This month in FOCUS we were delighted to interview artist Amber Carbury. Amber grew up here in the Manning and has since moved around the East Coast of NSW, developing her incredible skills and showcasing her art. Viewed closely, her works resemble thousands of tiny dots – an art skill that will leave you in awe.
What’s your relationship with the Manning-Great Lakes area; how did you come to call it home?
When I was 9 years old, my family moved to a beautiful area located in the Manning Valley called Bobin. I grew up on a cattle farm in Bobin, attended the local public school and then went to Wingham High School, before moving to Newcastle for further studies. I feel extremely fortunate and grateful to have grown up in a community that felt like one big family. I felt a great sense of belonging in Bobin, vn and it will always be my home.
What do you recall as being your earliest creative memories?
My interest in being creative began at a young age; I was encouraged and supported by the local community. Bobin Public School enabled students to be practically involved in their interests, and art was no exception. Local artists and musicians were often involved in assisting the school with “life skills day”, and it was this inspirational artistic encouragement that excited my interest for the arts.
When was it that you discovered your passion was, in fact, talent? Was this something that progressed quickly?
My passion for painting and drawing during my teenage years developed into what I would describe as a healthy love and obsession with expressing myself through art. I realised that this passion was a driving force within my personality – something that could give a sense of meaning and purpose in life. My love and interest for art has become even stronger over the years, as I battle with myself to try and achieve my greatest potential. I am aware that I must be patient with myself, as only time, persistence and practice can further my skill level.
It seems a lot of your work reflects the female human figure. What is it about this subject that draws you in?
Drawing and painting the human form was one of the main focus areas at art school. I felt an instant connection to my work when the human form was involved. The challenge and struggle to reveal the essence of life in an artwork was captivating to me. I have a constant desire to reveal the human form in an emotionally romantic way, and my discovery of such artists as J.W.Waterhouse and Gustav Klimt strengthened and excited this desire. The female form, in particular, seems to resonate with my love and use of colour and patterning in my work. The beauty and emotion in the female form has always been a subject of captivation for many and a subject of which many artists never tire from.
You’ve referred to your paintings as a collection of hundreds of dots; how did this skill develop?
Over time I have developed a way of painting that not only reflects my interest of patterning, but assists with layering techniques that were taught to me at art school. My painting teacher used to say to me, “Mix your paint on the palette, not on your surface” in an attempt to reduce the “muddiness” of the painting; in other words, when painting skin tones it is more efficient to learn how to correctly mix the tones you need and then apply them to achieve a more precise or correct outcome. After years of painting this way, my work has slowly evolved into my own particular style. I have become accustomed to applying the paint in a dot-like manner using particular colours that build up in tonal layers to create an image.
What are your future ambitions?
At this point in time, my main goal is to work hard and gain recognition as an emerging artist. After completing a Bachelor of Fine Art in 2009, I worked in retail full-time for six years, in what seemed like an endless rut to pay the bills. Financially I was unable to paint full-time and found it extremely hard to keep a creative rhythm going with my work. I have been painting full-time for just over a year now with the assistance of the NEIS program. This small business programme has given me the extra time, knowledge and support I desperately needed to boost my confidence and skills to start my career as a full-time artist.
Where can people see examples of your work, follow your journey, or contact you if they’d like more information?
To see examples of my work or contact me for further information, you can go to my website at www.ambercarbury.com and follow the links to Instagram or Facebook.
This article was from issue 101 of Manning-Great Lakes Focus