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Saturday, April 4, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Amanda Dolan, Artist

Amanda Dolan, the latest mixed media painter to hit the scene, brilliantly captures all the aspects of her personality in her work.

Hailing from Greenwich, CT, Amanda took her rebellious teenage energies and put them into art, where she flourished. Her talents bought her admittance to Tufts University and Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts, where she supplemented her Fine Arts education with Creative Writing, Art History and Sociology. It was in college that she learned her greatest lesson of all, advice that she offers to anyone who asks: Don’t take it all too seriously.

With that mantra, Amanda has had success combining her loves and passions with the ideas and themes she holds valuable. Her mixed media painting—which is often influenced by her creative writing works, her musical exploits and her pension for fashion—expresses feminism and beauty, joy and sorrow, all the while evoking intense emotion in those who view her work.

After graduation, Amanda wanted to focus on her art full-time, and with a move to New York City, she was able to fulfill that dream. With perseverance and talent, Amanda was able to find a home at the Ward-Nasse Gallery.

Her debut show, “She’s a Lady,” was a great success, and the Ward-Nasse has since been a consistent home for her work, displaying her art year round. Her second successful show, “Call Me Crazy,” (in 2008) was praised by the media and works from the collection have sold nationwide, have been part of charity auctions and have also found placement in other museums. After winning over national and international fans, Amanda has found herself filing requests for custom pieces and working on completing her third show for the Ward-Nasse, “Heart Attack” which debuted at the Gallery in March, 2009.

New talent Amanda Dolan is one to be noticed, as her avant-garde mixed media works offer a delightful play between dynamic colors and intense imagery. Not to be missed, Amanda Dolan is on the rise. Peachy Deegan interviewed Amanda Dolan recently for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What were you rebelling from in Greenwich-Whom You Know thinks it is beautiful!?
Amanda Dolan: I think Greenwich is beautiful too! I actually really enjoyed growing up there-Its Cookie-Cutter Suburbia in all its gorgeous glory. I guess I’m more of a Rebel by nature. I always wore funky, daring clothes, I had pink streaks in my hair, lived and breathed Rock ’n’ Roll, and made shocking Art. You don’t see much of those attributes in your average Greenwich girl.

How would you contrast living in Connecticut, to living in Boston, to living in Manhattan?
I like to look at the contrast like a three act play. Connecticut was like Act One- The picture perfect childhood in sweet suburbia. A time to explore and feel protected and pure!
Boston-Act Two- was like the middle of the road. I was still in a city but it had the feel of a small town- Like a safety net. It was the perfect city to grow and learn-not only about Art, but about myself as well.
And living in Manhattan, Act Three, is like the Grand prize-finale! It’s like I needed the puzzles pieces of Greenwich and Boston to fit me into the mold that is NYC. I think to live in this city- you need to know and trust yourself really well, have goals and dreams, and have the life experience and tenacity to get it done!

What kind of creative writing do you do?
I write Poetry. It’s such a catharsis for me. I think it’s the easiest form of writing because I can just sit down and spill my thoughts and emotions onto the paper and they just seem to grow into verse. It feels natural and whimsical.

What painting of yours is your favorite and why?
That’s like picking my favorite child! But, at the moment, I’m fond of “Devil/Lover/Angel” and “Frenchie Rainbow” because they’re silly, comical portraits of my beloved dog “Pearl” and every time I look at them they crack me up! “For Jon-My Heartbeat” is also a personal fav because it’s basically a love letter in paint form to my SweetHeart, “Rock of Ages” drummer, Jon Weber. “When Doves Cry” is so pretty and feminine, yet kind of sad. It just feels regal to me. And I’m really proud of “Ice Queen” because I used a lighter pallet and a very strategic composition. Usually my work is scattered, layered, bright, and chaotic, so I’m rather proud of “Ice Queens” lovely simplicity.

What future plans do you have for exhibitions?
I’d like to create more funny “Doggie Portraits”. They are such a joy to make and I love the response they get from people-they bring a smile to everyone’s face. I’m a huge dog lover so sometimes it’s nice to create work that’s just lighthearted and easy -it’s an extension and dedication to what I love-the innocence and warmth of a pet! I’m also planning a collaboration series with a fellow mixed media artist. I’ve never done one before and it’s good to switch things up and share the spotlight!

What artists do you admire and why?
I like to stretch the word ‘artist’ and include all artists in general- not just painters!
-Jean-Michel Basquiat. The way he used text in his paintings was so ground breaking and influential to me. He really made statements through his work. Not everybody liked and understood him but that’s what was so intriguing about him. He really was one of the firsts in his genre. He truly did not care what people thought, he just let the art come out of him, and I relate to that.
-Warhol. He is so classic. His colors are always spot on, and I’ve always enjoyed his use of repetition.
-Cindy Sherman. The way she transforms herself into a different character is so interesting. She takes it far beyond just wearing a costume- she really is a metamorphous. She reveals the layered depth of her subjects. Her photos are quite deep.
-Courtney Love. She is such a powerful force. She taught me how to stand up and challenge the status-quo, to never, ever, be afraid of challenges, and to empower myself and get what I want. I think she gets a bad rap because she isn't perfect. She’s fallen, made mistakes, taken wrong turns and people hate her and judge her for that. I, on the other hand, adore her for that. Her imperfections make her human and palpable. She is real and relatable.
-Sylvia Plath. Her poetry is art in raw form. The way she strung words together with such razor sharp intensity is mind blowing. She was the epitome of darkness, but feminine and lovely at the same time. I really appreciate the honesty inside of her. Her writing is timeless and drips of elegance.

What is your favorite place to be in NYC?
Strolling through the East Village always puts me in a fabulous mood. So much funky bohemia.

What is your favorite shop?
For Vintage I frequent Cadillac's Castle, Atomic Passion, Metropolis, and Screaming Mimi... For Rock ’n’ Roll stuff, Trash and Vaudeville never fails..and for glamour I love Patricia Fields and my all time favorite- Betsey Johnson.

What is your favorite drink?
BEER!...but once in a while a Girly Martini is nice too!

What is your favorite restaurant?
I’m a it’s impossible to just pick one. I love Mud Cafe, Yaffa, Mexicana Mama, GiGi’s, and Mustache for fun, funky little hole-in-the-walls. Supper, Lil Frankies, Three of Cups, and Otto for Italian...If I feel like being chic I enjoy, Cafeteria, Delicatessen, Stanton Social, The Smith, TAO, Bread, and Death and Co.

What is your favorite NYC book?
Not sure..but my favorite NYC writer is Jonathan Ames.

What is your favorite thing to do in NYC that you can do nowhere else?
I think us New Yorkers take the little things for granted. Like the fact that you can walk pretty much anywhere- no need to own a car. It’s also pretty nice to be able to just walk to the corner and pick up a hot-dog and Mr. Softee Ice cream at any given moment!

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
I think the Meat Packing district is totally overrated-its over priced and over crowded and I never enjoyed those type of night clubs. Any place that feels “Too Cool” doesn't appeal to me. Alphabet City can be a little underrated. There are so many tiny shops, rock clubs, cute little cafes and yummy restaurants. You just have to walk past Tompkins Square Park to find them!

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
That I’m a big nerd at heart! I love to dance around to ’80’s music, stay in my PJ’s all day and watch the Golden Girls, write love letters, bake cookies, and organize my closets- that kind of stuff!

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?
You can contact me via email- through my website: AMANDADOLAN.COM. I love to do commissions, so you can send me a favorite picture of your pet, yourself, your idol, and I’ll happily create you a personal masterpiece!

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