Apart from creating wonderful artworks - any other hidden talents we should know about? Also, can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Amy Clemens and I’m a full time graphic designer, part time illustrator. I suppose graphic design is my hidden talent aside from illustration, I work full time in a small packaging/branding studio in Melbourne. Aside from creative pursuits I also play netball, am an avid music lover and try to go to as many gigs as I can! I’ve also been know to whip out 1 too many random trivia facts on occasion.
Have you been met with any challenges as an artist along the way? (Personally or professionally)
As a part time artist, my main struggle is trying to balance full time work and drawing. I try to draw on the weekends, however sometimes this just isn’t doable with social commitments, or just the fact that I am not motivated. Being creative everyday is difficult and I’ve struggled with finding that balance.
What does body confidence mean to you? Is it something you’ve ever struggled with and why?
Body confidence isn’t something I would say I have ever had much of. I’ve struggled with feeling not good enough and feeling judged for that fact. I naturally think that as you get older, you become more confident in yourself and this leads to a more positive attitude to your body. Or at least for me, this has been the case.
Can you please share a little about how you go into creating artwork and how you’d describe your style?
My style is pencil realism mixed with other media to create a cohesive, powerful piece. I generally browse the web for inspiration, and create my own references images from that. I usually have an idea in mind, a colour scheme or technique I’d like to try, which is how I usually get started.
What’s your idea of empowerment?
To be empowered is to be completed and unapologetically yourself, without doubt. I believe that when you do you, and support others around you, this creates a positive environment in which we can all do our own thing without judgement or fear.
What message do you have for those who are struggling with body confidence/self-love/weight or appearance issues? – What’s helped you in the past?
You have to love yourself and be confident in who are and what you are doing. I think if you stick to your own convictions and push forward you will get to where you want to be. Another important one I have learnt is to never compare yourself to others – especially online. You can’t compare your worst day with an edited image on Instagram. In the end, you just have to be yourself and know that you are enough.
What inspires your style of art? What are the best ways you've found that have refined your practice?
I’m fascinated with portraiture, and how a portrait of someone can say so much about them and their story. I like to draw women mostly, as a women myself I find that this best connects me to the emotion of the piece or the reasoning behind it. I’ve refined my practise over years and years of practice, experimenting and pushing myself to be better.
When it comes to female support – what comes to mind for you? Is it positive or negative?
I’ve been lucky – I have always had incredibly supportive women around me. From my family & friends to women within the creative industry, their support is so important to me and has made me push myself to keep creating.
Your work is very female/body inspired – have you ever struggled with those inspiration and references affecting your body image perception? Do you think social media has played a positive or negative role in your perception?
Yes. I tend to lean towards drawing quite skinny women, as I base my pieces of models most of the time. It’s unintentional, however it isn’t how I’d like it to be. Looking through Instagram for inspiration, you can see how damaging it can be. Social Media is getting better, but with the rise of influencer culture, the idea of a “perfect life” can’t be having a positive influence on young people. This includes body image – constantly being bombarded with images of perfectly sculpted women with these incredible bodies can create negative and unwanted pressure on women to look the same .
What advice what you give your 18-year-old self if you could?
I’d tell her to stop worrying about what people think – not everyone is always going to like you or what you do.
How has your work and practice developed over time?
I think my work has gotten better as I’ve perfected my crafted and carved out a distinct style for myself. In terms of my practice developing, I think I rely less on any reference images than I ever used too, and use my imagination more to create pieces. I know that conceptually, I have come along way and I feel that my pieces reflect that.
What or who have been some of your main creative influences?
I am so inspired by some of the incredible female creatives in our business. Whether it be illustrators, artists, typographers, photographers or musicians, I am constantly in awe of women who run their own business and do it all alone, while still maintaining their integrity as creatives.
As you’ve gotten older – how has your perception of your body and confidence changed?
I think my perception of my body hasn’t changed all that much, however my confidence has. I know now that I am more confidence in myself, my body and my ideas. I’ve realised I am allowed to be myself, and who cares who judges you for it.