"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." (Friedrich Nietzsche)
Authenticity, that is, acting in accordance with your own true nature, is at the core of my creative drive. Painting is the most effective and enriching way for me to express an inner-world of imaginative wonder that can not be translated any other way. It is as much a way for me to understand myself as it is a visual communication of universal ideas of interconnectedness, beauty, and symbolism in the form of animals and nature.
I alternate between working with acrylics and watercolor because both have a unique set of qualities that are beneficial to executing my vision and I choose according to what I have in mind for a piece. Generally, I begin in a spontaneous manner, building and improvising between intervals of meditation until a workable concept emerges. From there I work strategically to implement and evolve techniques I have learned in the past. I choose to work small scale because each piece is a glimpse into a unique micro-world of my musings. Through a playfully optimistic approach, I attempt to dislodge preconceived ideas of the world in order to incite a new way of seeing things.
By choosing to take my education into my own hands I have allowed myself space to move freely in the realm of ideas and, consequently, there is a sense of alien strangeness in my work. This springs forth from feelings of isolation and being an outsider looking in on a social structure that I have no sense of belonging to. My work can be seen as the collision of a free being with a society structurally opposed to that freedom; a spirit turned inwards in pursuit of giving meaning to their experiences.
THE SWEETEST SPOT
AMANDA MELLINGER, twenty-two, is a traditional painter based in Troy, New York. She has been a creative individual since her early childhood, beginning with a strong curiosity in how to realistically depict the world in front of her. A love of graphite drawing blossomed throughout her adolescence as she spent her free time refining her technical skills. After graduating high school, Amanda decided to forego a formal secondary education in favor of forging a more authentic creative path where she would be free to explore her ideas without interference. This desire for authenticity stems from a dual passion for existential philosophy, whose themes have emerged in her later work. After exchanging her pencil for a paintbrush, Amanda's work evolved into vibrant surrealist portraits that no longer deal with the world in front of her, but the world within. She has shown her art at numerous music festivals along the East Coast as well as local events in her home state of Pennsylvania.