showroom 1119 S Main, Las Vegas.

DM: When was the first time you ever put thought into art?

Amy:  I'm trying to remember a time before my interest in finding a way to always be creative and artistically inclined with what I do, and I can't remember anything I haven't looked at from a perspective of being in some way creatively engaged....Once I found paint I got lost in what I could share through it..

My HS teacher Mr. Nissan encouraged my early steps. One day I remember him challenging me to close my eyes and draw what I saw behind my eyelids... His five words lesson still inspires my surrealism today.

For a while early on my path I thought radio was where my voice needed to be heard, then I met a group of animators, and I picked up a sketch pad. ..

Once I embraced my path in art I knew where I belonged...along the way I found that I could use artistic business to support my life and that's been my focus for the last 25yrs through my company, PennDragon Studios.

DM: How do you express feelings in art that may not be an acceptable norm for most art? (such as nudity etc)

Amy:  My erotica is deeply and forever connected to the rapes I lived through, in that I have used my work with erotic subjects as art therapy  to face my own fears and find peace in coping with horrible reality I have faced. That's part of why I paint most of what is considered my hard core erotica in black and white.

When I don't feel threatened, or I'm not examining the 'rape' box in my head.. I'm not as prone to painting that way. Truthfully, my deep erotica is such a small part of what I do...When I am working there I don't shy away from my subject matter. I do cross boundaries as I am supposed to given what I am doing with my subject matter.

When I work in collaboration as I did with my work with Lyric Poet Brent Futo from 2008, I let the words of prose guide my imagery.

As far as my recent work with pin up.. All of my models are professional Burlesque Dancers and my photography with them is not lewd, and rather chaste given the subject matter.

DM: In what ways have your health problems over the years impacted the selection of topic for your art?

Amy: I was diagnosed with severe arthritis throughout my body, including my spine, in 2000. I am 15y post diagnosis and still walking. The big influence that reality has had on my art, and how it affects  my day to day is that I can no longer do the labor involved required to do the murals and custom interior design painting that I'm known for, and built the first 15yrs of my career from commissions with.

In the last few years I went through another health reality that I cannot talk about it right now, beyond the fact it made me an activist for health care specifically focused on surgical denial of care for people caught in the middle of not being able to afford the cost of a premium and making too much money to get state services, or rather, the working poor.

I will admit a lot of art came from that situation. Much of it can be seen on my political art website simpletownUSA.com

I need financial support to continue my "public art" work, and I'm in the process of writing grants to continue that work, as I know it is important.  Since coming through that health care reality and healing from the stress it caused on my body, I'm truly grateful for everyday and hope my new art reflects that.

DM: How does your husband support/detract from your art?

Amy: I'll let him tell you in his own words:

"I have been married to Amy for just over 11 years, and she is a True Artist, in Every Sense.

Not only is our home filled with her Amyzing Artwork, and Galleries around town, but she sees Art in Everything...from Architecture to Skylines, from People-Watching to Flowers along the street. It has been, and continues to be, my Honor and Privilege to be her Hubby...and I plan to continue to Love and Support both Amy and her Art, until the day I die...and Then some... Love You, Babydoll!

 Russell "Rusty" Hale, Husband

 

His quote says it all.. I'm truly grateful for his support and the support of his family and our kids.

 DM: Who is the most famous artist you admire?

Amy: Living or passed?

Living: I have a great respect for Yoko Ono. Whoopi is a different level of artist, yet has my admiration for all that she does. Music is another ball of wax and I have quite a few artists I admire in music.

Anthony Bondi and DeArdis Hurts are illustrators who's work I love. And I love the work Clarice Tara, Eden Pastor and Justin Lepper  ..All are local Las Vegas peers I have a great amount of respect for, and am grateful to know as I walk my path, and all have fame in their own right so I am including them because I appreciate what they do.

Passed: Da Vinci, Raphael, Degas,  Picasso, Dali, Vargas, Rockwell,  Seuss, Ray Shlemon (Dick Tracy & Chicago Tribune), Nancy Bartush

DM: Do you see a big difference in "quality" of your art and political messages you voice?

Amy:  Not really. Have I created art that could be better, yes, everyone does sometimes.

