Briefly describe the work you do.
I make work that ranges in content and feeling. I mostly like to make photo-realistic portraits using graphite but I also like to make very colorful and expressive portraits with oil paints. In addition, I love to create work that is fashion forward using primarily mixed media.
Overall, I find myself making images of happy and curious children, adults with various personalities, people merrily interacting, and certain fantasy scenes. I have recently begun to venture into an even wider territory of content by illustrating various cultural identities and pleasurable hobbies; including sports activity, vacationing, spiritual activism, and festive tidings.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
My background in other fields has been a major influence on my artwork. First, my educational track to become a certified psychoanalyst has been a huge mind blowing experience that has shaped my art. Within my art, I can visually see how my mind has grown and changed by psychoanalytic ideas, methods, and practice in the past 5 years.
In addition, my background in dance has hugely influenced my technical skills. It has helped me to develop my use of line, color, texture, shading, overall feeling, openness to improvisation, and all aspects of production.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
I used to have a studio in Philadelphia in an old converted factory. I loved being there and connecting with the other artists. It gave me a place to host events and invite people to visit. I am now making art out of my home, which blurs the line between being an artist and being an “everyday” person. As soon as I wake up, I step into my artwork. I come in contact with my inspiration clippings, unfinished projects, frames, and shipping materials throughout my home; I am immersed.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
When I was young, I wanted to make art in order to entertain people. As I have aged, I find that art is a bridge for people to connect in a more phenomenal way. Whether or not people love a piece of art or hate it, art is great for starting conversations. As an artist, I think it is an important to recognize that this is a huge role we play in a world that desperately needs more talking and less acting out.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
I love making art at night. Starting at about 9:00 PM, my creative juices flow. My mind naturally loosens up at that hour and I am able to swivel around in my artistic matrixes more freely. On a perfect day, I will paint until 1:00 AM and fall into bed fully drunk on art. This does not happen daily but I do try to make it happen as much as possible. On days I do not have the time to sit for hours, I try to make time for some aspect of my artistic life. Whether it is a jotting a quick contour, putting something up on my inspiration board, or developing my website further, I try to do at least one thing daily for my art.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
My art has changed in its’ range of content and technical skills over the past five years. I used to only paint or draw portraits but now I am all over the map with what I like to use as subject matter. I think this change has come about because I love to experiment with new materials on a regular basis and I am a relatively spontaneous person by nature… I find it is easier to be spontaneous while making art than it is in your relationships with people; so, I am full force with it there. However, it remains the same that I still love to draw and paint people. Furthermore, I will never tire of blind contouring, cross hatching, and painting with wild colors.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
Modern psychoanalytic thinkers inspire me. They are willing to explore every facet of every association in the mind and work hard to overcome resistances that crop up when attempting to do so. Their methods of doing this are developmental, nurturing, and non-threatening. This inspires me to make art in a similar fashion.
Other types of people influence my work too. My great friend, Johnny Columbo, is a vintage couture fashion guru. He influences me a lot when he talks about fabric, fashion designs, and the history of a particular garment. The way he arranges the window displays in his shop (Philadelphia Vintage and Consignment) are delightful and helps me to see composition from a whole other perspective.
Moreover, I am very influenced by dancemakers. Choreographers today are making really cool work. Mats Ek, Jiri Kylian, Ohad Naharin, and Roni Koresh are extraordinary when it comes to writing dance. I used to dance for Roni Koresh, artistic director of Koresh Dance Company, and am very inspired by his work. If you have not seen any work by these choreographers, search for it.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
Besides my career in dance, I have a clinical practice in psychoanalytic based psychotherapy and am pursuing the highest credentials possible in this field. I think this still counts as artistic pursuit since so much of psychoanalytic clinical procedure is based on the same unconscious processes that are used to make art. There is so much improvisation and creativity that also occurs in sessions with my clients that I feel each hour is its’ own work of art…Given this, I would probably have to say no to this question… I am “all art,” all of the time.
Amanda Lenox is a Dallas, Texas native who began her career aspiring to be a professional dancer and visual artist. In her teens, she trained throughout the United States for dance and performed alongside the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders as a guest performer for music artists: Leann Rimes, Toby Keith, and Creed. Inspired to further her education, she left Texas to pursue a BFA in Modern Dance Education from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia. Whilst there, she interned with BalletX Dance Company under the direction of PA Ballet’s, Christine Cox. After graduating, she began dancing as a company member for world renowned Koresh Dance Company and spent her time touring nationally and internationally. Amanda has collaborated with Koresh Dance Company as a visual artist as well. She has exhibited her work at Koresh’ bimonthly artist showcases and has donated her artwork to the company to aid in various fundraising campaigns. Amanda has exhibited her artwork in other Philadelphia venues, such as: The Painted Bride Theater; Square Peg Artery and Salvage Gallery; and Philadelphia Vintage and Consignment Boutique.
Alongside her career in the arts, Amanda developed a passion for teaching and went on to teach ballet, dance wellness, and dance history for several years at Georgian Court University. In her spare time, Amanda decided to go back to school for her masters at Capella University and graduated with her M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. She has since begun her clinical practice at the Philadelphia Consultation Center in downtown Philadelphia. She currently trains at the Philadelphia School of Psychoanalysis where she is Chair of the school’s Arts and Culture Committee. As Amanda has been working towards certification in modern psychoanalysis, she has gone on to build a second practice in New York City at the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center. She suggests that her clinical practice inspires most of her recent artistic designs.
Amanda continues to pursue her clinical training and deepen her roots in New York City. She is currently teaching dance on faculty at the highly acclaimed Westchester Dance Academy in Mt. Kisco, NY. In addition, she has found a home exhibiting her artwork at Brooklyn Bagel in Astoria, New York and at Greenpoint Gallery in Brooklyn, NY where she recently won recognition in the gallery’s juried “People’s Choice Salon Show.” She has been offered a permanent spot in the gallery’s upcoming season and is currently making work for ongoing exhibition there. Amanda has become an exhibiting artist with Astoria’s Annual Art Festival but also has artwork that resides in various private collections in the United States.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.