Corey Helford Gallery’s CHG Circa unveiled “Incantation,” 10 magical new paintings by Amy Sol, last Saturday. The gallery also exhibited Amy’s concept sketches for each piece, inspired by spells and familiar motifs of feminine figures and nature. Her notably delicate and soft color palette is raised to a stylized, high contrast level here, depicting girls and mythological creatures in the midst of conjuring secret charms. For “Incantation”, Amy reinvents the stereotype of witches and wizardry, citing influences like Ghibli, the animation studio that brought us the adorable witch Kiki in “Kiki’s Delivery Service” to her own personal life experience. Amy took a moment to tell us more about the inspiration behind her new works.
One of the inspirations of your show is animation. What are some of your favorite animated films and how they did they inspire you here?
Classical animation definitely inspired some of the look I like to achieve in my paintings, almost like a still from a scene. I think a combination of inspirations help make each piece but I’d say really the biggest inspirations come from Ghibli film style, as well as classical Disney, also artwork of comic illustrators such as Moebius have really spurred my imagination.
For an artist, one could say that creative talent is like having a magical power. What is it about femininity that you feel relates to magical powers?
Creativity is the nearest, closest thing to magic I have ever seen with my own eyes. Femininity holds its own magic, things can be created just by being a woman alone, with or without artistic ability. It’s my thought that there is an artist built into the workings of being a female, the magic is in the making and changing of things around you. Each character in the paintings takes on a role of something akin to a magician, wizard, shaman, or witch. There is a purpose you work towards and you almost always start from nothing, you dedicate most of your life toward it in the hopes to become good at it. I thought about this theme a lot while painting and it reflects my own personal life right now.
Stereotypically, witches are depicted as old hags and characterized as evil magic-doers, but your characters are young and peaceful. Why did you choose to portray them this way?
I wanted to paint a divine figure or deity-like character who is mysterious and also somehow earthly and humble. In this piece The Healer, I realized a witch’s hat was very suitable. Her powers or knowledge is connected to the earth, to nature. I created a sunrise and morning-glories surrounding her to reflect her youth and awakening of maturity. I didn’t give much thought to any historical or theological symbolism towards witches in my works. With all of the pieces, I just followed my instincts for color and composition and guided by intuition for the most part.
Can you share a wish of your own?
I have that superstition that sharing a wish could break it… I will say though, my wish list is pretty much full of stuff related to everyday life, like getting better.
“Incantation” by Amy Sol exhibits at CHG Circa, September 14 – October 19th, 2013.