I recently had a nice conversation with Amber Scarlet, at SÝN Magazine.
It is insanely refreshing to come across both an artist and designer who is so well equipped with different artistic techniques. How important is it to you as an artist to keep your options open in the way you express your creative ideas?
Exploration is a very important thing when it comes to any kind of creative expression. I think that every different medium or approach you attempt makes you think about the other media you’ve become acquainted with in a completely new and different way. It’s very important to me to keep trying new things. I see myself as someone who will continue to explore other options. That being said, I definitely do have preferred mediums/approaches to work with. I love drawing in ink and I really enjoy abstract painting. I would say that those are at the core of all of my work.
Could you tell me a bit about your artistic background?
I started to understand that art was what I wanted to do with my life in high school, and quickly enrolled in college about a year before graduating. I went to the American Academy of Art in Chicago and chose illustration as my major. After a few years I started to feel that illustration wasn’t for me. At that point I started to seriously explore design. I found that it came very naturally and that I enjoyed it a lot. Design made me think of art in general very differently, which is why I think I started exploring various mediums in the first place. The design thought process immediately forces you to consider a purpose for everything that you make. It also forces you to organize your thoughts not only in your head, but visually for others.
How do you find a stimulus or stimuli for your work [e.g what themes, motifs, structures etc are you drawn to if any in particular] ?
I am very drawn to abstract, esoteric concepts, but I am also drawn to sociological and psychological concepts too. I like working with anything that describes a thought or feeling rather than a scenic narrative. When all of the stones are set in place art making can feel robotic. I like to let things happen intuitively. A lot of things inspire me but I think that the use of themes and motifs are a very subconscious thing for me.
I started working in sketchbooks a little over two years ago. It’s been very freeing, before then I would only work on final drawings or paintings. Working in sketchbooks has allowed me to explore parts of my self, and in the process I’ve noticed that I repeatedly draw certain things, like moons, and doors, and obviously faces. I like to see what my mind conjures, it’s very interesting to me.
How do you decide on an appropriate technique/form of media to work with for specific projects? It is impressive how you seem to manage to maintain control over projects which require bursts of expression as opposed to those that require cleaner aesthetic [e.g jumping between fine art and graphic design]
As far as choosing my media, my go to is almost always pen and ink, or paint. I’m actually really glad you brought this up though, it hits on something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately; The shifting between the design thought process and fine art thought process. Ever since starting to learn and develop a deeper interest in design I’ve wondered if there would ever come a time where they would unify and become one. I’m still on that path.
All of my work is deeply rooted in the mind, Be it design, using communication to express an idea clearly and concisely, or my fine art which chooses to show a more cryptic emotional tone and convey feelings that we don’t often show. Both of these approaches come from the same place, yet they’re so different. The design is my analytical, clear, organized mind, where as the fine art is pure emotional release..
I think that conveying who you are through your work is very key, maybe even the most important thing. You have to understand that everything you make is a self portrait. There are many faces to every person. I’m starting to recognize that these are the two sides of me. I don’t feel like people can be calm and composed all of the time, you have to let loose occasionally. I would say that the paintings I’m doing lately are attempting to use my analytical mind to compose and control my intuitive expressive mind. I have been exploring them separately for too long. They need to meet and work together.
Already you have taken on a variety of commissions for publications; On what projects would you like to find yourself embarking on?
This is a hard question to answer, I haven’t found that one thing I love yet. I am pretty excited to work on anything especially if it’s a large multifaceted project. I don’t think I’ve ever turned down a creative opportunity.
What I value most is doing something I love collaboratively with others who share a similar passion. Working with other creatives is very rewarding on many levels.
What are you currently working on and for what purpose?
Currently I’m working on many things but I would say the most exciting for me is a new t shirt design for Infinity Life, a clothing company I work with. I was honored when they asked me to work with them. They have a very positive message and I’ve really connected with what they’re about. It’s been sort of a fun challenge for me working with them because a lot of my work tends to be on the darker more melancholy side of things.
This new design I’m working on really embodies the message they’re promoting in my opinion. I can’t wait until it’s unveiled. Nathan Giordano is the head artist for Infinity Life and we’ve really hit it off. I really value long term connections and enjoy working with like-minded individuals. It is a truly beautiful thing when you start a working relationship, and it becomes a real friendship. He has a very thoughtful approach and it shows in everything he does. I would highly recommend checking out infinity life, at www.infinitylife.us
How would you describe your work ethic and what do you try to express as an artist?
I have to make things every day. Be it design, drawing, or painting. I’m always jumping around working on whatever feels right. I never just have one project going. I enjoy the ability to switch gears and avoid getting tunnel vision.
As an artist I’m trying to express the mind.
My work, like I mentioned before, is also speaking about me, the different parts of my head. I feel like there is still so much I don’t understand about myself. We’re all such fragmented individuals, and exploring that is everything to me.
You can take a look at their edited version of the interview with different images included on SÝN Magazine's blog.