October 7th, 2020
Looking at the artwork by Amy Guidry, you are immediately overcome with a wave of thoughts and emotions. The hyperrealistic work, the surreal themes and visuals and finally the on the nose imagery contrast between profit and nature. It’s right in your face. The execution is flawless. Her work is deeply powerful and the message very clear cut. The fact that at first glance it just looks like an amazingly detailed bird or animal pulls you in. When you focus on the whole image, it breaks your heart the destruction and harm you bare witness that she highlights. Her work penetrates your mind and the beauty of the work and message battle for your full attention. It’s truly inspiring to view her artwork.
Where are you from?
I am originally from Slidell, Louisiana, and currently reside in Lafayette, Louisiana
How did you get interested in art?
I've been drawing since I was very young, before even starting school. I come from a family of artists as well, so I've always been exposed to art since childhood. I would spend much of my day just drawing or painting. When I was very young, I would blow through entire packages of typing paper. I mostly drew animals, usually on farms, because I loved horses, cows, and pigs. Then as I got older, I started drawing a lot of endangered animals as that was a huge concern of mine even as a kid.
How would you describe your style?
Contemporary surrealism with an emphasis on nature and ecological welfare.
Where do you find your inspiration for your work?
Nature in general inspires me, but I'm always looking to paint animals, insects and plants that I've never worked on before. Plus I'm always on the lookout when I go outside or go for a hike. I also get ideas for paintings from news articles or listening to NPR.
If you could combine three different animals to create a new animal, what would you use and what would you name it?
I think I'd combine some of my favorite animals (although that list is kind of long...) and say a cat, opossum, and a lemur. I'd call it the marsupial lemkat.
What do you want people to feel when they see your work?
Empathy is the first thing that comes to mind. Also, I want people to feel inspired and joyful because that's how I feel when I look at nature. I'm always fascinated by all the little creatures I see just in my own backyard, many of which would go completely unnoticed if I hadn't stopped to take the time and look around. I want everyone to see them, especially the rare or endangered ones as they are in critical need of our attention.
What are your preferred materials to work with?
I prefer acrylic on canvas. My paintings tend to take a long time to finish, so I don't have a lot of time to wait for them to dry before exhibiting or going to a collector's home. My method tends to work well with acrylic since I usually work on small sections at a time, so I have no problem with the fact that it dries quickly. I also like canvas because of the toothy texture. I like the look of the paint as it spreads across, filling in each crevice.
How long does it take you to complete a piece from the conception of the idea to posting it on social media?
My work tends to be very detailed with often complex backgrounds, and so many pieces take an average of 200 hours.
If you weren't an artist what job would you have?
These days I'm thinking it would be a civil rights lawyer and work Pro-bono. I'd also love to buy a ton of land and open an animal sanctuary.
How have you grown as an artist from when you first started to now?
If we're comparing since childhood, my technique has improved but really my content is very similar. I've always had a love of nature and started advocating for animal welfare at a young age. That has only increased over time as I've become more informed of our impact on the earth and its inhabitants. If comparing once I was professionally painting, my style has circled back around to being more realistic after a few forays in looser work and my content circled back to a sole focus on nature whereas I previously worked on series of portraiture.
What is the biggest challenge you've had to overcome with your art?
Getting out of my own way. It's easy to doubt your work or wonder if it has a purpose. I believe that good artists will always question not just the world around them, but themselves as well. I've learned to accept that and consider it a good sign if I feel uncomfortable. You can't grow if you're always in your comfort zone.
What is the most fulfilling things about what you do?
It means the world to me when someone says they enjoy looking at my work every day in their home. That's their personal space and it's an honor to me that they would invite my work to share it with them. I also love it when people share their personal stories about what a piece means to them. Some might have an entirely different meaning than the intended one for the painting, yet sound as if I painted that piece specifically with them in mind. Those instances just show how truly connected we all are.
What does your artwork say about you?
That I'm meticulous and care about animals.
What are your dreams like when you are sleeping?
Usually weird and disjointed. They may start off as one thing and end up in a completely different scenario. I don't bother to interpret them. I think they're just a reflection of whatever I'm concerned with at the time or stressing over.
Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies?
Actually I used to love Oreos, but since they contain palm oil (which rainforests are being destroyed for), I'm presently on the hunt for an alternative. If you know of any, I'm all ears. :)