Monday, January 18, 2016

Amy Brown aka Jumbo Jibbles


What do you do? 
I am a fabric sculptor focusing on fruits and vegetables.

Where can we find your work? 
I sell on Etsy, and have social media presences practically everywhere. I'm not hard to find.

What inspires you to create and how do you keep motivated when things get tough?
I invented an embiggening machine-- it's really just myself, seeing pleasing objects and replicating them on a larger (or sometimes smaller) scale. When things get tough, sometimes I get pretty low. It's the strangest thing being in a depressive period surrounded by large, brightly colored things. I have a lot of support from the people around me-- my spouse, and a fantastic group of lady artists who are in my same boat. It's ok to be sad sometimes. The contrast between depression and making things that bring people joy is a kind of fuel.

What do you think is more important content/finished product or technique/process? 
I love the process-- every little sketch and iPhone note of "OMG DO IT THIS WAY" when I get a sudden bolt of inspiration on the train. But then I look back at it and wonder what the hell I was getting at. I should make better notes.

Who are some people who influence and/or inspire you?
I get excited by the biggest things. I remember the first time I saw Christo and Jean-Claude's Surrounded Miami Islands in a magazine. I was 11 and had next to no exposure to contemporary art. I love showing their pieces to kids in my sewing classes, then asking, "Now what would you make if you could make anything?" Friends with You make great big inflatable installations, and last summer I volunteered at their book signing at MOCA LA and wore an inflatable suit for a few hours. High point of my life. One day I'd like to see Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam's work in person. Locally, I love following Kyle Pellet on Instagram and Tricia Stackle's sumptuous felt work.

What is the most incredible art moment for you so far?

When I need a pick-me-up I think about Younhee Paik's installation of Ascending River at the ICA. I wanted to stay in there forever. I went to the EMP Museum in Seattle this month-- call me silly, but I got chills looking at the Chuck Jones sketches in the What's Up, Doc? exhibit. The pieces of my childhood disassembled and came back together. I saw the guts of my favorite cartoons. 

When do you get your best ideas?

Randomly! Sometimes I loiter in the produce section at Whole Foods and fondle dragonfruits, but it's usually in that space just between work and relaxation that my best thoughts come.

What materials/tools do you use most to create your work?
For a long time I've worked within the constraints of space and tools, so fleece was my main fabric for creating. I needed fabrics that didn't fray. I'm about to get a serger and all hell is gonna break loose. Also, my heart says pompoms, but I'm just a pom junkie. I buy bags of them, make them, never really use them in my work. Just squirrel them away like a fiber Gollum. 

Are you self-taught or formally educated? How do you think that has influenced or affected your work?
Self-taught. I started making little things after I graduated college, fabric mix tape covers, patches for friends' bands. I took two or three sewing classes when I first got interested in making clothing, but after that I have have pushed through on my own. I've made so many mistakes, but mostly they've been fruitful. I had a great production assistant who went to West Valley fashion classes, and she passed on lots of great tips on making patterns. One day when I have time, I'll go back to school and take some design classes. In some ways I'm working with one hand tied behind my back-- I know I could do much more.

Who would you most like to meet living or dead and why?
My maternal grandmother Cerise! She had 10 kids and sewed all their clothes. I'd like to meet her before they all got there. She was died when I was 9, but [re-read that second sentence] was a little too tired to do any more sewing. I want to know what she thinks about what I'm doing now. Maybe we could go into business together.

When you are not creating what do you like to do?
Comic books, taking incredibly slow hikes to take pictures of mushrooms, and riding my bike. I would love to start traveling more.

How did you learn to access your creative talents and gain the confidence to put it out there for everyone to experience?
Fake it. Try everything until you feel comfortable, and until then, fake it. No one will know. 

What advice would you give others just beginning their creative adventures?

Don't be afraid of making money on your art-- it helps you to live and make what you love. Pay it forward by helping other artists. And dangit, have an online presence!!      

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