Transcending Time: Meet Fine Artist Amelia Currier

Written by Artie The Panda

What do childhood summers in Northern Michigan have in common with travels to Etruscan tombs, Mitla ruins, and Neolithic stone circles? They have all influenced the work of Amelia Currier, a fine artist who brings nature and ancient traditions into the modern world. 

The Art of Zen

Amelia practices the Buddhist meditation method of daily ink gestures, or quick ink-wash paintings. She created “Tokyo,” showcased above, as an ink gesture on heavyweight paper, adding layers and depth during the process. “Tokyo” refers to the Japanese aesthetic of muted colors, simple composition, and a feeling of calm known as wabi-sabi. The piece is framed in our Nielsen Profile 99 in Brushed German Silver with an Crescent 8-ply RagMat Museum Mat and  UV Non-Glare Acrylic. “The Nielsen 99 is a perfect choice for work that is subtle and requires a neutral, yet elegant, frame,” Amelia tells us. 

More Than the Sum 

Wood assemblages are another art form in Amelia’s portfolio. She carves and builds them out of found objects or recycled barn wood, using the ancient wood-burning technique of shou sugi ban to create form, texture, and depth. Amelia appreciates how wood, “heavy with its own history,” condenses the passage of time. You can see several assemblages in the photo below, hanging on the back wall of her studio.

Amelia’s Michigan studio was once the hayloft of a barn. Her assemblages hang on the far wall.

See More of Amelia’s Work

Amelia’s website showcases works on paper, assemblages, encaustic monotypes, and more. Check out her Instagram for recent work as well as videos, including an en plein air tutorial on meditative ink gestures (see the 6/30/21 post featuring her “tailgate studio”). To discover the wise advice Amelia received while earning her printmaking degree, and to understand why she has three indispensable tools, scroll to my Q&A below.

Now for Artie’s Eight Q&A with Amelia Currier…

1. What is your background; how did you get started?

My mother and grandfather were both professional artists, so art was a natural and fundamental expression in my home. Many hours were spent sprawled on the floor coloring with my sisters, who are both artistic. I never questioned my career as an artist. The job that paid the rent — be it house painting or waiting tables — was simply the means to an end: precious time in my studio. While my son was young, I kept my artistic  “iron in the fire” and created whenever I had the opportunity. In him, I instilled the joy and illumination of self that art can bring, and am proud to say he is a professional artist today. 

2. What role do you think the artist plays in society?

Now more than ever, the presence of art in our culture and environment gives people succor, insight, and an option to perceive the world in a new light. 

3. What has been a formative experience or the best advice you’ve received within your career?

During my years in college, while I was working on my printmaking degree, I had a teacher named Stanley Rosenthal. He gave us two pieces of advice which I have applied over the years and found them to be invaluable. The first was, “Always reject your first idea.” I find that often the first idea needs to be further developed or scrapped all together. The second bit of advice was, “Go to your studio and work, no matter what your mood or lack of inspiration. Pick up your tool and eventually you will become engaged in your work.” Personally, I find inspiration to be a romanticized myth; if I have a successful creative outcome, it's mostly because of persistent hard work, a little talent, and trust in myself. 

4. In what ways does your work reflect your personality?

I am an introverted, private person, who feels a deep connection to nature. My raison d'être as an artist is to create work that evokes the harmony, balance, and stillness that we all seek. 

5. Creative blocks, do you get them? If so, how do you overcome them?

I follow the aforementioned advice of my teacher. I work every day but Saturday because a regular studio practice creates a flow and rhythm that moves new ideas forward. When I'm not actually in my studio, I believe my problem-solving mind is busy finding solutions to artistic road blocks like balance, composition, or imagery. 

6. What is your most indispensable tool? (Not counting the obvious, like paints, brushes, canvas, camera, etc.)

I must have music, natural light, and a somewhat organized studio. I have numerous found objects in groups around my studio. Like music, they joggle my mind and keep me from overthinking. On a more domestic note, it’s important for me to have a “clean slate” — chores done, bills paid, dog walked — so that I might breathe deeply and see what is revealed. 

7. Do you have a new project you are working on, or a new passionate idea?

Presently, I am revisiting my encaustic monotype hotbox and will begin a new series of monotypes. Two years ago I changed courses and worked on found object assemblages. Having just completed a quartet of them that took eight months, working on paper is calling out to me again. 

8. What is your favorite color to incorporate into your art?

My favorite paint color of late is “Terra Cotta,” a dusky brick red.

All artwork and/or photographs used in this post are subject to copyright held by the featured artist.

ARE YOU READY FOR THE SPOTLIGHT? Simply respond to the questionnaire here to apply to be included in an upcoming Artie’s Eight Spotlight.

Last Updated February 1, 2023