 I don't always attach what I fight for to my work, except for the work I do on simpletownUSA.com.. and there my art is purely about political statements.

The things I stand for are mostly human rights. Whether it be surgical care for the working poor, or equality for everyone. And jobs matter to me because jobs help the working poor. We all deserve fair treatment, period. I also believe in, and speak up for finding better sustainable energy solutions and maintaining and building new infrastructure, and supporting good schools that support education for all the people,  instead of being forced to feed the painful and unsustainable hardship of a war at the expense of the people's well being. I feel we as a society need to embrace our humanity again, the propaganda of hate has truly damaged the humanity of man.

And as a human being, I speak out. I just happen to be an artist, we all got a job to do...mine seems to be art. Because every time I've tried to do anything different, I've failed.

DM: What would you consider "scandalous" art?

Amy: I don't consider any "art" scandalous, honestly.  Why would I attach any negativity to someone's perception, mine or otherwise?  That level of judgment is scandalous to me, more scandalous than the projection of scandal any art can represent.

DM: What is the most difficult topic you have ever painted?

Amy: Civil Rights In Crisis http://simpletownUSA.com/gpage6.html  and The Eagle http://simpletownUSA.com/gpage2.html

I'll start with Civil Rights In Crisis. When I took on the subject matter in Civil Rights In Crisis I knew it was going to be tough. I was driven, though .. I was watching laws change in ways that put segments of the people at a disadvantage.. I had to speak out. And I did, even though I was told "we fought that fight already" ..Since I see new media everyday about laws working to take rights away on the subjects I broached with Civil Rights In Crisis, I feel I was on target with the message behind my work.

The Eagle was very emotional for me, and it was important I gave it a tremendous amount of respect because it's (The Eagle) not about me. It's for everyone of us that was affected on or by Sept 11th, and by the reality of a war that is chasing ideals perpetrated through religion, and by a deceptive level of faith.

DM: What would you tell an emerging artist not to ever do?

Amy: I would tell any artist who is driven to succeed,  do not give up.

DM: What direction is your art taking?

Amy: Hmm good question.. I'm finding that people are really liking my pin ups.. Do I want to build the rest of my career on pin ups? Probably not. But I'll play with them while I can, because they are great practice I enjoy working with. I've been doing a lot more surrealism and I love it, I would absolutely like to spend more time with it. I plan on doing more work on simpletownUSA.com as we are seeing a great deal of inequality and it is my moral responsibility to speak up. How soon regarding simpletown.com? I'm not sure, as I need to solidify financial support before I fully open the political art door again.

I've been very consistent with shows over the last several years, and I'm scheduling new shows all the time. People are coming to Vegas to see my work, and the friend's shows I talk about.  And that matters.

DM: Do you feel physical art exhibits are a profitable way to sell art?

Amy: Shows are always good, whether or not there is profit. An artist in today's society has to be diversified in how they approach sales. I do everything from selling my art online, to selling from the galleries I work with, to having pieces with to sell for live art events, to setting up licensing for my pin ups and other work, to taking commissions when presented with them. Today's artist can't afford to depend on one thing.

DM: What do you want people to know about you as the Artist?

Amy: Hmmm, another good question.. I'll start with "Art is my life."  And that I'm truly grateful for every day I spend being appreciated for the work I do.

I recognize that sometimes my political voice overpowers the voice of my art.. I want people to understand that I only speak out because I see disadvantage and hardship for many more people than me, and my concern is for those I speak for. I'd like people to understand that.

DM: How has your family reacted to your art as opposed to being an artist?

Amy: My art and my being an artist are completely connected.. My kids and my husband only know me as an artist, as I was established long before Rusty and I were married. My mother in law became my benefactor in 2005 and supported all of the work on simpletown USA, and much more.  I started PennDragon Studios when my son was a baby. I have no other family I am concerned about opinions from.

DM: Where is your future in art?

Amy: I don't like to speculate about what a future might bring. My job is to keep moving forward..and in that I will continue to do art.. where it takes me and my future is an adventure I embrace through the creativity I find along the way.. much love.

CONTACT THE ARTIST HERE
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