Q+Art: Artist Amy Ilic-Volpe Cultivates Childlike Glee with Bright, Playful Paintings
Painter Amy Ilic-Volpe never underestimates the power of play. For the Florida native, play is an essential part of the artistic process, one that leads to experimentation, excitement, and adventure. Ilic-Volpe’s open-minded approach and optimistic outlook reflect her hometown’s easy-going ideology and imbue her bright paintings with a fun, carefree vibe.
Though she’s now settled in St. Petersburg, Ilic-Volpe spent nearly a decade traveling the globe, entertaining kids on cruise ships and collecting inspirations for future work. “The beauty is in the experience,” she writes of her process-based paintings, echoing the well-known adage, “The journey is the destination.” Ilic-Volpe is now embarked on a new journey, one where she works with children through youth education and art classes.
Her experience teaching children is the driving force behind Ilic-Volpe’s intuitive process. Her unplanned approach, spontaneous mark-making, and fluid application of color and shape create a charming exuberance found almost exclusively in children’s artwork. The artist attempts to view her work through “the excitement and vitality of young eyes.” Letting the materials “speak” to her, Ilic-Volpe allows the artwork to evolve “as a visceral and emotional practice,” a strategy that renders her work full of joy, adventure, and childlike glee.
New Book By Katie Love
From Cult To Comedy, A Memoir, by Katie Love
The year is 1970. The horror soap opera “Dark Shadows” is all the rage, the Vietnam War is raging and nine-year-old Katie, an imaginative and independent latch-key kid, comes home from school to discover her mother’s suicide.
Taken in by her older sister who has recently become a Jehovah’s Witness, Katie is shown an illustration from a bible picture book featuring wild animals peacefully lounging by a pool of water, surrounded by happy people picking fruit. An enticing offer is made: “Katie, this is Paradise. Do you want to see Mom again, happy and living forever? All you have to do is follow all of Jehovah’s commandments and you can be with Mom again.”
Mom happy and living forever? Two tickets to Paradise, please!
So begins Katie’s zealous quest to attain perfection and entrance into a utopian world which promises peace, love, and happiness. She discovers a much darker world. “Two Tickets to Paradise, from Cult to Comedy” tells the hilarious and heartbreaking story of an earnest, bible-toting kid intent on saving the world, and follows her metamorphosis into a boisterous comedian intent on saving herself through the healing powers of humor.
In Today’s Q+Art Interview…
Amy Ilic-Volpe discusses creating your own reality, the joys of art-making with kids, and the innovations that arise from catastrophe.
What one book belongs on every artist’s shelf?
Amy Ilic-Volpe: Creative Block by Danielle Krysa (The Jealous Curator). It has great interviews with working artists and real tips and exercises artists can apply to master the creative block!
If you could have dinner with any artist, living or dead, who would it be?
AIV: Hilma af Klint. She was an epic abstract artist who likely influenced many of the "greats" (Kandinsky, Mondrian, etc.) and never quite received her due cred. I would love to chat about her perspective on women artists in a male-dominated art world.
What are you trying to express with your art?
AIV: FUN! I don't take art or the art-making process too seriously. I think sometimes it should just be a happy experience and bring joy.
Do you prefer New York- or Chicago-style pizza?
AIV: New York; I like to fold it and eat it like a taco.
What person has most influenced your work?
AIV: It's totally the kids I have worked with over the years. I know that isn't one person, but making art with kids is always my biggest inspiration.
What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
AIV: In this moment? Ru Paul's Drag Race—this season is making me gag!
What do you consider your greatest artistic achievement?
AIV: Teaching. Sharing the creative process and sparking wonder is the most rewarding thing an artist can do.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
AIV: It has taken some time, but my wife gave me the best advice when she encouraged me to think differently in order to manifest the reality I wanted. She is a strong believer in creating our own realities with thought, and when I started to actually put this into practice and spend time in meditation, it was mind-blowing!
What is one thing you would like to change about the art world?
AIV: The art world is evolving, but there is still the tendency for pretentiousness and it is super lame. Let's lift each other up!
What are you listening to in the studio right now?
AIV: Ani DiFranco—Revolutionary Love.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your practice?
AIV: It was the best thing that could happen to it!! Having time to experiment and be reminded of the joy it can bring was seriously pivotal for me this past year.
How do you think the coronavirus pandemic will impact the art world in the long term?
AIV: I love how the pandemic has caused everyone to be a little more creative. So many awesome solutions were found to deal with this year's situation and all of the new innovations can only benefit art and artists.
What are you working on that you’re excited about right now?
AIV: I have been working on a new collection titled Keys. It is a reflection on the excitement and mystery that can be found in isolation and going within ourselves for exploration.
Amy Ilic-Volpe: Website | Instagram | Facebook
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. All photos published with permission of the artist.
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