Thursday, April 13, 2017

Five Minutes with Emerging Artist Amanda Turner

This week I have been posting stories stimulated by last Saturday's excursion through the St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District. I'd intended to visit the Dali Museum on the waterfront there, but lines were long so I took a detour, intending to go to the beach. Within a few blocks I was seduced by all these incredible murals on seemingly countless buildings and noticed that there was a thriving arts community here. I parked, did a walkabout, and came upon a place called Bartique with an open front inside which a young woman was in the process of hanging paintings for an art exhibition that would be opening later that day. Her name was Amanda Turner. I liked here work and planned to share it here, but felt it would be even more interesting if I could also share a bit of her story.

EN: How did you come to take an interest in painting?

Amanda Turner: I was a heavy drinker all of my adult life until about two and a half years ago. Immediately after quitting drinking, I started painting murals, starting with one in my bedroom. That enabled me to paint murals in a local candle shop that I was working at, and that lead to me getting commissioned to do various murals around town.

EN: A lot of people do creative work, but having shows is taking it to a new level. What prompted you to begin showing your work?

AT: It's pretty rare that I get to paint on canvas and for a while I kept telling myself that I wasn't into it, but I started doing art shows knowing that the exposure would be great, and now I LOVE doing them. The entire show is an art form for me, I feel that it's necessary to create more interaction for visitors than just showing art on canvas.

EN: That must have been a thrill to have work selected for the Dali Museum. How did that come about?

AT: The Dali Museum was such an honor, and I still can't believe I was asked to be there. There are 12 committee members at The Dali, and each got to choose a local artist to be featured at The 12 Days of Dali event at the museum, and I was chosen as one of them.

EN: Can you describe the process involved in making the peacock piece? Did you have three pieces there and what were the other two?

AT: The process for making the peacock piece was buying raw canvas from the art store, having it hand sewn to clean up the edges and then layered painting. I first started with a dark base around the edges, getting lighter and lighter as I got to the middle. I think added the "Desiderada" wording to it, and from there took a sponge to some gold paint and started dabbing it all over the painting. Then came the peacock. The trick is slow, steady and concentrated precision. My seamstress also created dowel sleeves and I custom made the banner stands as well. The other 2 were a little rushed, so I don't usually display them together anymore. They are two large peacock feathers.

EN: Where can people see more of your work? Can people buy your paintings online?

AT: I do a lot of mural work, so most of it can be found all over the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. I currently only sell prints on my website, and as soon as I get more canvas work completed, I'll be posting more to sell. My website is

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Whether you are here, or there... or just about anywhere. art goes on all around you. Engage it.

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