Artist Interview from 2016, Originally Posted on Fearless Lines
I remember meeting Amber Walker for the first time when we were in the planning stages of a women’s photography and art journaling retreat weekend that we co-lead. I mostly remember how quick she was to smile and how authentic and real she was. Since that day, I have come to know her better, and I so respect her as a mother, a friend, an artist and a woman. I had the opportunity to interview Amber about her art and inspiration. I love her responses! ~ Nanette
Our Fearless woman for the month of October is Amber Walker. Amber is a mental health therapist and artist with two beautiful daughters who lives in mid-Maine. Please welcome her to the blog! I can’t wait to follow along with her writing and see her art all month! Amber is a published art journalist, and you can find her and connect with her, outside of this blog, on Instagram @alteredbyamber.
Amber, can you please share how long you’ve been doing art journaling for self-expression and how you got started?
Nanette, my mother introduced me to altered books over ten years ago. I attempted one and it was a disaster, but the process was exhilarating.
Soon after my attempt at altered books, a coworker brought in Sabrina Ward Harrison’s book, Spilling Open, and that book changed everything for me. That book with its curled edges, coffee stains, and now with Sabrina’s signature scrawled across the inside cover remains one of my treasured possessions. It opened the door to my creativity.
It’s funny I never thought of my art journaling as self-expression. That’s strange huh? To be honest, I don’t know why I art journal. There is an internal pull to my journals that I can’t quite describe. I yearn for time to spend amongst the pages, I will steal seconds away in my daily routine to just splash paint or write words on a page. I just can’t imagine my world without art journaling. It’s a sacred space where I become free again.
What and/or who is your inspiration to do the type of art you do? What inspires you on a daily basis?
I find inspiration everywhere. I find it on Instagram and follow countless creative beings – a wealth of inspiration exists there!
My little girl has helped me to stop and “see” beauty again. She notices the way the light hits raindrops (once she said, look mama it’s raining diamonds and told me to go get my camera), she stops and closes her eyes and tilts her face into the sunlight and breeze, and she often talks about wanting to fly. She recently asked me what bird I would like to be. Inspiration wells up in these fleeting, quiet moments.
I find myself mesmerized by things that are wild and free, natural beauty and inspiration exists all around us. I remember my photography professor saying that the only thing you need to have an interesting photograph is interesting light. The golden hour on my morning run (well run, stop, take photos, then run again) is probably the one source of inspiration that remains constant. I notice patterns in light and shadows and this often inspires my work.
Do you ever hit a low inspiration place and take a break from art?
I’ve learned that there is an established ebb and flow to my inspiration and creative ideas. It looks like the predictable pattern of ocean tides. I can even look back over the years of art journaling and tell you there is a set pattern! I have times that it’s about soaking in new experiences and more photography. Then I feel creativity returning, the return to the pages is like the magnetic pull of the ocean water on the shores. I no longer fear the periods when I feel low on creative energy because I know it will come back. Never has there been a time that I am not engaged in some creative outlet either photography, writing, or painting. The medium just alters until I always return to my art journal.
Your art journaling seems to be very revealing and vulnerable. How do you deal with concerns about telling too much about your life or what you are experiencing? Are you worried about criticism or people being judgmental?
I don’t hold anything back when I’m working on my art journal pages. It’s only after I post them for the world to see that I have second thoughts (same thing with my writing!). It’s not that I worry about people’s judgments, it’s that I’m actually a very private person so it does make me feel vulnerable in those moments like I’ve shown more of myself than I do in many areas of my life. To me the best art journals are personal and authentic so I don’t want to filter my work. I think it’s worth the risk in being vulnerable in the process.
I love that you have been published in art magazines. How did that come about? Which article are you most proud of?
I love Stampington’s magazines and when they released the new publication of Art Journaling magazine, I thought I’m going to send my art journals in!
I can’t think of one article that I’m more proud of than the other ones, but it’s an addicting thrill to see my artwork published. I feel very vulnerable when I know the release happens! My writing and art journaling together is a true reflection of my world. It’s a mix of excitement and anxiety!
Besides your art journaling, what other things do you think you may be journaling about this month on the Fearless Lines” blog?
I’m always surprised by my blog posts. I tend to plan a post about art journaling then I stumble upon a new idea on my morning run and a post begins to unfold. I tend to mix my daily life especially of motherhood into my posts. I actually have intentions of more posts on art journaling, but don’t be surprised if a post about my life sneaks it’s way into the fold – I try to follow the fearless path of inspiration!
One last question, Amber, in what aspects of your life and art do you feel you are the most fearless?
I am most fearless in creating my art. My life follows a necessary routine with established expectations. My time spent creating art is different. When I enter my art room, there is this weight that slides away and I let go of expectations and rules (love that part!). I fearlessly trust the process and let go of the outcome.
Amber, thank you so much for talking with me and revealing your thoughts around your art and inspiration! I look forward to reading all your posts this month here on Fearless Lines!
Thank-you Nanette for your interview and thought provoking questions!
Amber’s published work and shown work can be found in the following magazines and art gallery!
Published artwork in Stampington & Company’s Art Journaling magazine issues of Summer 2015, Spring 2014, Winter 2013, Summer 2013, Winter 2012, Summer 2012, and Summer 2011
Published artwork in Stampington & Company’s Somerset Memories Autumn 2012 issue
Selected for Paste & Pages Harlow Gallery, Hallowell, Maine June 2013 Exhibition , artwork placed in front window of exhibition
Writing entry chosen for Stampington & Company Short Story Challenge in June 2013