Artist’s latest exhibition rocks!
Ami Zanders’ living room is a little cramped.
Straddled between bits of furniture you can find a saw, silk screen, storage bins, weaving materials, paint and a sewing machine.
For a more complete picture, add a layer of sawdust and three cats who like to put their own “stamp” on her work.
“It’s a bit of a mess in there,” the 39-year-old artist admitted with a laugh. “But there’s space to walk. Who has the money for a studio?”
No wonder then that she’s named her current show Art from the Living Room Floor.
The exhibition consists of silk screen prints of icons dear to her, such as her children and pets, and buildings she finds interesting.
It’s her way of celebrating the good things in life.
“I’m trying to be more appreciative instead of focusing on the negatives,” she said. “Instead of asking why are things not happening the way I want, I am trying to be satisfied and appreciative of what I have.
“I have two beautiful children and a niece. I have pets; I have a beautiful view.”
She was introduced to silk screening ten years ago while studying art in university.
“I became interested in screening when I took my first printmaking class,” she said.
“My professor was very encouraging. I bought myself a screen and kept trying different techniques with it. I fell in love with the process.
“There is just something about the motion of it that I find very satisfying and hypnotic.
“Part of your mind focuses on what you’re doing, but the other part of your mind wanders. It becomes like meditation.”
Her exhibit at Rock Island Coffee shop is her first solo show since 2010. She hopes it won’t be seven years until her next.
“I want to show more,” she said. “I need to market myself better.”
Her passion for art started as a toddler. She loved drawing on the walls with her mother’s lipstick, or on the furniture with a pen.
“I got into a lot of trouble, but art always made me happy,” she said.
She was influenced as a child by the artist characters in 80s movies Xanadu and Condorman.
“I wanted to be just like them,” she said. “And my father had these really thin books he bought from Robertson’s Drug Store about artists such as Picasso and Homer.
“Flicking through those I said, this is what I want to do. I would try to recreate what I saw on the pages.”
She graduated from New Jersey’s Kean University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree and works as a librarian at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.
“She creates art in her spare time.
Her work has not been without controversy. In 2015 she caused a stir by draping trees and plants around the island with multicoloured crochet patterns. Some gardeners didn’t appreciate it.
“I don’t think it’s pushing boundaries,” she said.
“I think it’s all about perception. Some people like [singer] Céline Dion, and some people don’t.
“I don’t like Céline Dion and that’s OK. I don’t judge people who do. But I’d rather people have a reaction to it and talk about it than say nothing at all.”
Her work will be up at Rock Island until the end of the month.
“Rock Island is one of my favourite coffee spots,” she said.
“What is good about it allows you to be independent with promoting your work.
“There is something punk rock about that. I don’t know if I am going to sell stuff or what. My focus is to do it and have people see it.”
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