Vibrant acrylics. Curator of art shows. Cat portraits. Drawing on a diverse artistic skill set and a deep inner creative well, artist Amanda Gamble left a successful corporate career to answer her soul’s calling; creating visual art that inspires others. Bringing to bear her high-performance, get-it-done skills on a creative streak a mile wide, Amanda now creates art and large-scale projects to share with the Tacoma community and beyond.
In meeting with Amanda, her thoughtful and generous spirit make an immediate impact, showing the energy that powers her work. Born and raised in Evanston, Illinois, she and her partner came to Tacoma by way of California and then Seattle nearly five years ago. Tacoma immediately felt like home. “I fell in love with the art and the architecture,” says Amanda, “and people here are friendly and down to earth.” Since then, she has embedded herself in many pockets in the local community.
Amanda had worked in luxury goods for over 20 years, and was very good at what she did. She had made fashion drawings and studied jewelry design as a youth, and took the leap to make art her life’s work about four years ago. With a seasoned professional’s goal-setting and deeply in tune with her inner voice, she started creating paintings, taking photos, and offering her independent marketing services full-time, working for clients such as Artful Dreamers Studio to showcase their offerings. She has also taken part in collaborative ventures you might have seen around town such as a window-front installation through Spaceworks Tacoma to promote Shared Housing Services. While art requires introspection and inner reflection, Amanda is also mindful of and active in the local community, volunteering with children and youth and seeking out local businesses to support.
Dynamic and energetic, Amanda works on several art pieces at once, letting a layer on one painting dry while she works on another. Her subject matter ranges from goddess images to bold abstracts. Acrylics are a current favorite. She works in a state of “flow” to channel her inner creative essence into a tangible form that someone else can enjoy. Whether it’s a serene landscape photo of the mountains or an abstract painting, you sense the feeling of joy and brightness of spirit in her work.
While her work is diverse, she says, “I think there’s a common thread that runs through it…I love to find the beauty where I am, and to bring beauty into people’s lives.” Amanda was born with a hearing impairment and says this has even more finely honed her visual sense. She says she is always growing and trying new things, and wants to experiment with digital drawing and new aspects of digital photography next.
Very community-minded, she has worked over the past two years to put together 18 woman-identified artists for a groundbreaking collaborative art project called SHEnlightens. For this huge project, each of the artists chose a female subject – important but not necessarily well-known women from history and contemporary culture – to paint as a large-scale portrait, bringing these women’s work and beings to light. The women painted range from animal-rights pioneer Jane Goodall to activist Mamie Till (mother of Emmett Till) to oldest living National Parks Ranger Betty Reid Soskin. The collection is impressive not just for its range, diversity and creativity, but for the huge accomplishment of pulling together local artists to give a collective voice and image to these women icons, to empower the local community and inspire women to know what is possible. Not to mention the project of meeting, scheduling and coordinating all the artists to make the project a success.
Amanda has also created a monthly gathering for the women artists involved and plans to continue growing the project. SHEnlightens has already debuted recently at a local nonprofit, and is scheduled to be displayed in Tacoma Art Museum’s TAM Local: Community Art Space in early 2020.
Following on the heels of putting together this major effort, Amanda also plans to create an ongoing collaboration among women artists and business owners in Tacoma in the coming months. It is important to her to help weave a network of local businesses and artists, where everyone is supporting each other and helping each other to be seen.
In terms of her own creative projects, you’ll find Amanda’s work displayed and available for purchase around Tacoma at local businesses including Turner Furniture and Upholstery, Petal Home Gift Botanical, and Creative Forces Gifts and Sundries at Hotel Murano during the Third Thursday Art Walk.
A fun fact? Amanda’s professional photography includes cat portraits. She says time and patience, and getting down to a cat’s eye level, are important to capturing each cat’s unique spirit.
With her marketing clients, she says, “My goal is to elevate what is already there. I create a story. I see existing patterns and strategize something different…I dig in.” She is able to sift her years of corporate experience through the sieve of artistic passion to create something new.
Talented in both the business and artistic realms, Amanda is aware of, but humble about her talents. “I plan to take on as much as I can learn,” she says. “I want to exploit my talents. I want to approach my own limit, both intellectually and creatively.” With Amanda’s spark and creative energy, two words come to mind: stay tuned.
If you like Amanda’s style, she can do commissioned paintings, as well as your next headshot, cat portrait, or product photography session. She can be contacted through her website.