Amy Rice is a Minnesota artist who has been featured here before on Art MoCo. Rice’s style mixes cute with quirk in tones that are easy on the eye. Recently she was involved in a collaboration with fellow Minneapolis artist Jennifer Davis where they produced new work based on mutual inspiration. We wanted to interview Amy because we love her work and she is so darn nice.
Amy, do you remember when you decided to become an artist?
I have been an artist my entire life. Making art was just a hobby however for many years and I wouldn’t have called myself an artist until about seven years ago when I made a decision to really concentrate on pulling together a body of work so that I could attempt to have an exhibition.
Do you have a studio where most of it all comes together?
I have a pretty little room in my house with a bay window that faces a tree lined street with lots of dogs and kids playing. I also use the garage (for the more stinky aspects of my process). I recently rented a studio in an artists building in the “arts district” in Minneapolis. So far I am just using it to display my work to potential customers and as storage.
I'll bet you are the kind of artist who is easily inspired. What makes the juices get flowing?
My day-to-day life, conversations with people, childhood memories, I make up stories in my head and then attempt to illustrate them, I get excited/inspired by color schemes (say in a vintage apron I find a thrift store), or a certain aesthetic will start to pull at me (I have been noticing illustrations that remind me of 1970’s greeting cards a lot lately). I am definitely and unabashedly inspired by other artists. I try to view as much visual art as I can either in magazines, on the internet and in shows…luckily Minneapolis is overflowing with outrageously talented artists and almost enough venues for displaying to keep them up.
I also take a great deal of inspiration from the artists that are involved in the Spectrum ArtWorks Program, the nonprofit art organization for adult artists living with mental illness that I manage as part of my job. Being around other creative people in the process of creating many hours a week really fuels me. Earlier in my career I feared that teaching art and assisting other with discovering their own potential might burn me out or use up all my creativity, as if I only had a limited amount or something. It’s just the opposite though; I honestly don’t think I could be as prolific as I am nor do I think I would be able to sustain the creative momentum that I do without my job. That part of my brain gets to be on all the time.
What is your favorite part of the creative process and why?
When I have had an idea for a painting or a series floating around in my head for awhile that is somewhat vague and then BOOM I totally know how I will do it and then there is an almost immediate BANG, BOOM, BANG and I have to grab a pen and start writing it down/sketching it out and it’s so clear. From then on it’s all about following through and I’m pretty good at that if I’ve given myself clear directions.
How would you describe your work?
Girly. Narrative. Illustrative.
Having said that, what is your signature style?
Yes. The stencil/spray paint effect, the wavering intensity of the black line, also my color palette is fairly consistent and everything is flat (matte).
Wow! That makes it easier for us to get to know them. Don't be surprised if you see more of these artists here this week. What item can you not do without when you are creating?
Oh! I wasn't expecting that. What's next for Amy Rice?
I have a number of larger than life (4 feet tall) flower/ bee/ bird stencils that I’ve used to do murals; I’d like to do more stencils that fit with the pieces I already have so that I can do some mural size compositions that are more narrative rather then just decorative. In relation to this, I’d like to more community based art projects/murals where I share my methods and help others express themselves visually. There are a million ugly walls that could be homes of beautiful, community building masterpieces and I want to help make that happen.
Full name: Amy Beth Rice
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Choice of media: Spray paint, acrylic
Artist since: 4/8/69…okay maybe sometime in 1972
Claim to fame projects: Fluevog Love: juxtapoz.com
Spare time: I have a wonderful little family that consists of my boyfriend, Andy, and my dog, Ella. We are big into bicycles (He rides a Surly, I, a Bianchi Milano) Ella totally kicks ass at riding along side and knows a bunch of related commands. She is a sweet dog but is severely protective of the bicycles. We all like to camp and hike and recently bought a canoe. I own a 1949 ford pickup truck and we spend time working on bringing the old gal back to speed. We planted our first garden together this year and I am predicting by our mutual enjoyment and success (our sunflowers are seriously like 14 feet tall) that we will continue to attempt to grow large plants in our tiny yard. I have an actual job as I mentioned earlier and it is more than just a job, it is definitely my calling and my passion. I have decreased my hours steadily as my own art career has demanded more of my time, however, I can’t imagine not being connected to the art and disability community/movement. You can view our website here although it’s in desperate need of an update (the website component to our program/web designers have been the bane of my existence! It is my goal for this winter to learn HTML and do it myself!) www.ArtWorksAtSpectrum.org
Favorite website(s): juxtapoz.com, stencilrevolution.com, Art MoCo (really!), ebay, craftlog.org, visualresistance.org
What music is on your iPod or radio? I love my ipod. Right now I am really enjoying Gnarls Barkley, Atmosphere, The Coup, 16 Horsepower, and some older stuff I used to own on vinyl that just popped onto iTunes and I’m falling in love with it all over again like Odetta, Rickie Lee Jones, Boiled in Lead, Buffy Saint-Marie, Lynryd Skynyrd, The Kinks, Traffic, Dylan, Chicago
Your favorite magazines: Adbusters, BUST, Utne Reader, Juxtapoz, Bitch
Last or current book you are reading: Fat Land by Greg Critser
Last movie you saw: I really can’t think of what the last movie I saw was. I have a very short attention span or something; I have a hard time following even the simplest of plots. I like a lot of children’s movies. I thought Monsters Inc was awesome. I’ve liked almost everything I’ve seen Pixar do. I like Tim Burton films as well. Big fan of the Muppet Movie forever. I also like documentary films.