Perry talks about future in art

By Page H. Gifford

When walking into Abrams School, one will notice an entire wall painted with bold and colorful sea life. The mural is the work of Amya Perry, who was recently featured among the four students accepted into special programs in the arts at college. Perry’s exceptionalism landed her a spot at Virginia Commonwealth University majoring  in Communication Arts.

The mural in question, painted with acrylics and sealed with polyurethane, took Perry a year to complete. The idea came from Abrams teacher James Mayo Pitts and it was an answer to her reaction to the pandemic and its isolation.

“I knew I wanted a beach theme, water is so pretty,” Perry said. She began with a base coat of turquoise, then added the coral, and then fish, sea turtles, and more. “I learned a lot about coral reefs and marine life while learning how to draw them.” She adds that there is  creative freedom without being too realistic. Perry doesn’t plan every detail but prefers to build her pieces as she goes along.

“There were times that I was so tired because it was so big and time-consuming.” Uncertain about the project in the beginning, she had many positive comments and encouragement from staff and students, including one student who said, “That looks amazing.”

“I got many suggestions as to what to add in including mermaids and top hats on the crabs,” she said. “But it was fun and kept me motivated,” Perry said.

Perry’s work is bold, rich with vivid color, and also representational. She prefers a looser approach to the execution of her pieces.

“I’m different from other artists – deep meanings are not really who I am. I love the process and it relaxes me.” Perry said the finished product is the least interesting part of the creation except to see the viewer’s response to her work.

Encouraged in middle school by her art teacher, Margie Kritzer, Perry pursued art with passion and dedication. Other than learning art in school, she also began doing tutorials on YouTube and continued her self-study. Artists gravitate to certain subjects as they study, and Perry enjoys figure studies and portraits.

Though she loves traditional art, particularly drawing and painting, she prefers digital art.

“Digital art is quicker and easier, both traditional and digital have their strengths and weaknesses and I enjoy painting with a brush or drawing with a pencil, it just depends on my mood.” Digital art is becoming more pervasive yet reluctantly accepted in fine arts circles because of its graphic nature. Perry said that more and more students are creating digital art rather than engaging in more traditional forms of art but believes there will be room for both.

“I see art shifting and morphing over time and see it as storytelling as it changes and evolves.” Her vision for the future includes the stories and the momentum of her creations in storyboard animation, concept art for movies, or cartoons. And like many career artists, freelancing is always the way to build a career in art.

“I’m open to many ideas.”

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