Local artist does it her own way

Scan some lettuce and green beans, paint a picture of the back of a garbage truck and create some lime green blobs of colour trying to escape from their purple enclosures and you might get an idea of the type of artwork Amy Ferrari produces.

“I started with my flatbed scanner … I can put sizable things on it … so I just put all kinds of stuff on that thing…. One time I put a pork rind on there … I did bread … I did cabbage, lettuce, I did a salad. I did corn, green beans, all kinds of food,” Ferrari said about her unique style of work in an interview with The Cord at the Button Factory in Waterloo.

“That was just a wonderful thing to see what I could put on the scanner.”
The North Carolina native who now resides in Waterloo has had her most recent exhibit – “Expressions in Abstract Agreement” – on display in Kitchener-Waterloo over the past few months.

In January her work was showcased at Kitchener City Hall. The exhibit expanded to 17 pieces to be displayed at the Button Factory from March 2 to 30.

As well, a slightly downscaled version will be on display at the Princess Cinema gallery starting on April 1.

“It’s kind of been a morphing of the same exhibit going around,” said Ferrari.
Ferrari, who described the feel of the work as organic in “a plastic kind of space” explained that in the exhibit’s pieces she tried to “focus on the harmonies of the space and colours.”

“The idea is that these are compositions that happen through balance and harmony,” she explained.

Not being trained formally in art – she attended the School of Design at North Carolina State University – Ferrari noted how this sets her apart from many of her peers, as she wasn’t taught to think about art in any particular way.

“I figured everything out on my own although I did have a really good nucleus of understanding from the design fundamentals, which was the best part of design school.”

Although when Ferrari first started design school she had intentions of becoming an architect, she soon realized that it was the “silliest idea ever”, as her passion was clearly in art.

“Back in school I was always doodling, and it was always about the organic line…. It’s kind of an obsessive thing with me, doodling,” she stated.

“And at one point I realized that if I took this seriously and applied it to images … something can actually become of this,” Ferrari added.

The decision to focus on art wasn’t necessarily the practical one, which Ferrari feels is a factor that unfortunately discourages many young artists.

“I always liked to paint, it was always what I really wanted to do…. I was lucky enough to marry someone that was providing, and I couldn’t do this without support,” she explained.

“You have to look at it practically and I just had one of these fairy tale situations and not everybody [has] that.”

Since moving to Waterloo three years ago when her husband took a job at RIM, Ferrari has worked on establishing herself in the local ommunity of artists, something she said can be quite challenging at times.

Ferrari currently has a small studio in Kitchener where she teaches abstract art for beginners and in the fall she will be teaching a similar class at the Button Factory.

“Most people are scared of colour and they’re scared of paint … and what I do in my class, it’s called art from random elements … [we make] wonderfully abstract messes of colour,” she said.

Along with expanding her teaching, Ferrari hopes to continue having her work showcased in various galleries and venues across the region and beyond.

She also intends to continue establishing herself as an artist here in KW.

But most importantly she simply wants to continue producing artwork.

“I will positively become grumpy if I don’t get to paint.”