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Art & Life with Amanda Maciel Antunes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Maciel Antunes.

Amanda, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I was born and raised in a rural area of the state of São Paulo, Brazil. A place named after a river that is no longer there. My great grandma was a native woman who married a Portuguese man. My grandfather and my father were very creative, spiritual and imaginative makers who instigated this urge to make things with my hands since I was very young and I believe that came from their own childhood. I grew up around my entire family, everyone raised everyone’s children, they were farmers, teachers, and politicians.

By the time I was 9 years old, I had my paintings hanging at a local pizzeria owned by a family friend, that shifted something in my approach to the work. We had no galleries or museums or theatre or cinema near us. Everything was at least within two hours away and the roads were terrible, so we avoided going anywhere. I didn’t know Art could be a career, neither did my family think it was possible, really. Art was just a trade and a talent we had and used to make life more exciting, like learning how to make your clothes, or tables or Xmas ornaments.

Long story short, when I was fifteen, my grandfather died and left us a bit of money, his wife, my grandmother, gave me a bit of that money, which was exactly 9 years ago, it was about $500 cash and a plane ticket to Boston (where I had a cousin who could house me until I figured things out), this money came with the condition that I used it to get out of there and pursue my art elsewhere, “where people will value you”, she said, I don’t know where exactly they got that from, that moving to America meant you could pursue your dreams and now I wonder what would be like to move here today.

With the attitudes and policies, we see today (I’ll leave that for another time). But I did leave, I was 20 years old, I have to say it wasn’t at all a smooth ride, I eventually met other artists and started a community and very close friendships with people that believed in what I did.

Today I get to tell My family I have my art, my studio and my life as an artist that I thought it was only possible to people that came from a cosmopolitan life and wealth, not me, or my father or my grandfather. I still pinch myself everyday, cause it’s like I’ve cheated the system. I’ve been in LA for four years now, since moving here I haven’t stopped working in my studio, it’s more than a full-time job and I would do it all over again to get here. This is the honest shortest version I can think of, all the troubles and steps were worked out through chance.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I’m an interdisciplinary artist and my work encompasses the process of altering messages and interpretations of identity and distance, given my own experience of migration from the places both in my past and future. I create paintings, performance and site-specific installation taking into consideration the correlation between information and a nuanced idea of language, identity and landscape patterns that are particularly influenced by the thoughts’ creation and interactions.

We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
Ironically, yes. It feels inevitable to be lonely to do what I do. But keeping up with friends and making a point to meet and talk in person, either for coffee or a drink on a weekly basis is something I keep as a habit. And I’m Brazilian, so my friends know they can knock on my door anytime, with no notice or preliminary plans cause I love it.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I’m currently in a group show downtown at Over The Influence gallery, opens August 11th and is up until September 5th. I’m also a part of a studio community called The Mine artspace and set up studio visits often. We have open studios coming up on August 24th and 25th. I’m also, always happy to answer any inquiries via my website or social media.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Erik Graham, Amanda Lopez

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