Both an artist and a model, it only made sense that Amy Finlayson would come to combine the two artistic fronts; using mixed mediums, the Perth-native-turned-New Yorker creates unique, oil-spilled art that falls perfectly on the spectrum between destruction and creation. We caught up with the accomplished artist to discuss her creative process and upcoming projects, including a collaboration with photographer Georges Antoni.
The Chic Edit: When/how did you begin your career as an artist?
Amy Finlayson: I started my art journey officially in high school. I had an amazing teacher and would spend lunch times and after school hours in there finishing works off. I started as a print maker, which wasn’t ideal as I was travelling so much with modelling, and the printing press was a huge machine that I obviously could not take with me. Hence, all the extra time I spent in the art room, falling in love with the processes and practices. After high school, I studied Visual Culture at Curtin University and I then had my first show, Organica, a few years ago…the rest is history!
CE: Your pieces are enigmatic, created using mixed media. What mediums do you use to create their effect?
AF: It depends on the size of the work, but my pieces usually involve materials that give organic and fluid effects, such as watercolour paints if I am using a coarse paper, or marine paint if the works are a bit larger and can handle oil based paints.
CE: Your work primarily includes photographs that have been distorted. Do you usually start each work from scratch or alter photographs by others?
AF: Everything I create is original and unique and has been created with a lot of thought—sometimes more thought than actual action! For my “Girls On Cars” show, I took the photographs and distorted the images by bathing them in a bath of different paints. If I am working with a photographer, however, we will have lengthy discussions about what we would both like to create and then the pieces happen organically from there.
CE: You’ve collaborated with photographer Georges Antoni. What was that experience like?
AF: Georges is simply exceptional. He is insanely talented while also being the most incredibly supportive, generous, and kind man. We went through references for weeks before even shooting anything, just to make sure we were on the same page creatively. What he shot was nothing short of the perfect representation of what was in my head.
CE: During what mindset/mood do you find that you’re the most creative?
AF: Heartbreak, for sure. It’s raw, it’s honest, and it’s from that deep well of emotions that I can really be honest with myself and super creative.
CE: What environment do you find is the most conducive to your creative process?
AF: I just need to be comfortable with amazing music. Tunes are so important when getting me into the right mindset. From there, anything is possible.
CE: Do you have a muse/muses?
AF: Not really. I don’t like to limit myself too much. Staying open to all possibilities and people is key.
CE: Did you go to school for art? How do you find that this has affected your work?
AF: Curtin University was great for me as I got to learn about my craft and also the amazing history and artists that have come before me. I have a long way to go but I feel it is always imperative to keep an open and curious mind. Learning about new artists is key in that you can find out about new processes, materials, and ways to approach works—all of which you can bring to your practice.
CE: Is there a creative overlap in your work as a model and as a visual artist?
AF: Yes, definitely. I sometimes use myself in my works. There is a sense of control in doing this as I get to be in charge of how I look in the outcome. I also work a lot in my art practice with people I grew up with in the fashion industry. At the end of the day, they are both creative and visual vocations, so it’s no surprise they go hand in hand.
CE: Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects?
AF: The first show is entitled “La Puissance” (the power) and is a collaboration between my company, The Fin Collection and Par Femme and will feature 15 of Australia’s top female artists, including:
This will be held at Comber Street Gallery in Paddington and will be opening on June 14th from 6-8pm with an estimated number of guests being 80-100 on the night. The show will then be up until June 19th. We are hoping to also fill the space with flowers, so the theme for the opening will be quite feminine, but the works will be concentrating on the power that we have as women and how truly powerful we can be when we come together.
The other show is with Australia’s top photographer, Georges Antoni and myself. We collaborated on a number of works and we are aiming to have this show around the very end of June at Commune in Alexandria. We used Charlotte Morton from Chic Management in this show and I painted on her, with Georges taking the incredible images. I will then be painting over the top, but only using white for this show. The photographs are quite dark and I want this paint to be a gentle suggestion of space and lightness: something to make people think about balance and dichotomy when it comes to beauty.
Head photo: Margaret Zhang.
Follow Amy Finlayson on Instagram.