Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rick Amor

Who is Rick Amor?

Lord Wiki says he's an artist. But unlike most other artists I've researched, Amor isn't dead. He's a living artist. Have I ever researched a living artist for this blog? I don't think so. But I could be wrong.

Baby Richard was born in Frankston Victoria on 3 March 1948. He's six months older than my mom.

I'm looking at Google Maps now. Frankston is on that Mornington Peninsula place.  It's about an hour south of Melbourne.

Lord Wiki doesn't say much about Amor's childhood. As an adult, he got an art certificate from the Caulfield Institute of Technology. Lord Wiki says this school is now part of Monash.
He also got a degree from the school at the National Gallery School in Melbourne.

If I'm reading this right, Amor had his first exhibition in 1974. He would have been about twenty-six then.

He has a lot of exhibitions, and he has entered the Archibald Prize several times.

Lord Wiki kind of just lists galleries that this guy has had his work. It's not too exciting to me.

I'll look at the other stuff....

Amor was appointed as an official war artist for East Timor.

His work has a lot of symbolism and surrealism.

Besides paintings, he also does sculptures.

That's about all I'm getting from Lord Wiki.

I shall look elsewhere now.

The Heide Museum website has a page on Amor. When you get to it, Amor starts talking to you. It's pretty cool. His accent sounds very Australian. I say that because sometimes Australian people sound British to me.

I should actually pay attention to this speech he's making. He's talking about his life. I heard something about beaches....sex on the beach. Perverts on the beach. It's all a video actually. I just rewinded the thing so I can listen and watch more carefully.

He says people say his work implies there's a narrative. Amor seems fine with this, but says the narrative should be open-ended. Well, doesn't all art have some kind of open-ended narrative? Okay, well maybe not everything. Landscape pictures probably don't. But as soon as you include people or animals, I think there's a potential narrative there. You can look at the people in the paintings, and think up a story for them.

I'm I'm understanding this right, one of his paintings was inspired by a dream. That's pretty cool.

Amor says anxiety plays a big part in his work. He says the 20th century is the age of anxiety. I'm wondering if I agree with that. Were people of the past less anxious? I definitely don't think they had less to be anxious about. There was lots of scary stuff back then too. But maybe they handled it better? Or maybe they made less of a big deal about being anxious? I don't know.

The video has many images of Amor's work. I like it. He does my type of art.

In Amor's childhood, his house was right next to the beach. That's awesome.

He says his mother died when he was thirteen, and he doesn't remember much about her. I think that's so sad.

His father and aunt painted. I wonder how much of art skills come from genetics.

His father was also a teacher. When Amor was four, he drew a cup that his father saw. The father was impressed because Amor drew an ellipse at the top....kind of showing perspective. It was different from a typical four-year-old drawing.

He says he got a lot of attention from his aunts. I love that. I've seen aunts like that....ones who come with the mom and child to their little classes and stuff. I think it's great for a child to get that extra love. Jack didn't have that because my older sister had a baby of her own, and my younger sister had been very busy with school, work, and wedding plans. When we get together, we do give some attention to each other's kids. But it's pretty much like the relationship I had with my aunts and uncles; I primarily saw them as the parents of my cousins, and that's it.

This is cool. I'm getting some insight into art galleries here. I don't know if all galleries do this, but in the video they have one that has a model of the gallery with little tiny paintings. They use it to determine how to organize the paintings around the museum.

Amor talks about how he often feels disassociated from his older paintings. He feels as if he didn't paint them. I feel that way about my old screenplays and novels. I read them sometimes, and I feel I didn't write them. Often I forget I had even written them.

Amor talks about stuff he learned from another artist...back in the 1960's at the Gallery School. He says he learned that one should be well-read and well-rounded. I could agree with that. I'm imagining that educated painters usually come up with better paintings than ignorant ones. Although if one has valuable life experiences that would probably work too. Someone might not be a bookworm and/or have a strong background in academics. But maybe they spend a lot of time on their farm and out in the bush. They might be educated in that way, and this could be reflected in their paintings.

Amor says as a student, he tried various styles of painting. He was heavily influenced by others. I can't say I feel it was the same with my writing. I'd WANT to write like other writers. But as much as I tried, I just had that same style. I don't think I'm good at imitating other people's writing styles. Sometimes I'll read a book though, and think that their writing style is a lot like mine. I understand it's better to have your own unique writing voice rather than using someone else's. It's just my novels have a very...what's the word? Maybe childish? My writing is on a very low reading level. I think usually it's between third and seventh grade. I'm not sure about this blog though. I should go test it.....

