Amanda Gentry: Jeweler and Painter
By Brian Pitre
For many artists, the true nature of their inspiration is in their journey. However, the journey from home beneath their lamps and spotlights and out into the marketplace to offer their passion to the world for criticism and cash is one many artists never dare to take on.
Presenting your time, feelings, and thoughts to the world on canvas is bold for anyone, much less those who wish to earn a living from it. They are worthy of more than just a tip of the hat; they know themselves and their passion, and they aren’t afraid to pursue it. We got a chance to sit down with local artist Amanda Gentry to find out more about where her passion for art has led her.
JAM: Are you a native to the Lake Area?
AG: Born and raised in Westlake. Alum of EDS, St Louis Catholic and McNeese.
JAM: How long have you been dabbling in the art world?
AG: I Majored in music. Dabbled in “non-performance art” all my life. I love to create and craft.
JAM: How would you describe your art/crafts?
AG: Whatever pops into my odd little mind. I make jewelry that I would love to wear: elegant, colorful, quality materials. My painting and sketching is entirely self taught, never had any formal art classes. So it has a easy, whimsical quality. I want to entertain, make you smile.
JAM: Have you always aspired to be an artist by trade?
AG: Not at all. I originally planned to be a teacher. Life took over and I found myself with a desk job. Art is my therapy and escape.
JAM: When did you begin to take your art seriously, and why?
AG: I only had the courage to “go public” and take my crafts to art markets and festivals in this last year.
JAM: What inspires you to create?
AG: My favorite pastime: gift giving. I love to give gifts, whether they are bought or handmade. When I create, I am thinking that somewhere, someone would like to receive this as a gift from a loved one. It makes the art somehow more personal that way.
JAM: Your images are well rooted in pop culture and nostalgia. What are some of your favorite pieces you have created?
AG: I always love my jewelry. But I have recent started making journals with covers inspired by “Heroes and Villains.” Some come from movies, some from books, video games or TV. What I love is how I can nerd out with my favorite comic book heroes and art at the same time. And you meet some really interesting people with funky things like this.
JAM: What do you feel is the most rewarding part about being a vendor artist?
AG: The people I’ve met. I’ve met some incredible artists as well as the most kind, enthusiastic and generous clientele.
JAM: What advice would you give someone who is looking to make the leap from hobbyist to merchant?
AG: Just do it! Don’t worry about whether your art is good enough or mainstream enough to sell. Don’t ever compare yourself to other artists. Just because your craft isn’t the same as someone else’s, or liked by certain people, doesn’t mean it isn’t good or worthwhile. Somewhere out there, someone expresses that same little zany corner of their mind the same zany way you do. You just haven’t found them yet. So get out there. You create it, they will come!