Maiden Resident Artist: Amber Snearl
"I think being in an urban place, and being in a city and seeing so many other people that are doing creating things and actually making a career out of it—it gave me that little push. "
In this interview, I spoke with Amber Snearl, our Maiden Resident Artist over the Winter...
Collin: Tell me about yourself a little bit—where are you from and how you got to Chicago.
Amber: I’m from everywhere. I was born in Kansas, but then I moved to St. Louis. And then I came here for college. So I came here and I studied Business. I’ve always been super artistic, just kind of hid it for a while. But then, once I graduated, I realized that art was my passion. I used to sketch a lot, and I actually never painted up until like, two years ago. So I just started painting and then it just took off from there.
C: You use acrylics primarily?
A: Acrylics, yeah.
C: How did you come into art? What inspired you to begin sketching?
A: I’ve always done it. When I was younger, I really wanted to be a fashion designer. I used to draw little outfits and put them on grandma’s fridge. But I went to a “paint and sit” a couple of years ago, and I was painting I’m like, “I’m kinda good at this—I could do this!” I was always scared of color—painting with color, so that’s why I sketched a lot. But that night just sort of sparked something in the air. I just started doing it.
C: We first saw your work at the Sheridan Park Art Fair. Have you done a lot of those around town?
A: No, that was actually my first one in Chicago.
C: How long have you been in Chicago?
A: About 7 years now. And I didn’t expect to stay here, it just kind of happened.
C: And you're in this neighborhood?
C: How long have you been in Uptown?
A: I think about 2 years now.
C: Would you say that living in Chicago has affected your art?
A: Oh, yeah. It’s definitely brought out the artistic side of me. I think being in an urban place, and being in a city and seeing so many other people that are doing creating things and actually making a career out of it—it gave me that little push.
C: Has your relationship to the Ravenswood and Uptown communities specifically affected you?
A: When I first moved to Uptown and saw all the murals—I used to live downtown at school. So you see art, but you’re downtown so it’s touristy. When I came over here, it was like, “wow, these people are local artists, like I can do this too.”
C: Has your business degree helped you in your degree in art?
A: Absolutely. I’m actually looking to start my own business. I blog as well, I blog for other companies, and with my art I’ve been able to start my own bag line. It has definitely helped me.
C: I saw your bag artwork on your Instagram. I didn’t realize it was a full line.
A: My next step in doing that is getting a wholesaler so that I can start buying bags in bulk and start pushing them out.
C: Is your artwork for sale?
C: Do you do commission work?
A: Yes, I do.
C: Who is your biggest influence?
A: It’s funny, because I say Jackson Pollock, even though none of this stuff looks like Pollock. I think because his stuff is so abstract and out of the box, when I sit down to paint, I’m like, “okay, what would he do?” And I just picture him throwing his paint and that makes my mind go to crazy places.
C: How long does it usually take to make a piece from start to finish?
A: Maybe a couple of hours—2 or 3 hours. If it’s a commission, probably longer. I like to take my time, sit down and work on it, make sure it’s perfect, so that can take me a couple of weeks.
Amber Snearl Art was born out of a personal need for an outlet. An outlet as a woman, an outlet as a creative and an outlet as a black person in America. As a woman, we often find ourselves constantly seeking approval from outside sources. Sources that will never bring us real happiness. As an artist, we often find the most important source of approval comes from within. My art is created from that intersection. Where being a conscious woman meets being a self sufficient artist. I hope to give you "the feels" with each piece you see.