Amy Brown. When one hears that name they will automatically think of fairies of all kinds. She also does fantasy characters of all types: unicorns, mermaids, dragons, horses, misfits, and other whimsy. If you ask her to describe her work, she’d tell you, “I have several styles I play with. Sort of like multiple personalities.”
I wonder what the inside of Amy’s head is like. “You don’t want to live in my head,” she said, “It’s crowded and not everyone behaves.”
And that’s the exact reason why we’d like to. So let’s climb into Amy’s head and poke around up there. Amy would you please give us a tour of the inner workings of your brain? As we walked around the dark and grey area, we came upon the Prefrontal Cortex when is right behind the forehead. This is the executive area of things that Amy is not a fan of. “I love that I have freedom of making my own schedule,” she said, “that I can do something that is meaningful to me. The most difficult part is the administrative side of business; accounting, taxes, etc, BLECK!”
She’s right, it’s a bit crowded in here, but it’s a beautiful and warm place to be. With as busy as she is, it’s amazing that she gets anything done. Being a mother is time consuming enough, yet she still has time to do the massive amount of work she does. “I’ supposed to be seeing my coffee/tea faeries as figurines soon; any day perhaps. The sewing pattern company I teamed up with last year to design a pattern for faery dress is working on a new one for 2014 with a faery circus theme. My 2015 calendar should be out in July.”
Amy’s been painting faeries since 1992 with no formal training under her belt or behind her hands. Her life is not only filled with all things fantasy, she’s married with 2 children. She must be a Cancer because she likes to stay shelled up at home and doesn’t like attention. She does her subjects with such expertise, you’d think she was every character she creates. “I don’t like coffee,” she said with a wrinkled up nose, “I think it tastes icky and even small amounts, make my skin feel like it’s going to vibrate off my bones.”
She’s a left-handed artist and her tools of the trade are Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors, Arches Bright White 300lb hot press watercolor paper, Pigma Micron ink pens, PITT Artist Pens, Prismacolor colored pencils, Winsor and Newton Gouache, Daniel Smith Series 23 watercolor brushes, table salt, isopropyl alcohol, mechanical pencil.
With having children of her own, one may wonder what things where like for her as a kid. “I always loved drawing. As a child, my brother drew cars and I drew princesses. A lot of time was spent at the table doodling. As I got older, I focused on fantasy art; dragons, unicorns, maidens with swords. Most of the early pieces were in pencil and ink. It wasn’t until 21 that I started working with watercolors. I had started working at a small art gallery. At my bosses suggestion, I painted a fairy to fit an unused frame and it sold the next day.”
As we blindly walked around we hit the Frontal Lobe which is the working brain area; and Amy is always working. “I try to sleep, but don’t worry about it if I don’t get 8 hours,” she said, “I get up before the sun does and exercise, eat breakfast, and shower before the kids get up. Get them ready for school the work until about 3:30 in the afternoon. Then the kids come home, homework, dinner, teach the youngest to read, climb into bed and try to read my own book (and fall asleep mid-sentence).” I looked at her back to see if she had Energizer batteries in her. I had to ask her how she kept grounded. “A rope and a very heavy rock,” she said and I snort laughed.
With being a mom and artist, how in the world does she balance it all? She’s still trying to figure that out and not quite mastering it yet. If she had time for a hobby, other than gardening, she might; but nothing yet has stuck.
All this talk of everything Amy does has got me feeling tired. As we continued to bump around in the grey matter, I caught a wonderful smell coming from somewhere. As we crossed from one side of the brain to the other, we walked into the right hemisphere and I could tell, right away, that this is where she lived. The creative area is where she lives. This is the most beautiful and tasty places I’ve been. It’s filled with every color known to the human mind and faeries every where. So much beauty of art and her influences spoke loudly. “That’s probably a list of over 100 artists,” she started, “earliest influences (would be) Brian Froud, Alan Lee, Michael Parkes, and Edmund Dulac. The list grows every year as I come across artists I hadn’t seen before.”
Many other characters came out of the textures of the brain’s neurons and muscle and I felt like I was in a heaven of my own that only Amy would know how to design. I kept asking her question after question about everything and at one time, she drew a blank. I wondered, as an artist, what would that look like. She humored me, “Very hairy with large teeth,” she said.
The most wonderful smells came from a sweet and girly pastry shop there. Many of her baker and pastry faeries work there; Amy does not work there. “I don’t really cook, but I’m quite good at eating,” she said, “I stopped making cupcakes a while back, because I was so good at eating them.” The shop has the most wonderful treats and snacks there and cook books on the shelves as well. We sat and had coffee and cake and talked more. The cookbooks were an all natural ingredient recipes using wild and natural flavors. Faeries hate chemicals so they made sure to put things like sugared dewdrops, herb breads, flower petals, and scones with dandelion jam in there. The pictures in the book were almost as breath-taking as Amy’s art. We were served dark chocolate hot coco’s with cloud whipped cream and marshmallows on top.
So many different faeries in her head and how do they keep up with her? “It depends on the faery,” she started referencing what they eat for energy, “house faeries will eat whatever is available; from kitchen scraps to the crumbs you find in the sofa cushions. Goblins eat disgusting things, like dried out earth worms and drier lint. Flower faeries like pollen, flower petals, and the occasional aphid (for protein). Then there are water faeries who like algae, water plants, and aquatic snails.”
This was all very tasty conversation and I noticed every time I looked away and then went to sip my drink, my marshmallows were gone. Amy loves faeries so much she talked about a faery her. “Messy red hair, lots of freckles. Possibly and Ember faery. I would hang out near camp fires and burn holes in people’s socks.”
I went back to the counter for more marshmallows on my drink and when I got back to the table, Amy was gone. I thought maybe she went to the little faeires room, but after a while, she never returned. “And steal their marshmallows,” Amy whispered in my ear and I looked down at my drink and the tiny marshmallows were gone again and a red blur diapered into the air as I looked up. She’s right, not everyone behaves. I went back to the counter, once again, to get more marshmallows and a Mallowberry Fairy Cake caught my attention in the pastry case, so I got one of those, sat, nibbled and wondered how I was going to find my way out of her head.
To keep up with, order, get inspired by, or just to have a looky: http://www.amybrownart.com/