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  • Writer's picture Natasha Castelijn

Finding her own Unique Style - Interview with Amica Whicop

Everything I had gone through had worked together to help me create what I am now doing’ - Amica Whincop



Amica Whincop is an abstract artist from Australia. Her work features in several public collections. She has been profiled in publications including Grand Designs Australia, Art Edit, Australian Country Living & Home Design. Her paintings have been featured on Grand Designs Australia, The Block, Channel 9.


Natasha: Thank you for coming on again to The Artists ChatRoom to share with us about your creative journey.

Amica: It’s a pleasure to be here once again. I’ve been looking forward to our chat.

N: I have too. What I love about your work Amica is that it is so unique and recognisable. When you see it, you know you are looking at an Amica Whincop original. This is something many artists strive to try and find. I know this is something that took you a bit to find can you tell us about that journey.

A: Certainly, I was a High School teacher and I had been teaching my senior students about having an art career and developing their own style. I was encouraging them to do what I hadn’t quite done myself, so I was encouraging myself as much as them. The more I did this the more I realised that I had to do it for myself.


I had the opportunity to take six months off and I decided that in that six months I would find my own style. It was hard because I felt very guilty not contributing to the home finances during this time and I battled with this guilt. But fortunately, I had a lot of support from my family.


During my time I researched a lot, read a lot, experimented with all sorts of mediums; photography, collage, mixed media, and still I could not seem to find my style. I felt like I had failed and was a failure as an artist. In fact, I had done over 100 paintings and still, nothing seemed to resonate with me.


I went to see a counsellor and to help me find my way through this because I didn’t feel like I was an artist. I felt like a fraud! She suggested I draw what I was going through in a journal. The counsellor took one look at my journal and told me I was, definitely, an artist; she saw lots of patient journals and none compared to what I had done. She said because I was an artist and my own style was there inside of me, I just had not tapped into it yet. This gave me the courage to keep searching.


During that time, I did a lot of self-care. I got into yoga and mindfulness and got close to nature by going on lots of walks on the beach. This helped me recharge.


Not long after that I was working on one of my works and started pushing back some of the areas and I stumbled across an organic form that resembled a rock and I got excited and continued. This was the beginning of discovering my style. I can’t describe how very exciting it was to have finally found what I had been looking for.


It was also like everything I had gone through had worked together to help me create what I am now doing.

N. Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?

A: It’s hard to describe because it is never planned. It’s all about intuition and what I happen to stumble across by chance because of the unpredictable materials of water-based acrylics and inks. It’s not like I know what it is going to turn out before I start. I must flow with it and it grows organically by itself.


I do deliberately choose my colour palette, but the depth of hue and the textures of each painting are heavily reliant on spontaneity.


Once I get started, I look around the canvas for areas to isolate the gem-like shapes. I then eliminate all the areas that distract. This is the most important part of the process, it’s all about the spaces in between. This is using the Japanese concept of “Ma”, meaning ‘interval’ or ‘the space between’. What I take out is as important as what I leave to create serenity.

N: Since those first few paintings has your style changed or evolved?

A: It hasn’t changed as such as it has evolved. It is no longer tight and staged as it was in the early days. The forms are a lot freer; they are different sizes and sometimes they come off the canvas. The basic concept is the same but there is a huge difference in my work today from those early days.





N: What has it meant to your career having a style of your own?

A: Everything, it was after this that I had my own solo exhibition and people started to buy and collect my works. It was not long before my work started getting noticed. Having a recognisable style that people can identify as ‘you’ makes a big difference.


N: Do you paint in a different style, even for yourself?

A: Not really. I do occasionally do different styles for a gift for a friend or family but basically, I am continuing to grow my body of work and style. I love what I do, it brings me a great deal of joy creating in this style.

N: What do you do for professional development?

A: I read a lot, study other artists, and experiment with new techniques, products, and materials. I believe it’s important to be ever challenging and expanding ones knowledge and professional practice.

N: I can see a connection between our last interview and this one. Though your life appears to be uncontrollable you seem to take control of the areas which you can control and flow with those you can’t and therefore have a ‘type’ of serenity or peace in your art, career and life in general.

A: That is such a lovely way of wording it, yes, I would say that's almost my creed for my life and art. Trying to accept what is, working with what is in front of me, and letting go of the things I can’t change.

N: Thank you Amica for candidly speaking and sharing about your struggles in your early days and how hard it can be to find one owns style. I know this will resonate with our readers.

A: I think artists need to encourage one another. It’s important to know that one doesn’t just automatically find their style or is a success overnight. There is a lot that has to happen first. It is all a process and it’s important not to get discouraged and lose sight of why we want to be artists in the first place.


It has been a pleasure talking with you Natasha.

Recapping Amica's Chat:

  • Take time out to actively find your own style

  • Family support gives you the freedom and space to find your style

  • Consider going to a counsellor to release what is already inside of you

  • It’s important to do self-care and recharge ourselves

  • Once you find your style you will become recognisable

  • Artists evolve over time and so keep evolving and learning new processes

You can find Amica Whincop at:

https://amicawhincop.com/about


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