We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy VanHoy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amy, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
Honestly, up until a few months ago I wouldn’t have described myself as much of a risk taker. In college, I double majored in Studio Art and Business because I wanted to have a “safe” degree as well as a fun degree. While the majority of my art cohorts graduated from The University of Texas ready to take the world by storm and pursue a career in art, I chose the safer, salaried route and began working in Human Resources. I was a little too nervous to try to meet all my financial obligations by selling my artwork.While I had been doing art as I could throughout my corporate HR days, it always took more of a backseat to my full time job. Fast forward several years, and I now have a wonderful husband, Travis, and our baby boy, Jack. It was after Jack’s birth that I decided it was time to take the risky move and leave the corporate world to take care of my baby and pursue art.
We only have this one life to live, and we are not guaranteed tomorrow. I finally decided if I didn’t give this a try, I would regret it looking back. Risk taking is necessary to live a fulfilling, enriching and exciting life! If you never try, you’ll never know! I have such a desire for control in all aspects of my life (often to my detriment), but deep down I believe the most exciting outcomes come out of a space of being open and willing to let life surprise you. I try to take the same approach with my paintings – an approach of wonder and curiosity. I don’t want to waste my time here on earth toiling away at something I’m not passionate about. I must seize the day!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I suppose I owe a great deal to my art teacher in first grade, Dr. Cherry. He saw that I had natural talent in art. He had my parents come up to the school, and he showed them all of the other kids’ “Under the Sea” paintings. Then he showed them mine. He looked my parents in the eye and said, “You need to get her into art lessons.” I still have that picture framed and hanging up to this day! I am forever grateful to Dr. Cherry for encouraging my art. As a result of his special attention, my parents started me in art lessons right away. Art has been a lifelong passion of mine!
My art as of late has been focused on abstracted florals. I like having some type of source image to ground me and then I enjoy the surprises that abstract painting can provide. I wanted to challenge myself by using the same source image and seeing how many different iterations I could create. I work best when I don’t consider any one painting to be too precious, but instead, let myself experiement and make mistakes. I have never been interested in photo-realism. I would much rather see the artist’s hand in the work and get a feel for their personality when I view the painting. I like to think of my pieces as my own personal playgrounds – places for me to experiment, scribble and splash around colors. I like to let go and let my hand do a lot of the working without obsessing too much over everything being perfect. I want my art to bring a smile to people’s faces and be something you hang in your home and talk about when your friends come over. I like to think about my art becoming part of your life in some way – adorning your walls and living in your spaces. My hope is that it brightens your day.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love to go to El Bolillo Bakery. It’s so fun to grab a huge tray and pick out anything that looks good. My personal favorite is the tres leches. Another thing I am obsessed with is the acai bowls at Nourish Juice and Smoothie. Pro tip: get your acai bowl bougie and get ready for your taste buds to thank you. As far as more substantial meals, I love Street Food Thai Market. It is a total hole-in-the-wall that is half grocery store and half restaurant, but I swear their noodles come from heaven – so good! I’d love to take any guest to go shopping on 19th street in the Heights. They really have something for everyone there – gift shops, antique stores, clothing, you name it! It’s a whole vibe! My husband and I recently went to Ben Jackson’s Magic Show at the Four Seasons, and I can’t recommend that enough! It was a super fun and intimate show that was totally worth the time and money!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My sweet and wonderful husband, Travis VanHoy, deserves all the praise and admiration for supporting me in my dreams. He is so encouraging to me each and every day!
Hannah DeHart took the photo of me and my baby. I’ve also added an example of an abstract piece of the Vegas strip that I did recently for a client. Can send more if needed.