A Conversation With the Enchanting Amy Friend

A Conversation With the Enchanting Amy Friend

Critically-acclaimed photographer Amy Friend knows how to create art that captivates, inspires, and sparks dreams and imagination.

Featured in esteemed publications including TIME and The Telegraph, as well as a high-profile bedroom makeover in MyDomaine with Jessica Alba, this Canadian artiste’s distinctive work has been exhibited (and lauded) both nationally and internationally, from her native country to the US and across the pond in France.

We recently chatted with Amy about her distinctive creative process, love of history, and philosophy on art. We’ll also reveal some of her latest art, now available on Citizen Atelier!

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What’s your story, Amy Friend?

My story, hmmm… I like to think of my story as one that weaves into the Earth and stars; but, more practically speaking, I grew up on the outskirts of Windsor across from Detroit City. The waters of Lake St. Clair were my playground and a glorious round house is where my imagination flourished. It may be clich?, but I have been an artist from the start. I know that now. I built forts and rafts and played constantly with and in the world around me. I am curious, always, and constantly curious.

What inspired you to work with photographs dating back to the 30s and 40s?

I was inspired to work with vintage photographs as a response to my interest in the old family albums that were shared with me. I was curious about the photos that failed to have any record of provenance. Even in our family albums, there were names forgotten. I became interested in the photos you find in shops and online based on this personal experience with my own familial albums. Photographs are full of stories and yet they are full of loss. These little histories are spread out like wind, like dust. I wanted to make work that responded to the imagery, but also to the medium of photography.

(Niagara, 1949)
(Niagara, 1949)

Your images have a scintillating quality to them. Take us through your creative process.

I pierce the images by hand and allow light to flood through. I aim to recapture some magic and reinvent the photos. They are transformed through my alterations and processes. Each photograph asks? for a particular response. I work to bring things forward, to bring them to the light again. I want them to be seen. If we are enticed to look and wonder, I have succeeded a little, at least!

(Atlantic City, 1948)
(Atlantic City, 1948)

Your photography for California Sunday Magazine was recently praised by TIME. We believe “magical” is the adjective they used to describe it! As an artist, how does that prestigious shoutout make you feel?

The cover for California Sunday Magazine was a wonderful surprise! There were many people involved in the creation of the work and that is what makes it most exciting. Art has a voice and in this regard, a shared vision resulted in this praise. I am so pleased the word “magical”? was used. The world needs more magic!

In your eyes, what role does art play in a home?

Oh my, this is an interesting question. Well, it needs to suit you and your personality. Sometimes, a bold piece stirs up wonderful conversations and instigates curiosity, while other pieces set a mood. As far as a role, it should be present and embedded in the everyday. I wake up to an image I love! It grounds me.

As an artist, what legacy do you hope to leave behind?

To be brave in your creative pursuits. To remember what is important and look again and again and appreciate what is right in front of you.

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Explore Amy’s stunning new art on Citizen Atelier! Simply poetic.

(Floral Babushka)
(Floral Babushka)
intodreams
(Into Dreams I)
(Blue Babushka)
(Blue Babushka)