Today we’d like to introduce you to Trevor Amery.
Trevor, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
My unique story… well, I guess you could say it involves embracing failures, constraints, and one good near-death experience, for good measure. I started out really as a painter in undergrad at MICA in Baltimore, MD, but I always couldn’t get enough of the woodshop, which I probably should have paid attention to back then. I continued painting after undergrad but got wrapped up in working as an admissions counselor for my alma mater and found it impossible to maintain a studio practice while living on the road half of the year and drowning in files the other. So in 2011, I left MICA to pursue my work full time beginning with a two-month artist residency in Finland. Unfortunately, while making my way through customs in the UK, an officer confiscated all of my oil paints, and so I arrived in Hämeenkyrö without a way to make paintings. I should mention I was on a minuscule budget in an expensive country with no possibility of buying all new supplies. Not knowing what to do, I began the residency by taking long bike rides throughout the countryside to get a sense of the place. I discovered and fell in love with these absurdly scaled (at least to me) woodpiles I came across on back roads. I started splitting wood for a few hours each day to understand the material, taking sauna regularly like the Fins do, and interviewing our hosts and their friends. This inspired me to create site-specific firewood installations in parks, urban niches, and playgrounds… and one day while paddling a canoe over to a floating dock with firewood piled up in front and behind me in the boat to create another installation, I had a huge epiphany that this could be my art.
Through what originally seemed like a nightmarish constraint turned out to completely transform my art practice for the better. I finally learned what it meant to give oneself agency as a maker, and since then I’ve been making sculptures, performance, and installation-based work, creating what I need my art to be and not what I thought it was.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My art is an excuse to be out in and engaging with the world through multiple senses and experiences. I love that feeling you get when you’re hiking and come across a beautiful expanse exciting a giddiness like when you’re a kid… or finding the most incredible pie at a random hole-in-the-wall on an epic road trip that’s accompanied with a great conversation with a stranger. Or even life-changing experiences like capsizing and nearly drowning in the Atlantic Ocean during a solo performance for Art Basel Miami in a kayak you built, only to later be rescued by a random jet skier named Marvin. Yes, that happened.
I create sculptures and installations that attempt to embody these narratives of discovery, distance, love, and failure through found, sourced, and fabricated objects. More and more, the material lists describing the work are crucial to understanding it. Because for me, I’m interested in where objects come from; how we imbue them with value due to different functions and factors, and how they can become stand-ins for relationships we have with others. I should admit here that I grew up antiquing and playing navigator, sitting in the passenger seat as my mom drove the two of us all over the east coast to the most random garage and tag sales to find antiques for her side-business and passion. Reading maps, getting lost, and finding treasures in old, dilapidated barns off obscure country roads are some of my favorite memories and have most definitely shaped my relationship to things. I like something that has a story and a little grit. My goal is to then create sculptures about vulnerability and relationships by subverting and embracing the function of these objects. By further recontextualizing them, I hope to get to a place that is oblique or more than the logic of one specific thing.
How can artists connect with other artists?
I’m no wise sage to be giving advice, but I will say the art world is filled with some spectacular humans and I encourage those curious-minded to reach out, connect, ask questions, and say hi to one another. There are a lot of openings each month throughout San Diego, come hang.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I always invite people to visit my website, www.trevor-amery.com or my Instagram, trevor_amery… and if someone is interested in purchasing my work or setting up a studio visit, please contact me through my website. And I do love a good cup of black coffee… just saying.
- Website: www.TREVOR-AMERY.com
- Instagram: trevor_amery
Photo Courtesy of Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE.
Photographer: Colin Conces
For the Image Amery.Trevor.5.jpg of the woodpile with canoe bisecting it
Photo courtesy of studioMAHA