• Caitlin Kennedy

Amber Johnson

Tell us about your cover.

Well it features the Pride Flag in the background as Pride is coming up soon. It’s something that is really important for me; the message of being comfortable in your own skin. And I’ve always loved the idea of dream catchers, catching bad dreams and turning them into good ones. Then of course there’s the Val d’Isère eagle in the forefront.

Sam: the gay eagle?

Haha, yes!

What kind of work do you generally use your art for?

I’ve done some drawings for bars, particularly in Val/Tignes and Hossegor and then I do chalk boards, wedding boards, children’s murals and door posters for kids. My page started out when we found out my little brother was autistic. He absolutely loves trains so I started drawing him loads of them. And then I worked for a charity called Daisy Chain in Middlesborough which helps kids with autism. We did artwork with the kids to encourage them to focus on something. My little brother’s school is exclusively for kids with autism and I’ve done some art classes with them. That’s also when I started doing wall paintings around local areas to make them a bit more vibrant.

Do you do much art with the kids you look after out here?

Yes, I do arts and crafts, painting in the snow, and I’ll draw them a picture, which they have to colour in. I try and incorporate art in to their holiday to keep their creative juices flowing whilst they’re out here.

What’s the funniest drawing a kid has done for you?

It would have to be the one of a kid’s mum that looks like something very different (see this week’s gossip). I always ask the kids to describe their drawings when they’re finished and the boy that did this one said, “This is a rainbow, this is my mummy’s head, this is my mummy’s body. Here’s her arms and these are her feet” and it was all I could do not to piss myself laughing.

Were you creative whilst growing up?

I started drawing when I was 2 years old and I haven’t really stopped since.

Everything we’ve seen of your art has been very colourful. Is colour important in your work?

Definitely. I find you can’t really tell the mood of a black and white piece. With colour, I’m really able to express how I’m feeling and it pops off the page more. I’ll always sketch the outline in pencil, then do the outline and finally pick out what colours suit the drawing.

Do you ever plan what you’re going to draw or is it just whatever comes to you on the spot?

No not really, I’ll have a semblance of an idea that takes shape whilst I’m working. I prefer to work free-hand rather than digitally as I find it to be more authentic. If I’m working on a commission, it’s a bit different. Say for a name board, I’ll have the person’s name and things they like to factor in.

What are your artistic influences?

Cartoons and pop-art for sure. I do follow Banksy a lot as well- I like the way he works, the way he uses stencils in particular. I’ve watched quite a lot of documentaries on his art and how his style derived from seeing a street artist stencilling in another country, a practice that he then adopted. I’ve also got a friend who’s a professional spray artist in the US and he does murals, which inspired me to start spraying as well.

Do you have any future projects in the pipeline?

Not really. I just like to do art for myself. I don’t really want to make it a job and lose my passion for it. When I’ve got down-time, that is my go-to for relaxation.

Find Amber’s work on Facebook: ambersartpalette & Insta: adots_art_palette

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