Nashville Visual Artists-Amanda Joy Brown

The other day I visited the studio of painter Amanda Brown at Ground Floor Gallery, a relatively new gallery and studio space on 4th Avenue. Watching Amanda work was fascinating. She paints in a drizzle technique; dripping paint off the wooden part of a brush, so the brush never touches the canvas. This technique creates a multitude of lines and curves that seem to be interconnected. But what’s fascinating about these lines and curves is that faces, bodies, and depictions of everyday life can be seen. It really made me want to know more about the work. She took a break from painting and gave me the lowdown on her process.

Nashville Visual Artists  is a photo documentary that profiles visual artists living and working in Nashville. The purpose of this project is to bring awareness to the strong visual arts scene here. Nashville is famous for its music culture but a lot of people aren't familiar with its rich visual arts culture. By interviewing artists and documenting their process in the studio, I hope to draw more attention to the visual arts community here.

What is the theme of your work?

Essentially, it’s about the tension between the controlled and the accidental using crowds as a metaphor for this idea. My work also addresses the idea of the individual and the collective-the idea that the individual is also part of the greater whole. I am investigating the idea of the crowd having its own identity as well as its individuals having their own identities at the same time.

What is the inspiration of your work?

The desire to make sense from chaos inspires me to make my work, as well as a fascination with humanity, especially crowd psychology. I love to people watch, and the nuances I see inspires my work as well. I used to live in France and I loved people watching when I was there. 

As far as other artists go, I've loved the work of Vija Celmins for her love of mimicry, detail, and preference for covering her surfaces with so much detail it starts to resemble a machine-made texture, except it's carefully rendered by a human hand. My Chinese painting course furthered my interest in the possibilities of line and gave me an appreciation for working with a certain level of flow and working with a medium instead of fighting it. I am very inspired by the idea of repetition and how beautiful it is, especially imperfect repetition, or variations on a theme (which actually isn't repetition) that is prevalent in nature. Lastly, I am fascinated by science and social behavior. This is driving my current series where I take this idea of underlying patterns and connect it with analog static, which is created by surrounding electromagnetic waves, coming from a combination of cosmic radiation, radiation coming from the immediate environment, and the internal workings of a screen. I see this as an allegory of the evolution of social behavior.

What are the goals for your work?

I’d like for people to be drawn to the work; to want to get up close to it. To see individual people and detail, to notice the interactions that are happening between the characters. But I’d also like them to step away from the work and see how the line work starts to blend together and become almost like a pattern. The viewer then hopefully sees that all the characters are joined together by this line work which conveys a sense of connectivity.

What are your thoughts on the Nashville art scene?

I love it because it’s small enough where you don’t feel anonymous but large enough so there is diversity amongst the artists. I’m always discovering new work and meeting new people, but still feel part of the community. It’s exciting because there are new galleries popping up. I’m looking forward to see what the future holds for the arts here in Nashville.

To learn more about Amanda’s work check out her website at: