Amy Jo Diaz
I make things look a certain way in order to make viewers feel a certain way. Set decoration for photographs, videos, events; whatever it takes to enliven or transform a space. I also do sign-painting, murals and interior finishes. My handwriting is pretty, so I do a lot of penmanship projects. Some folks consider this "modern calligraphy", but I call it pretty handwriting.
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
I studied painting in college, and have stayed true to that practice. It gives me confidence to trust myself and be a creative problem-solver. I’m a visual-spatial person, so complex patterns and concepts excite me, rhythms and nuance, that sort of stuff. I said "yes" to many challenging projects where I gained new skills and resources, because I had the confidence (or the balls) to dive in. Basically, I got to where I am now by saying "YES".
FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?
This goes along with my previous answer, I think people often lack the confidence to accept a challenging project because they may not trust themselves or their skill set to accomplish it. Other times, though, they don't have the resources to get the job done. Accepting jobs that may not have been the best paying jobs (even non-paying jobs) were invaluable experiences for me, because I was able to build an arsenal of resources. So confidence and resources are things that people in my field often lack.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
I'm collaborating with my brother on a project in Joshua Tree on 5 acres of land that we purchased. We're designing multi-use structures with esoteric bells and whistles that will evolve over time. If all goes as planned, they'll be available for events, photo shoots and overnight stays. These will hopefully serve as portfolio pieces for design, interior decor, event decor, furniture ideas, and whatever else happens there.
I developed a new way to create a subtle texture in my sumi ink drawings, so I’ve been doing a lot of works on paper.
I’m also excited about a potential artist residency in Morocco!
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
I would say that my style draws from a broad and diverse range of sources. I love Charles and Ray Eames' home with it's richly textured, seemingly disparate decor, encapsulated in a clean minimalist environment. I’m greatly inspired by Ellsworth Kelly’s bold, minimalist paintings. I adhere to wabi-sabi sensibilities, natural evolution, surprise combos, personality, personality, personality.
WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?
This is a question I often ask myself. I find that collaborating on creative projects is my jam. I am working with an interactive director on a groundbreaking project she is spearheading. Interactive media is not something I know a lot about, but my drawing skills are being put to use in a way I never could have imagined. I enjoy working with other creative people, so if that's penning a sweet poem for someone, decorating a wedding, creating an environment for a short film, brainstorming the theme for an event, or sketching out a logo, it's all fun for me. I am THROUGHLY enjoying designing the structures in Joshua Tree, this is something I would love to do more often.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
The most frustrating thing for me at the moment is the lack of hours in each day. Does time really speed up as we get older or is it just me?
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HOUR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
I would have them help me organize my art supplies. Besides that, I would have them create visual documentation for projects, follow up on emails, categorize the photos on my hard drive (!), and find ways to maintain my involvement in the art community in Los Angeles.
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
I wish I could have told myself to believe in budding ideas. Work through them, so I'm not wondering if they could have taken off.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
It would be about investing in myself. This may seem selfish, but it's what came to mind first. I would love a mentor to give me constructive criticism, help me to grow and combine all of my interests and abilities into a fulfilling and lucrative business. I feel like I have found my calling, I just want to always progress.
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
Projects that put to use a combination of all of my skills. Creative direction; be it designing a set for a photoshoot, book layout, interior decor, or event styling.
WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL CLIENT?
Ideally, my client has a vision. Even if the vision seems outlandish or difficult to accomplish, a vision is important. I enjoy conversations that are productive, so communication is great. Budgets are useful (big or small), parameters help create clear pathways to fruition. A positive attitude goes a really long way, too.
WHAT IS YOUR RATE?
Depending on the scope of a project, the client and I will negotiate a project fee or day rate (some projects are based on a percentage of the overall budget, some are based on a number of days or hours).
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
A hilarious GIF is always welcome, I love opening with a laugh. Otherwise, I like to ask for the scope of the project, hopefully there are some visual clues to what the client is hoping to achieve, a budget, and a deadline (if there is one). Oh, all of this can happen via email unless an old-fashioned phone call is in order.
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
Draw, paint, surf, brainstorm, surf, dance, surf, draw, paint..
This member profile was originally published in April 2018.