Canadian artist Amy Hamilton has a strong passion for wildlife. Using lavish brush strokes and expressive textures, she turns wolves, fawns, elks and more into dreamy life like illustrations. We sat down and had a chat about animals, inspiration and the great outdoors.
What’s your favourite drink at Happy Hour?
Don’t laugh, but I enjoy a cold glass of chocolate milk.
What did you want to become when you were a kid?
When I was four, I wanted to be a ballerina. Later, I decided it would be more fun to illustrate children’s books. I have always been interested in the creative arts, but I wasn't sure how to make a living at it. After working several service jobs as a young adult, I decided to go back to school for graphic design. I have yet to illustrate a book, but I am doing what I love! You live in Kingston, Ontario.
Does your city and its surroundings play a big role in your work?
It does! I feel fortunate to live in a city with ample green space, a historic down-town, and a beautiful waterfront. Being outdoors motivates my work, and I frequently find inspiration while taking walks along the shore of Lake Ontario or exploring the countryside (north of the city) where I grew up.
What are the three things in life you couldn't do without?
Love, learning, and creativity. Your animal illustrations are very detail-focused.
Do you spend a lot of time observing wild animals?
I do spend time observing animals, but mostly on screens – I am obsessed with nature documentaries! One of my favourite series is BBC’s Planet Earth. While I also enjoy learning about wildlife on Wikipedia, I would jump at the chance to go to a nature reserve to see exotic animals up close.
Which (musical) artists are you playing on high rotation at the moment?
Mumford and Sons, Little Chief, Johnny Flynn, and the soundtrack from Jurassic Park.
Describe your workspace. What can we see, hear or even smell around you?
My workspace is a little small! I work in the den of my one-bedroom apartment. Unfortunately, there are no windows in the room, but French doors opening to the hallway make the room less confining.
I try to make the space more inspiring by decorating with bright green plants, colourful posters, and art prints by artists like Andrea Lauren, Leah Flores, and Garance Doré. On my desk, you will find pencils, rulers, a laptop, a wildlife encyclopaedia, and rough sketches of narwhals and grizzly bears.
Reading is another hobby of mine, so in my workspace, you will also find a bookshelf loaded with works by my favourite graphic designers. My dream workspace will have built-in storage and big windows!
Where does your passion for animals come from?
I'm not exactly sure where my passion for animals comes from, but the beauty and complexity of the natural world certainly fascinate me.
As a child, I remember watching a great white shark documentary and was enchanted by the way these dominating animals moved so gracefully in the water. I think animals are inherently beautiful, and it is fun to project a sense of story and emotion through them.
Mountain or sea?
The choice you have asked me to make is impossible!