Since 1966, the Sawdust Art +Craft Festival has provided local artists with the opportunity to create “pop up” shops for their art, nestled amidst the rustling trees of Laguna Canyon. The dressed-down cousin of the nearby Pageant of the Masters, Sawdust provides a unique ambiance for art aficionados and first-time browsers alike. Live jam bands, ethnic foods and a variety of art—from blown glass to oil paintings—allows for a relaxing, high / low experience of your choosing.
On a recent Tuesday evening at Sawdust, I fueled up on the culinary arts of Tacos Durrell (in particular, their Meatball Taco) and a pita bundle from Thasos Greek Island Grill, grabbed a Longboard Pale Ale and headed over to meet the ever-lively Amy Rose Hammond, a local artist on display here at the Festival.
Having grown up in the arts-rich town of Laguna Beach, Amy is a local artist whose work, like many here at the Festival, is strongly influenced by the unique vibe, coastline and topography of the region. Since attending the renowned Laguna College of Art & Design (LCAD) fifteen years ago, Amy has made a living from her art. I visited with her more deeply about the process of creating and marketing her art.
“So often, my work starts with a cell phone shot from my car—it could be a special place in the area, or the light hitting an object just so.” It’s true: her work is often an interesting convergence of real scenery, and her personal interpretation of a moment in time. “Having the ability to print those photos from my cell phone, right onto my Epson printer is awesome, because it means I can dive right in on the work.”
But it’s not just painting that Amy has to do well to market her art. “Clients often want high-quality print outs of my work for their home, so they can test it in a room, or visualize a painting in a specific space they have in mind for my art. In addition, I’ll also print, epoxy, and sell smaller prints of my work, in case someone is space-crunched, or not ready to make a larger investment in the original work.”
Indeed: her multi-media art skills prove critical, even down to her branded presence at the Festival itself. “When we arrive at the Festival, it’s tabula rasa every year (before photo included below). We have to literally build this booth from the ground up, and make sure it looks great, so we can impress customers and make them feel comfortable investing in a work of art. I’m calling on carpenter friends to do this, grabbing my nail gun to do that—but at the end of the day, it’s an incredibly satisfying result.”
And it looks great, too. To wit, Amy will have had a successful show this year, selling five or six major works of art at this summer’s festival, which typically runs from June 27 – August 31. If you can’t make it this time of year, there is also a small winter session November 22 – December 14, 2014. If anything, it’s worth taking family or a date and supporting the local arts while soaking up the scene.
To view Amy’s work more intimately, you can also connect with her on Facebook.