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The Art Of Marijuana: Amara Kopakova

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Art is unlimited and so is the artist. Since I’ve been doing these articles I just met and smoked with my first artist, her name is Amara. Whether you write, paint, draw, or scribble; there’s an artist in all of us.

She’s an accomplished artist on all counts of the definition as well as a native New Yorker living in Kent, Wa. Her works are presently on display and for sale via the internet or at some local Seattle venues. Amara and her circle were kind enough to sit and share a pipe load of permafrost as we enjoyed each others’ company.

Her circle includes other artist that had pieces laying about, all of them lovely. We smoked and talked about her art, a video piece she did entitled Emerge and of her wanderlust. As the video piece sent off a tranquil vibe in the room we toked and joked.

Turns out the room of artist are also scifi fans because they were catching up on Dr. Who episodes as I walked in – that made my nerd day. I wrapped up my visit with a thank you and we’ll be in touch. Here is the in touch portion;

TWB: How long have you been a professional artist?

A: A decade, as a matter of fact: I have worked all my adult life as an artist with just a few jobs filling in the cracks. I started, right out of high school, apprenticing as a scenic artist at an opera company and have worked in the arts, one way or another, ever since.

TWB: I enjoyed your video Emerge: A Creation Story. I would consider the mixed media a kind of stoner art, do you have name for it?

A: I totally don’t understand this question, but I will answer it anyway! :)

I create my art, especially paintings, as a sort of unanswered question. my way of searching for truth. I like having visible things to ponder on, when I am feeling green and philosophical, paintings for a place and mixed media for the digital reality. I can watch Emerge, looped, over and over again when I am stoned!

I don’t have an overarching title for the style or a genre for it, because each work is so different and from such a different place. I just call this one Emerge, and definitely encourage viewing it UI.

TWB: Your diversity is amazing writing/painting/tattoo/video (let me know what else I missed), is there a favorite medium?

A: Writing, painting, tattoo, illustration, video, sand-animation, chalk art, scenic and costume design….I think that is the list. :) One of the things I love about freelancing is the wide and ever rotating variety of styles and media and ideas….but….. I love painting, always and especially. If I had to choose one medium for the rest of my life, it would be me and acrylics.

TWB: Since you were a professor should I call you Dr.? I’d make people call me Dr just to hear it.

A: Lol! I am not a doctor, nor am I The Doctor, so I don’t claim the title. I ended up a professor through fate and fluke and coup, I have only my BFA! I taught at a small private 4-year college in New York, and I didn’t even make my students call me Professor. I don’t care for titles. I believe that the work I do today, defines me today.

TWB: Where are you currently showing and what do you have coming up?

Amara:

Antioch University
May
Celebrate with HeArt, 35-Year Anniversary
Gala, May 3
2326 6th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
http://www.antiochseattle.edu/events/35thAnniversaryParty.html

Pintx0
March – May 2011
Spring Group Show
2207 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121

Seattle Mattress Company
April -May
6019 15th Ave NW
Seattle WA, 98107
http://www.seattlemattress.net

Village Wine Bar and Bistro
April
5000-30th Ave NE #100
Seattle, WA 98051
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Village-Wine-Bar/119018458172242

Performance Painting, on April 24, 11am at
Imago Dei
1700 NE 28th St
Renton, Wa 98056

I keep my events and shows well updated on my website, and I love tweeting from openings, events, and general whoha’s

TWB: I like your girl swinging from a tree tattoo series, do you do custom work as well?

A: Absolutely. Actually, the girl swinging was a custom piece. For custom pieces, I ask for a few pictures from the client that shows a feel, quality, or style that they vibe with. I let the images bounce around in my head, until something comes out my hand.
I can’t explain it better then that, but people seem consistently pleased.

TWB: Since its the weedblog and not the I like art blog, do you have a favorite straind?

A: I had a mohawked friend in New York who was a true connoisseur, a studied expert with the palate to distinguish flavors and flow, smell and feel, look and high. Smoking with him was always more of a complete experience for his expertise, and for my birthday he gifted me with an excellent straind of white wizard. Very nicely head high, without much body lag.

TWB: Are you a green card holder?

A: I am not. There is nothing medically wrong with me, and I don’t want to be labelled with falsely, I believe in truth always. I hang with Mary Jane recreationally and professionally, a decision I make as a free individual. I am all for the declassification of marijuana as a class 1 drug, a ridiculous label.

TWB: Okay, love the artist statement video. Galleries really wanted you to write an essay instead of just bring a portfolio in?

