We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Zoey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I am from the suburbs about 15 minutes north of the city I live in. My family has owned a small business in my hometown for over 60 years. Growing up, I saw the struggles of self employment and promised myself that I would never fall into that same trap, but that resolution quickly eroded when I realized the amount of flexibility and freedom needed to create. In high school, art became a form of therapy and escape. There was always this restless, adventurous energy inside me that needed to be managed and one of the ways I did that was taking daily adventures in my car with my camera. Rolling around the countryside after school every day I would get lost in capturing the beauty of landscapes. Later on, I took a job in the middle of downtown so I could explore the city and capture it on film. It always made me sad to see all the beautiful old buildings boarded up and neglected. When all my friends were preparing portfolios for art schools out of state, it made more sense to me to stay and be a part of remaking a city that was literally a blank canvas. Over the years, I have made my living from many creative endeavors, but public art remains my favorite. It is my way of leaving a legacy in the city I love.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I do a lot of different things from fine art and jewelry design to landscaping and flower growing. If I can work with my hands on my feet all day I am happy. The things that make me the most excited are projects that I get to share with the community. I love working in a new part of town and getting to know all the regulars who walk the streets or drive by with a comment or just to talk. My adventurous side does not need to go overseas or visit a foreign country, it just needs to encounter new environments and personalities just down the street.
My biggest challenge has always been finding the right mix of creative projects that can get me through each year. Some years it feels like all you do is hustle and burn out and it is difficult to feel grounded and comfortable when your income is always shifting. That is also what makes it exciting, because I enjoy the challenge of planning, project managing and executing something on time.
I truly believe our passions are our purpose and if we are not doing them daily we are not truly living. You dont have to make your passion your job, just make sure you take time for it each day
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would get them on a bike and we would do a public art tour of the city! There are excellent mural works Downtown and you can get off to eat, drink, shop and catch the changing Plaza Walls in the Plaza District. First Friday in Paseo is a great night to walk around and take in the most architecturally unique district in the city. We’d probably hit the river trails and ride the Ferris Wheel and if it were Tuesday night, watch Wheeler Criterium.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have been very blessed to have a series of supporters over the years through each stage of my development. My grandmother Nelda Jean told me over and over growing up to start doing art. I didnt start until her passing, but I credit her for sparking the flame. Kelly Oshel my photography teacher in high school was a lifeline and the only reason I felt safe, seen and able to graduate. Carri Dolan taught me how to paint with acrylics, Carol Spradlin and Cathie Rose are my angel mothers who opened their homes and gave me my love of nature and creativity. My buddy Stefan Kovash has helped me the longest with advice, grant writing assistance and currently lets me dig up his yard and put down wildflowers and clover. Also, my mom who has never pressured me to follow any path that I dreamed up.