As I talked about in my last two posts here and here, I love collage art and collage artists. I am always in awe of what artists can do with paper and things that most people would normally throw away, so I was especially interested when Etsy profiled the collage art of Amanda White, who sells her renderings of the homes of famous British writers, among other items, on the site. It turns out that she is also a very successful painter. I was so fascinated by her story that I reached out to her for an interview to share her story with my readers.
Q: You’re English, but currently reside and work in the Canary Islands on a banana plantation. How did you end up there?
A: I am in the Canaries because I married someone from here. I am, as I say on my Twitter profile “marooned in a banana plantation” because I had a horse and was looking for a stable. This house had a stable and was for sale. So this is where we ended up. Even after years of development in the island, we are still secluded. Isolated even. Marooooooned!
Q: You studied theater design and art history and have an extensive background in painting. Your works have been exhibited and collected. Art has obviously played a big part of your life. Were you always creative as a child? Did you come from a home where creativity was encouraged? Did you know early on that you would become a working artist?
A: I have always drawn and painted. I believe my first published work was a scribble of a train done when I was 18 months old! My mum submitted it to a newspaper. Going to art college was a given. I didn’t even consider anything else, though my English teacher hoped I’d give English Lit a go at university. And just look! All these years later I am combining my love of art and literature in my current work!
Q: You describe yourself as an artist working in the naïve style. Does this mean you are entirely self-taught?
A: I’ve always thought of my work as naive. Always been more drawn to line, simplicity and surface pattern than depth and perspective. Though I’m not naive in the sense of being self-taught. A foundation course and three years studying theatre design and art history rules that out. I’m a member of the Association of British Naive Artists so that probably makes me officially naive now!
Q: You describe your influences as magpie-like and list as your influences, your favorite places, local history, patterns in the landscape, flora, fauna, patchwork, folk art, embroidery, books, Staffordshire pottery, other artists, found objects, etc. That is a varied and long list of influences that inform your work! You must never run out of inspiration. Would you describe yourself as naturally curious? If so, how has this curiosity been your guide for what you do in your artwork and in your life?
A: As I say, I studied theatre design which is when I developed my love of researching texts and historical periods. I love history and jotting stuff down in school exercise books with my black biro. They have taken over from large sketchbooks. I feel like I can make a mess in them and I’d be lost without them. Sometimes the smallest jotting or a sentence copied from a book can set off a large image.
Q: You currently have a store on Etsy, AmandaAWhite, where you sell collage artwork of famous writers’ houses. Please share with us how you gravitated towards collage and why you chose writers’ homes as your subject matter for this technique?
A: The collages which have taken over my creative life lately came about by accident. A strange conjunction of events. I had fallen in love all over again with a house I had visited as a teenager – Keats House in London. I wanted to portray it somehow but felt paints weren’t the way for me. Then a couple of weeks later, back home in Tenerife, a great pile of Vogues appeared by the bin. My daughters had been clearing out their rooms. I thought what a pity to throw out such lovely glossiness and something clicked – and I knew I had found my medium for Keats House!
Q: What has been your proudest moment as an artist?
A: Proudest moment? Make that plural! Whenever anyone likes my work enough to put their hands in their pockets to pay for it! It’s wonderful to know an image resonates with someone to that extent.