I had the opportunity to get a sneak preview of Brett Amory’s new works at his studio a few months back, one of which was twenty foot wide. Soft spoken, expansively talented and dedicated to his craft, Amory walked me through his almost fifteen step process. Marked by an almost alarmingly soothing color palette, this San Francisco-based artist has been toiling away on a series about ‘people waiting’. Whether waiting for the muni, or watching scooters pass us by on the street, we can’t seem to get enough of art that lets us love the Bay Area that much more. Seeing his pieces in person is what really brings it together, so if you’re in San Francisco, and want to see our home town pride in full effect, hit 111 Minna Gallery this coming Thursday night to see this amazing four person exhibit, Common Descent. I interviewed Amory just days before his opening.
When was the last time you did a show of this size? Is there a theme or idea around this series of paintings?
‘It is a group show with three other guys, but 111 Minna is a pretty big space, so I should be able to put up a good amount of work. I just did a two-man show at Gescheidle Art Gallery in Chicago back in May, and I had sixteen smaller passport portraits in that show. I will be showing paintings from the Waiting series. The series is about the anticipation of the next moment and not being present’.
I had the opportunity to come see your studio a couple of months ago, and when I was there we were talking a lot about your creative process. How would you describe your process? Do you start with sketching?
‘I usually start off taking pictures of people waiting for stuff, then I go through the pictures and start montaging them together in Photoshop. After I come up with something I like, I’ll do a really loose five-minute painting with a really big brush. I take a picture of the painting and add the picture to the Photoshop file changing the original image. I repeat the process of going back and forth between the image and the painting until I have what I want or until the image gets too confusing. The painting changes the image, the image changes the painting. It’s a fun way to work’.
I LOVE the color palette for your pieces for this show. Is there an inspiration that these come from?
‘Thanks a lot. Colour is a weird thing for me. There are about three sets of paintings in the show each having a separate palate. When I first started the series, I was using a lot negative space and white, the paintings were more on the high key side. I used a lot of pastel colour for the subjects and the figures were a little washed out. I did about five like that. For the second set of the series, the color was pretty neutral, almost monochromatic. Lots of grays. The last five or so, the colour got pretty bright and saturated. My colour changes based on how I feel. I’ll do neutral paintings focusing more on value, then I get sick of the lack of colour and do some bright saturated paintings’.