A: The artist statement has been a standard for a long time. Galleries select artists based on the statement and the images you send, grants all require a statement, and the statement is posted with the work.

If my pieces can not inspire without a statement tacked on, that it is not a very good piece. Beyond that, it creates an expectation about the relationship between the viewer and the piece, mitigated and based on my thoughts and process. I think that folks are intelligent enough and secure enough in themselves to have a relationship with the art without me. That allows them to see what they want to see, or sometimes what they need to see.

TWB: Is there a particular piece out there that when it was sold or commissioned you felt, “I can do this for the rest of my life”?

A: I commissioned a piece not long ago from a family in New York. They sent me their Christmas update letter, complete with pictures of all five of their kids and said they wanted something to go over their mantle. The piece I did was a family portrait of sorts, the people were mannequin people that have been part of my work for years – they are archetypes without faces – I used them to represent each member of the family doing what they love, what defined them last year on in a classically inspired scene with plush red drapes and a city skyline.

I loved every minute of working on it, but really, what cinched it, was being on skype with the family when they opened the mailed painting. I called the painting Just Now.

TWB: What’s art? I’m pretty liberal with my definition that everything is but would like to know your perspective.

A: I follow this twitter @ItweetArt and they send quotes from various artists on what art is – it is like love, hard to describe. And each piece is a different kikd of love, a different kind of art. I love “the scream” because it makes me writhe inside. I love “the fountain” because it is so snarky and witty. I love the “pieta” because it is so stunningly beautiful in line and medium and form. Art to me is anything created with emotion.

TWB: Where has your wanderlust taken you so far? Did you get to meet those people who never left home?

A: My wanderlust has taken me around most of the eastern United States, across the plains and mountains in a Kia Rio, named Moxie, and up the entire Pacific coast. I spent a notable week in Oklahoma City for Pride, and learned that the gay midwestern crowd can drink whiskey all night. Coming out of OK, we were dry on the green through the Ozarks, which are the, visually, greenest mountains outside Ireland. At the peak was a town with board sidewalks and outpost stores, with one cluttershop that had hemp products and plaques with Thomas Jefferson quotes carved into them about smoking weed on his veranda. The old couple that ran the store were cool folks, and in a moment of trying to translate NY to Ozarkian, I said: “Do you know where the green grass grows?” ::shrug:: “I’m not a cop.” ::shrug:: The couple looked a long look at each other and invited us home for fresh vegetables and herb.

TWB: Favorite stoner movie?

A: Toss up: Grandma’s Boy or the Harold and Kumar Epic

TWB: What are your books about?

A: I have 2 children’s books out through the Zigzag Stories App, which is a digital choose-your-own-adventure. They are called Terri Travels and Terri Travels to the Zoo, for 3 – 6 year olds. Terri is that friend that just wants to hang out with you, and doesn’t really care where you go; Left or Right, Giraffe or Elephant, she is just excited the whole time!

Viva la Revolution is in it’s first printing, currently working on a revised edition, and it is my statement on government and governmental systems. I think that the idea of the United States was a good one. It made sense, but it is like a computer that hasn’t been defragged in….oh…about 200 years, now. It really needs to be Reset. The book is really a work of visual art, in itself; I used a variety of fonts to convey more then the word or phrase, but the intent in the word or phrase. And it has fun little weird lists like What Charlie (manson) Knew and Top 10 things-to-know If You Want To Be a Revolutionary.

A friend who read it said it reminded him of “Steal This Book,” that just tickled me pink.

TWB: As an artist who would say has influenced you most?

A: Most is a really really big word for someone who takes a bunch of inspirations, blenders them together in her head, and spits out a margarita on the canvas. With so many different kinds of art, too: musicians and poets, writers, sculptures, and painters….

I’ll do the Oscar-winner List:

David Bowie and Marcel DuChamp, always pushing limits; Elton John and James Taylor, just being themselves as hard as they can; Lady Gaga for be openly absurdist; Dr Who and Joss Whedon give me a dose of Truth; and…wait, wait, I’m almost done!…and Seattle artists The Q (hexkittyn on Deviant Art) and Keegan O’Roark really make me go “wow.” ….Okay, play me off now, boys. :)

Amara was kind and gracious to have let me into her home and we wish you the best of luck. Hopefully I’ll be able to commision her for my next tattoo soon as well. ‘Till next stoner moment, stat irie.

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  • Thanks, Miggy and Weedblog, for a great interview and good times! Credit must be given to the artist JK for the photograph; he was the real artist that day, I was just the muse.

    Cheers!