ARTIST IN RESIDENCE – AMBER KINGI
Created around the same premise as our BLA! (Brewing Local Artists) event, the Artist in Residence program is here to help generate exposure for Gold Coast artists, and to engage and inspire our community with the depth of creative talent that exists here on the Coast.
Amber Kingi’s work could be described as natural, feminine, tribal, exotic, almost primal, but the most appropriate adjective could well be; beautiful. As a mother, Amber’s art offers her a refuge and a place to be herself which is great for the rest of us as much as it would be for Amber, ‘cause we get the pleasure of enjoying her art!
What mediums are your favourite to work with, and why?
The base I use largely dictates the medium I’ll work in. At the moment, I’m painting a lot of canvases and that means acrylic paint. But I also enjoy painting on plywood. My plywood paintings are a collage of mediums, meshing together acrylic paint, charcoal, screen-printing techniques, pens, pastels or gold leaf. Anything I can get my hands on really! I don’t think I could say one is more favoured than another though.
Much of your work seems to experiment with representing the female form – whether it’s denoted by popular culture portraiture or with tribal influence. Is there something specific that moves you to re-create the ideas of femininity in this way?
From the very start I painted women. There is beauty in the raw strength, courage and endurance that women possess. I’m a mother of 3 and I know what it is to be a woman, to stretch yourself so thin, to push yourself and keep going through exhaustion, to give your energy, your everything for the love of other people. To me, that’s beautiful and inspirational, so I paint women.
Some of your life drawing work contains bold backgrounds overlaid by continual line drawing. Do you normally approach a piece with the colour scheme in mind or is this a secondary consideration after the subject?
Colour determines whether a piece works and whether it really doesn’t. For me, the image comes first. I then go searching Instagram, Pinterest and my favourite artist for colour palettes. I’m big on following my instincts and ‘feeling’ how a piece works. I won’t start a painting until I’m sure the image and colours work well together.
Given you’re a busy mum, student and artist, does your art offer a sanctuary from an otherwise hectic life?
Absolutely. It’s the time that everything buzzing around my head goes quiet. I’m also an introvert and quite reserved, so painting is when I feel free and distinctly myself.
How has your work evolved over time?
My work changes every year and I find that really exciting. As a person, I’m evolving and changing all the time so it’s only natural that my art would also. I find the theme remains constant, of native, tribal, nature and animals, but the execution changes. I actually don’t think I will ever settle on one process. I’m constantly learning new techniques or being inspired by different images.
You can see the evolution of my work, from line paintings, to wreath people, to plywood tribal images, to dreamscapes with detailed environments and animals until now. I’m presently creating more minimalist work with heavy brush strokes. I participated in an art battle in February this year where I needed to paint something in 60 minutes. It created a few challenges but made me simplify my work and I was attracted to the end result. I’m exploring that right now, you can see it in 2 of the paintings I’m exhibiting at the Brewery, ‘Cat green’ and ‘Cat pink’.
Find out more about Amber Kingi: