Creative Conversations: Amanda Sandlin

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It’s a feeling in the air, a mix of nostalgia, excitement and the notion that there are endless possibilities. The days are longer and the weather is warmer, which means summer is officially here. It also means RANGE Magazine is back to bring you 80-plus pages of insightful stories, innovative editorials and captivating artwork. For Issue Nine, we partnered with creative artists and collaborators that are shaping the culture of the modern outdoor movement, one of whom is multimedia artist Amanda Sandlin.

Amanda is a self-starter who welcomes uncertainty with open arms. She appreciates the challenge and hidden rewards of pursuing a new craft, even if that means teaching herself how to do it. Capturing art in nature, Amanda explores the bravery and vulnerability of being a modern outdoor woman in the wild. Intricate illustrations are layered over abstract paintings or photographs, creating refined and unconventional bodies of work.

We caught up with Amanda to learn more about how she became an artist, who inspires her work, and why she was excited to join us for #RANGEmag Issue Nine.

Q. You’re a multi-disciplinary artist who enjoys experimenting with different mediums in your work. Photography, illustration, painting, graphic design and collaging—you do it all! What medium are you the most excited about right now and why?

A. Right now, I am equally excited and intimidated by painting, particularly abstract painting, because there are no rules. When you’re illustrating or capturing something realistic, you know when you’re doing it “right,” even though I realize there is no real “right” in art. With abstract work, it’s just a feeling. Dancing along the line of knowingness and uncertainty interests me. At the same time, I think that’s a big reason why I resist it. Again, exciting, yet intimidating!

Q. Your At Wild Woman series is a beautiful tribute to the female form in wild spaces. Can you tell us about your connection with the outdoors and how that translates into this series?

A. Thank you! I think many of us—especially those who are among the privileged in our society—believe we are so in control of our lives. Technology monitors our steps, heartbeats, sleep habits, ovulation cycles. It shows us where our friends are, what road to take to avoid traffic, and how to prioritize our to-do lists. Yet really, we’re hardly in control of anything. This is something we are rarely reminded of in our modern world and I think that’s kind of a shame.

Loss of control scares me. Nature scares me. I’m in awe of her. I can be prepared and smart, but she’s unpredictable. I think that’s the feeling I try to convey through my works of women in nature. It’s that feeling of, “Wow, this thing is big. This thing is wild. This thing is so far out of my control. But I am still here. I am in it, and I will come back here no matter how scared I get because I must. I am a part of nature and nature is a part of me.”

Nature reminds me of my mortality and I think that connects me to a deeper part of myself and the universe. The women I draw are feeling that connection. Their hair is usually whipping in the wind, a sign of surrender, and they are just being in and with the wild.

Q. We love your willingness to be transparent about your processes as an artist and an entrepreneur. You’ve created resources like GRIT: A 30 Day Guide to Relentless Discovery for Visual Artists and Experiment, an ebook that shares useful and fun tips to becoming self-employed. Why is it important for you to share tools and tips with your community members?

A. I have no formal education in art and design. Without others sharing their experiences, processes and knowledge, I wouldn’t be where I am. You don’t need to go to art school to make art or design for a living and I hope by sharing my experience with others, they can feel empowered to get after it themselves.

Q. You’re based out of Denver, Colorado, but are no stranger to hitting the road to explore new landscapes. Is there any particular place you are drawn to?

A. Because I’m a climber, an obsessive sport I wouldn’t recommend to anyone who doesn’t want it to overtake their life, I am always dreaming of rock. Particularly right now I am drawn to foreign places. I really want to visit France in the next year, to climb Fontainebleau, but also to eat pastries, wear something pretty and see original Van Goghs.

Q. We’re so excited to include some of your work in RANGE Magazine Issue Nine, which launches next month. Why did you decide to contribute for #RANGEmag?

A. I really love the way RANGE is committed to not only sharing unique, beautiful content, but also providing depth through storytelling. I am honored and thrilled to contribute to this issue. Thank you!

Images by Amanda Sandlin.

xx Lisa