Author: Imogen Aldridge

Amy Gardner on what it means to be a female artist

We sat down with Amy Gardner to discuss her experiences as a female artist, the challenges she faces and what her words of advice would be for an aspiring artist.

AR: Has your work been shaped by your own experiences as a female artist?

AG: I would say my work is shaped by my experience as a woman, a girl, a mother, rather than my experiences as a female artist. My work is all about women, about celebrating womanhood, and about the power that is: women supporting women. I am big on cheerleading the women around me, as well as my two young girls. I am interested in the experience of women, and the movement and ‘history of effort’ gifted to us from generations of women before us. 

Amy Gardner on what it means to be a female artist | Image

Behind Every Strong Woman...(Copper Edition) by Amy Gardner

Amy Gardner on what it means to be a female artist | Image

AR: How does your approach to printing reflect your exploration of womanhood?

AG: I am, probably along with most artists I know, a bit of a non-conformist. This applies to nearly every element of my life, and of course my art as well. With my print process specifically, I often deliberately work outside of the realm of printing standards, I look to push boundaries, intentionally mis-register, smush things, add far too much ink to the page, just generally not follow "the rules". 

I tend to not plan my work, it's very much from a place of following urges, instincts, and flow. I find this is often when happy accidents happen: the real magic. For me though this is in part about amplifying the message of celebrating our imperfections and embracing our uniqueness, with also a hint at the often subtle ways in which women have historically subverted the constraints of their 'allotted' roles.

 Amy Gardner on what it means to be a female artist | Image

A Woman's Strength Extends Far Beyond Her Fingertips by Amy Gardner

Amy Gardner on what it means to be a female artist | Image

AR: How did you make art your full time career? Did you face any challenges?

AG: It happened quite quickly, for which I am very grateful… for me it has been about, as with anything you want to succeed in, hard work, relentless self belief, and focus. Where your focus goes your energy flows etc etc. I think also coming back to art after 20 years with a few different careers behind me, a few laps of the world under my belt and a whole tonne of life experience has given me the guts, confidence and self belief to just go for it. It’s also been quite important to find an incredible community of artists, be it from a print studio, or just artists from the industry generally; there are many late night pep talks!

Outside of this, and at the early stages of getting back into producing art it was all about giving myself the grace and space and time to just follow my creative urges and see what happens. From there I was able to understand the message that my art is communicating. 

Did I face any challenges? Although this is also an inspiration, the fact I am a Mumma, and have essentially 5 hours most days to get all the work done is a bit of a challenge! I am excited by the fact my girls have bright uplifting images of strong graceful women to look at on just about every inch of wall space in our home. 

 Amy Gardner on what it means to be a female artist | Image

Betty is Boss by Amy Gardner

Amy Gardner on what it means to be a female artist | Image

AR: Do you have any studio rituals to help you focus?

AG: This varies - I am great at inconsistency! Sometimes I am all green juices and meditation, sometimes I am 50/50 decaf coffee and plugged into high energy uplifting music. Generally I work best when I remember that focus, along with creativity comes and goes, like waves in and out. 

AR: What would your words of advice be to an aspiring female artist?

AG: Ignore the statistics on female representation in the art industry: they are improving, but still mighty depressing. Give yourself grace, find your community, and have relentless self belief.

Want to discover more of Amy Gardner's art? Discover her Art Republic collection of limited edition prints here.

Amy Gardner on what it means to be a female artist | Image

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