Artist Spotlight: Brett Amory


Featuring ethereal and urban landscapes painter Brett Amory has found a profound way to spotlight subjects, that carry his works emotion. Based out of California, his paintings are subtle yet complex and intricate. He has the ability to capture a mundane moment in time and turn it into a work of art for the ages. 

Discover this amazing artist, in our exclusive GroundSounds interview below.   

For those just being introduced to your work, can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got your start painting professionally?

My name is Brett Amory and I am an artist from Oakland Ca. I grew up in Chesapeake Va, and moved out to San Francisco in 1996 to study film at the Academy of Arts University. The first people I met in San Francisco were painters so I started playing around and eventually switched my major to fine art. One thing led to another and in 2010 I was laid off from my job and used the opportunity to launch myself into being a full time artist.

Some of your work depicts individuals who look lost or lonely, what is it about people who seem socially awkward that inspires and intrigues you?

Thats a good question. Im not quite sure. I have always gravitated towards the ones that are overlooked or the underdogs in society. Maybe I identify with these people or have sympathy for them. Not really sure.

How did you first come up with the idea for your ‘Waiting’ series?  

I started the ‘Waiting’ series in 2001. I was working in Emeryville and living in San Fran, so I was commuting via Bart. I became really interested in how people looked in the morning especially on Monday after the weekend. I noticed how everyone seemed to be somewhere else, not at all in the present. Bart would be packed shoulder to shoulder but there would be no communication and minimal eye contact. Back then the series was all about Bart and I was taking a more traditional approach to painting. After doing ten or so paintings of Bart, I stop working on the series and experimented for a few years.  In the summer of 2007 I came back to the ‘Waiting’ series but the idea and approach changed. I became more interested in reflecting a feeling on the viewer. By stripping out the environment and replacing it with this over sterilized graphic world, it would invoke a lonesome psychological state and the work would come across as being more than just a guy waiting for the bus or someone sitting in traffic.

You have had solo shows all over from Los Angeles to New York to London, which cities have you enjoyed exhibiting your work in the most?  In the future, what cities would you like to have shows in?

My work sells best in New York and London so I would have to say the experience of showing in both places has  been really great but San Francisco is home. I really want to do a show in Hong Kong or Japan. Never been to either place.

Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed?

My work is about capturing moments and to capture a moment.  When Im painting I try my best to capture the feeling as honest as possible so the process as just as important as the subject.

Do you work certain hours each day or only when you’re inspired to work?

My work day is broke up between painting and business. Things constantly change so I don’t have a set schedule but I work six days a week.

What books and artists have inspired you the most?

The list is long. Alla Prima by Richard Schmidt and The Art Spirit by Robert Henri are both great books for artist. My influences are always changing. Lately I have been looking at a lot of photography.

Can you tell us about your Twenty-Four In New York exhibit?

Twenty-Four in New York was based on 24 locations in New York. I spent a month documenting 40 locations throughout the five burrows. Each location had an hour assigned to it. I went to each place, for the assigned hour, and shot video, took pictures and collect stuff in the area. From the 40 locations I picked 24 to make a full day. From the 24 locations I made 12 paintings, six day and six night.  By having video, photography, painting, installation and found object, I hope to give the viewer more of an experience.

Do you find yourself anticipating the next moment a lot?

Yes, but I try to bring attention to it. I meditate everyday and it helps with being aware of my thoughts but my mind is always running..

What do you think is the most important influence in your art?

My surroundings. 

What are you currently working on? Do you have any shows in the works? What’s your next move?

I will have six paintings at Miami Basel with Hashimoto Contemporary, a group show in Newcastle in February at The Outsiders  and a solo in London in March at at Lazarides.


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