I just used this website. They say my blog is at a fifth grade reading level. My reading ease is 68.31. The website says this is around what you should aim for (60-70%).

I'm looking at other blogs that I read. Mine has the lowest grade level. That's a bit embarrassing. But on a more positive note, so far mine is the only one that had the recommended readability level.

Holy crap. Even Jack's blog is on a higher reading level than mine. This is really funny. His is on an eighth grade level.

Sorry. I really went off on a tangent there. I'm going to feed Jack some breakfast. Then I'll come back, watch more of the video, and write in my little fifth grader voice.

Okay. I'm watching more of the video now. Amor talks about how he used to drink a lot, and how that affected his paintings. He says they were more dark. Then he stopped drinking. It seems he prefers his non-drinking paintings better. That makes me feel better. I hear of writers and artists who do their best work under the influence. There' s often this idea that drugs will improve your work. I have sometimes wondered if I would have been a better writer if I drank.

Amor talks about how he has a running theme of a guy running on one leg. The video shows the various ones. It's pretty interesting. I wonder what it means.

He says he has to see things to paint them. He can't just paint from his head. He has to do research, find out how things look. He has to see them, take notes, etc. It seems his art mixes real stuff with his dreams and imagination.

He went to do his war art in East Timor when he was fifty-two.

Amor says he has always lived simply. He's chosen to do that so he could paint full time. Well, some people don't have that opportunity because they're making NO money from their art. If they tried to live off their art alone, they'd be on the streets. But I can see what Amor is saying. He's obviously making a fair amount with his art, but it might not be as much as he'd have made if he had a secondary career.

In 2004, he got sick. He had leukemia. Then he had a bone marrow transplant. I guess he's doing pretty well now.

Amor says that if the humans suddenly disappeared, the earth would quickly revert to a natural state. He said little would be left from our occupation. I don't think I agree with that. We have so much of our stuff lying about. I think it would take a very long time for evidence of our existence to disappear. The exception might be if we disappeared because someone blew everything up. But if there's no mass destructive explosions, how does Amor expect all these huge buildings to fade away?

I think now I'm just going to look at some of his paintings on Google Images.

The website for the Art Gallery of Ballarat has a painting called "Study for the Dry Season". I like it. It reminds me of something from a fantasy or science fiction story. It has a dreamlike quality. The website talks about how the painting combines things that Amor has seen in real life--turns them all into a new reality. This painting includes a recycling depot in Melbourne, and a power station in London. It's like a dream....the way separate aspects of our life come together. The past mixes with the present, and we don't realize the strangeness of that until we wake up.

I think this use of reality to create surrealism is what I like about Amor's work. I like paintings that look like real things. I don't like things that are too abstract. But reality can be boring. I much prefer dream-like images.

This painting, "The Rock and the Sea" reminds me of dreams I've had. It also reminds me of that thing I recently watched....The Scree.

There's something about this painting that draws me in...perhaps the person in the store.

You know, I do see some similarities between Amor's work and Sidney Nolan. But I like Amor's stuff better for some reason. I probably could explain it if I knew more about art.

The Art Gallery of NSW has the painting that made Amor a finalist in the 2005 Archibald Prize. He did a painting of Shane Maloney. Who's that?

Lord Wiki says he's a writer. He does crime novels.

This comic book fan blogger says that Amor did comic illustrations at one point. He did this with his wife in the 1970's for something called Falcon Comics. This relative of Lord Wiki says they were published by Macmillan, and they were for remedial students. Lord Wiki's cousin has some descriptions of the comics. They look pretty fun.


  1. That is really funny. Your blog is easier to read than mine. probably due to all my disjointed sentences!

    And I agree the 20th century is the age of anxiety.
    (the only part I might disagree with, just being optimistic here, is that it ought not be a century - but more of a few decades instead, of anxiety).
    Here's hoping!

  2. HappyOrganist,

    I think my sentences are disjointed too!

    We're very anxious these days, but I think in terms of safety/health issues, we're probably better off than we were in other centuries. I guess we're just more aware now.

    As they say...ignorance is bliss.

    Sometimes I miss my more ignorant days.

  3. good old ignorance. where have those days gone