art hoes + art woes with amanda jiang

The BLOOME team had a chance to meet up with Toronto based artist Amanda Jiang, a meeting in which we discussed the woes of the Toronto art scene, Amanda's opinions on the internet's lasting influence on Generation Z, and her own personal connection to the art world. 

BLOOME: Hello Amanda! For starters, tell us a little bit about yourself, how and when did you start to cultivate an interest in the arts?

AJ: My name is Amanda. My favorite color is red. My favorite animal is the penguin. I like all types, but my favorite is the macaroni penguin and the Galapagos penguin. As for my interest in the arts, I probably got interested pretty young. I didn’t really want toys; instead I had those huge sets of color pencils, gel pens, crayons, water colors etc. and the sparkly or felt notebooks, and I ended up spending all my time drawing and painting and making crafts. Lol my pride was my art materials. From the start, I knew I wanted to be an artist and then for a few years, I abandoned my goals of becoming an artist, and instead I wanted to become a plastic surgeon, then a psychologist, then a garbage man; now I’m back at artist.

BLOOME: You live in Toronto, a city filled with an abundance of 'hip' and artistic communities. Could you describe what the art scene is like there?

AJ: Well I think the artistic/hip communities are pretty pretentious and exclusive in Toronto, and these communities value the “artistic lifestyle” over an actual enthusiasm for art. It’s all hype, it’s just an act. You have to act a certain way, dress a certain way, like certain things, believe in certain things; it’s too much assimilation. It’s not interesting. Of course, there are many artists and people who actually have a huge passion for arts, and who don’t just do things because it’s cool and those are some really good contacts to know. All in all, Toronto is a cool city but the art scene is a little lacking.

BLOOME: What would you like your artwork to communicate to audiences, and what does it mean to you?

AJ: My artwork reflects on myself; my background as a Chinese American woman, my own experiences with coming of age, love, sex, religion, pain, etc. I create what I feel and what I believe in. I communicate who I am, I’m always a present in my artwork.

BLOOME: You're active on Instagram. How has social media impacted the way art is perceived within Generation Z?

AJ: I'm not so sure about this. Social media has definitely helped to spread art to the mass population, and made it something less intimidating, more accessible. I think that a lot of people want to enjoy art, but they are intimidated. So social media has made the arts so much more available, which I think is so great! It’s also great for discovering new artists, finding inspiration, etc. It’s made a lot of young people more interested in the arts, and that is what we need!  When we’re young, we are encouraged to think innovatively; then we grow up, and there’s a lot of pressure to deviate from taking creative careers and focus on something more substantial, and academic. Not everyone is made for that. I think creativity will always be important, and social media encourages people to engage in the arts whether it’s music, photography, visual arts, theater, and design.

BLOOME: From your perspective as a visual artist, does social media make it easier or harder to pursue a career within this field?

AJ: Definitely easier. Like I said, social media is this hub of resources. I follow a lot of artists, curators, galleries, and art based magazines. Although I've been pretty lazy about promoting my own work and reaching out to these accounts, it's definitely a good way to bring attention to your artwork.

BLOOME: The internet has a tendency to fuel trends, but they all tend to fade and go after a short period of time. Do you believe this generation has the potential to start a long-lasting artistic movement, or has the internet hindered that potential?

AJ: Who knows? We’re in the middle of a huge feminist art movement. Maybe that’s what defines this generation. We’re definitely in the age of digital art and design, so there’s that too. I don’t know ha ha ha. I don’t pay a lot of attention to these things. Although, I do think that this generation tends to focus on the past, whether it’s the 20s, 50s, 60s, 80s, 90s, 2000s; we have a tendency to bring back a lot from the past and I can’t decide whether that’s good or bad.

BLOOME: What are things you do when you're not working on your art?

AJ: I try to lure neighborhood cats, dogs, squirrels and raccoons to play with me.

BLOOME: Who and what inspires you in your everyday life?

AJ: Me. I’m my own muse. I get sporadic inspirations, I guess it depends on how I’m feeling and whether my brain chooses to work or take the day off.

BLOOME: You just so happen to be fresh out of high-school, and congratulations on your UAL acceptance! What advice do you have for other teens still stuck in the high-school chain?

AJ: Don’t be lazy; you’ll learn that you’re wasting your time and your talent. Pursue any and every creative opportunity, reach out to people, and be prepared for things to change at the last minute. Don’t let other influence you too much, because it all boils down to you and your desires. Optimism is always key!

BLOOME: Last but not least, where do you see yourself and your artwork in the near future, lets say a decade from now?

AJ: I don’t know. I mean, if things don’t work out for my artwork, I can see myself stripping at a high end strip club, and making a lot of money, maybe marrying a really rich old man named Frank or Paul.  Maybe I’ll have four adopted kids, and I live in an open concept studio apartment in Buenos Aires or I’ll open up a gay bar on the beach in Mexico. I have no idea where things will go, and I don’t have a backup plan. Maybe I’ll be homeless or dead, or maybe married with 10 kids. Ten years is too long a time; if things go well, I’ll be selling lots of artwork and swimming in money. Also I’ll have a chow chow.

BLOOME: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak to us Amanda! Where could we purchase your lovely artwork?

AJ: I haven’t set up shop yet but I’ll post a link on my Instagram or tumblr when that gets going. My instagram is @spicywhitelady.


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