A Conversation with Amy Sillman

The following is a transcript of a podcast episode with Amy Sillman.

Amy Sillman is one of the most influential American artists working today. In this conversation, she discusses her unique approach to painting which often includes text, as well as her interest in the relationship between painting and drawing. She also talks about how she uses humor in her work to deal with difficult subjects, and how her work has been influenced by her experience as a teacher.


What draws you to paint, and how did you develop your unique approach to the medium?

I’ve always been interested in painting since I was a kid. I love how you can use color and shape to create images that can be representational and abstract. I also love the way you can use paint to create texture and 3-dimensional effects.

I developed my unique approach to painting by experimenting a lot and by looking at a lot of different artists’ work. I was particularly influenced by the work of the Abstract Expressionists, who was working in New York when I was growing up. I also looked at a lot of European painters, like Paul Cézanne and Pablo Picasso. I’m always trying to push myself to try new things and experiment with different techniques.


What role does humor play in your work?

I think humor is a very important part of my work. I often use it to deal with difficult subjects, like death or illness. I think humor can be a way of lightening the mood and making difficult subjects more approachable.

I also think humor is a way of subverting expectations. In my work, I often use humor to surprise viewers and challenge them to look at things in a different way. I want my work to make people think, and I think humor is a great way to do that.


What is it like to be a teacher, and how has that influenced your work?

I love being a teacher. It’s a great way to connect with people and share my love of art. I’ve also found that teaching has helped me to develop my own work.

I think teaching has made me more patient and more open to different ways of working. It’s also helped me to develop my own sense of humor, which I think is reflected in my work.

I’m always trying to learn from my students, and I think they’re a great source of inspiration. I think teaching is a great way to keep my work fresh and to keep myself challenged.