We had the good fortune of connecting with Annie Decamp and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Annie, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
Being a full-time artist requires a number of skill sets in order to be successful. Most people outside of the arts see only the end product, the ‘sexy’ part of this chosen career. Beyond artistic skill, the successful artist must always seek new knowledge and pathways to developing content and surface work. This field requires constant exploration and risk taking in order to grow. Finding a mentor, like in many careers, deeply influences and encourages growth. The same goes for mentoring others. Choosing art as a career requires an immense amount of courage, healthy psychology about what we make and put out in the world, a firm understanding of why we do what we do, and long hours working in the studio as well as the office. Like many entrepreneurial pursuits, an artist must work consistently at self promotion and find creative ways to put their work out into the world. Finally, finding a balance between the time spent alone in the studio, and collaborating with other artists to create events for example, or interacting with collectors, art dealers or galleries is extremely important. An artist must get the work done (often in a solitary way), but also pivot to the more extroverted activities of alliance with and participation in the world that views, moves and evaluates the work.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
After a career in business and technology, followed by a career as a jewelry designer, I began painting in 2015. My figurative work has progressed from painting in encaustics (hot wax mixed with resin), mostly of the Native American figure to a more mixed media approach where I introduce digital work and utilize oils and encaustics over it. I now focus on figures from all walks of life, focusing on imagery from the late 19th to mid 20th centuries. My entrance into painting was fairly easy for me, as I am comfortable trying new things on my own, and began working while still carrying a full-time career in business. However, once I began painting, I was certain I wanted to transition to painting full-time. Currently, I am most excited about having embraced so many mediums to make work now that is a full expression of my creativity, although those limits are always expanding. In 2018 I began working with my mentor, and now friend Michael Dowling. We recently collaborated on writing up a description for our upcoming joint solo show in Aspen, Colorado about the mentor/mentee relationship. This process helped solidify the power of our experience and working relationship, and take stock in where I have come artistically and professionally since I began this journey. Finding a mentor has given me new surface techniques to work with and has pushed me to explore differently ways to use multiple mediums. This part of our essay sums it up: “The relationship between a mentor and mentee is a tradition going back throughout history. We have very few opportunities to hold the significance of that exchange in our current harried world. Artists have an almost singular opportunity to slow down together and create this dynamic of learning and leading, and in new constructs of more casual relationships as compared to the past, the exchange has become a far more collaborative and mutually beneficial situation. The intensity somehow has not been lost in this new ease of exchange, and the acceleration of skill and ideas is so often catapulted forward in ways that otherwise wouldn’t be. In the case of Michael Dowling and Annie Decamp, their collaborative work in the studio has given rise to new findings for each artist around subject matter, palette and a desire to innovate and take new risks. It has also developed around the business aspects of being artists (something not commonly discussed among artists), and is addressed regularly. The duo has benefited from pooling business resources and models, and have collaborated on developing and curating shows, thereby expanding their reach, network and business acumen that bolsters their artistic skills and curiosities.”
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 recently had a friend visit over a weekend that I was showing work at an art event at the Dairy Block in Denver. I love this space because it offers so much gastronomically, visually and creatively. The Dairy Block has a cool gallery space where they have hosted some of the best of the best artists in Denver. A trip to Denver should never be without a trip to the Botanical Gardens. I’m inspired and amazed each time I visit even if it is several times a month (I’m a member so I go regularly). The gardens are exquisite and always changing (as nature does). The gardens also offer beautiful holiday events over Halloween and the Winter Holidays (such as the festival of lights). For live music, I always take my friends to El Chapultepec for some great live jazz sessions. And of course there is Red Rocks! For art, if it’s not a local show I like to share the Clyfford Still Museum. It’s a beautiful space and his work inspires.
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 would like to dedicate this shout out to my mentor and friend Michael Dowling as well as my life partner, Rich Wells who rolls with what can be a chaotic world and who builds all of my frames.
Annie Decamp head shot image credit goes to Mark Woolcott.