Sunday, February 22, 2015

Interview with Amy Turner, CPSA (IL) - Second Place Award Winner ET!11

I noticed the term "Acklfee" on your website. Tell our readers a bit about what that term means and how you use it. I think it's a great introduction into your creative process.

The word “Acklfee” (ack-el-fee) is a term that I had made up as a child to describe a joyfully silly person, one given to bouts of giggling and/or goofiness or, later in life, an exclamation made after experiencing an unexplainable synchronicity. The word followed me as I grew up and may still be heard on those rare, synchronous occasions. Oh yes...ever present beneath the shy exterior...the AckLfee silliness still ripples randomly...like a tiny, badly-thrown pebble in a puddle.

AckLfee was recalled to life again in late 2007 when I became motivated to step up my personal artistic endeavors. I began by creating an online presence, in addition to joining my local art league and CPSA. And since “Turner” is rather a common name, I thought “what better moniker to use than AckLfee?” In hindsight, I'm not sure if this strategy has been altogether successful as it is not an easy word to remember...but it makes me happy none the less.

Up until that point in 2007, my creative process was mostly stifled by my work-a-day job as a graphic artist...rather mundane. So when I made the conscious decision to start creating for my own ends again, I called upon my old college love of photo-realism to regain my creative sea-legs. Since then, slowly, by introducing personal totems, favorite themes and dream-inspired imagery, my work has morphed away from strictly photographic to what I came to call an“improvised, stylized realism.”


"Soul Plexus - Tulips with Pearl Chakras"
Colored Pencil
Amy Turner, CPSA (IL)


What inspires your work that you describe as "improvised, stylized form of realism?" What inspired your "All in a Day's Work" piece from the ET! 11.

As I alluded to earlier, when I was younger, I was a hyper-realism fanatic, working mostly in ebony pencil. Couldn't get enough of it. It became my go-to style when I began in earnest to revive my personal art journey. What I found, however, was that the exacting nature of photo realism had lost some of it's charm for me. Although technically challenging, it just wasn't “fun” anymore. Maybe this was what an artistic mid-life crisis looked like??? I found myself improvising more with color, shape, composition and content. No longer relying predominantly on the photo, it seemed personal totems, themes and dream-inspired design elements had elbowed their way to the forefront. Now, many a composition is finding it's final incarnation in my cranium, not the camera.   A good many of these have actually come to me while waking in middle of the night, after which I scramble to scribble ideas into my sketchbook for further reference.

“All In A Day's Work,” however, harkens back style-wise to my earlier years of strict photo-realism. I took a wonderful photo while on a delivery with my husband for our business. Although I had seen this particular space many times before, on this day it was alive with a staccato play of light and a slightly warped view of reality which immediately drew me right in. Originally, I hadn't intended for it to be anything but a fun diversion from other projects and a dabbling process using a bit of paint and ink pens – and I never expected an award! I was elated simply when it was deemed exhibit-worthy!

In subsequent pieces, I have been exploring a creative side-street which still makes use of many of my personal totems - birds, pearls/jewelry, floral imagery - with a reflective, kaleidoscopic twist (as seen in the piece “Soul Plexus – Tulips With Pearl Chakras”). Occasionally, there will still be an image such as “All In A Day's Work” beckoning and begging to be drawn, to which I will enthusiastically surrender. Actually, a few are taunting me from inside my file cabinet even as I write this....


"All in a Day's Work"
Colored Pencil, paint and ink pens
Amy Turner, CPSA (IL)

ET! Winner of
CPSA District Chapters
Awards for Exceptional Merit $1000

I know very few artists who license their artwork. What made you decide to offer your work as licensed, and any advice for our colored pencil artists thinking of following that route? Does it work for you?

The licensing aspect of my art was initiated when I was asked to license 3 pieces of art for the set of the television series “Desperate Housewives” in 2010. Up to that point, I had never given licensing any thought. I have since seen quite a few of our CPSA members' artwork on products though, which speaks volumes for their beautiful artwork because it is a VERY competitive endeavor! But, there is a difference between a company wanting to use your existing art to showcase a product and actually making artwork for product design en masse. From what I gather, creating art for product design, for the most part, is an exacting, pre-determined formula (much like most graphic design) where you sell a body of artwork in a multitude of formats for differing products. Having spoken to other licensing artists, it is a full time job if you want to be successful at it.

In my case, my husband and I have been running our own businesses for over 20 years. The licensing aspect of my art has been more or less a hobby business since 2010. I didn't have the time required to travel to the major licensing expos or to concentrate on the large, wide-ranging image portfolios required by most art licensing agents (signing with a licensing agent is practically a necessity to get your foot in the door with many licensee companys). So, although I am open to licensing opportunities as they may arise and continue to fill sketchbooks with ideas, a full immersion into art licensing might have to wait a few years in my case.

What materials do you use (pencils, paper, etc.) You used inks and paints, in addition to colored pencil, in your award winning piece. What effects did the inks and paints achieve on the marker paper?

For much of my colored pencil work, I use Prismacolor Premiere pencils exclusively because they seem to give me the best coverage and creamy blending. Strathmore Bristol or Canson papers are a mainstay on my table – the less tooth, the better. The marker paper I used for “All In A Day's Work” was new for me. I originally purchased it to just dabble with some ink and markers but when I started this piece, I fell back into CP out of habit. It worked well, like a very thin bristol or Mylar, to hold the CP and allowed me to accent without any bleed with the ink/paint pens.


"Season of Remembrance"
Colored Pencil
Amy Turner, CPSA (IL)

Why did you join CPSA? What would you tell someone who is new to the organization, or someone thinking to join?

When my creative motivation returned in 2007, a fellow artist at my local art league asked if I had heard of CPSA, so I did a little sleuthing and joined immediately. In the end, credit must be given to CPSA for supplying the additional tinder needed to rekindle my creative fires after years of putting it on the back-burner. My first copy of To The Point not only inspired and encouraged me, but challenged me to take my work seriously again!  I marveled at the creativity and craftsmanship on display within those pages, and the willingness to offer insights, tips and encouragement so freely. I must confess, the members of CPSA never fail to blow me away with their talent.... I consider myself lucky to be a in their numbers!

For those who are new to CPSA or thinking of joining, I would say...”jump right in...you won't be disappointed!” Not only will you be welcomed into a wonderfully diverse, creative, giving and enthusiastic family of artists, but you will have many marvelous opportunities to learn, share, network and exhibit your artwork. Don't hesitate to take advantage of all the that CPSA has to offer! Every artist needs a support structure to buoy and inspire them...and CPSA does just that for today's CP artist.


Amy Turner, CPSA (IL)
Thank you, Amy!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So interesting and inspiring, great article. Amy Turner is a Very talented artist.