Amanda Kartes Outstanding Artist
The Department of Art & Art History recognized Amanda Kartes as the Outstanding Artist of the 2020 Spring Graduating class for her willingness to work big, take on a challenging variety of media, and her ability to stay focused during this challenging quarter.
What's an experience that you'll remember from your time at Western?
One of the more memorable experiences I had studying at Western would have to be taking 3-Dimensional Art and Performative Objects with Ryan Kelly my sophomore year. Previously, I only had experience with painting and drawing and fully expected to continue on that path for the rest of my education - if not my entire artistic career. At the time, sculpture and installation were art forms that I knew very little about, and the art and artists that I did recognize did not particularly interest me. Within the time frame of those classes I was introduced to the work of Judy Chicago, Yayoi Kusama, Nick Cave, etc.; and it was as though a tiny light bulb appeared above my head screaming at me to create work that could compare to those I was shown during class presentations. To put it simply, I dived into to creating elaborate sculptures for each project before quickly realizing that the transition into learning an entirely new skill set is difficult (all of the pieces from those classes reside in the trash). Though there was much struggle, I look back at that experience as the catalyst to creating the artist I am now, still perilously trying to replicate the art I can only imagine but in love with the learning process in doing so.
Who were you mentors? What did you learn from them?
I would have to say that the members of my BFA committee, Ryan Kelly and Cara Jaye, as well as our BFA coordinator this year, Lisa Turner, have had the biggest impact on my work and practices as an artist (though it is difficult not to list a majority of the faculty). Ryan and Cara both worked closely with me this year to help fully realize and work though creating a large-scale installation for the first time, they constantly offered sound critique and inspiration overall my work would not be as successful without their guidance. Lisa has also been a tremendous help throughout the course of my BFA year, helping with the more nuanced side of an artistic career, including developing a CV, artist statement, and translating her experience as an artist in terms of getting internships, residencies, and grants. I really have to thank all of the professors I have had the chance to work with these past four years for helping shape me as an artist and inspiring me with your work and enthusiasm for teaching.
What’s next...that’s a good question. In terms of the near future, I have applied to a few internships and residencies that would help me continue creating and learning as much as possible. I plan on continuing to experiment more with mediums I have not had much time with yet, such as wood-sculpture and ceramics. I hope to pursue graduate school within the next few years, while continuing to hone in on installation work combining 2D and 3D mediums. It’s difficult to imagine a world without assignments for a few years but I’m very excited to see where that takes me.