We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Kadrmas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amy, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Fresh out of college, I was eager to take over the world. I had high aspirations to be an important player in the advertising industry with hopes of being a Creative Director at some big name company. I put everything into my first job as a graphic designer, working weekends and long nights in order to prove myself. My life was my work. When eventually I owned my own creative business, my work life balance didn’t improve. As I’m sure many self-employed business owners can attest to, it takes more than one can imagine to keep the ship afloat. While my vision of my dream job had transitioned a bit, I still had that same lust for bigger things that drove me to make my work a priority over everything else. I never stopped to ask if I even enjoyed what I was doing and I was always on the verge of burnout. Then kids happened. Having my babies changed everything. They have this miraculous way of resetting priorities in an instant. First of all, I found it impossible to keep going at my previous pace. Ultimately my health forced me to slow down and by doing that I was given the time and space to reflect on what truly was important to me. I began reevaluating what gives me joy and energy in my life and came to the hard realization that it was not my current career choice. So I moved away from the fast paced life of running my own creative business and began doing what I had always loved… making art. I’ve always loved painting and expressing myself visually which is why I chose graphic design in the first place. I foolishly believed I couldn’t be successful as an artist so graphic design seemed like the most logical choice. Deep down, I always felt meant to create art I just lacked the confidence to make it into a career. Being a professional artist allows me to do what I feel called to do at a pace that makes sense for my family. I’ve learned my rhythm is slower than most and I’ve accepted that this is perfectly okay. I love being able to set my own schedule and the flexibility that gives me to be truly present in my day-to-day interactions. I’ve learned I thrive when I’m able to have meaningful conversations and connections with my loved ones. When I am able to take time for reflection and appreciation for the world around me it fills my cup and comes out in my paintings. My work is not my life any more… it is an expression of my life. Life is short. Life is distracting. Whenever I find myself getting stressed out about meeting a deadline or sales goal I try to remember why I chose this path, that quality of life and being present in the small moments are what I’m here for.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m best known as a vibrant cloud painter but it’s more than that for me. Yes, my painting are often of the sky but I see more than just a pretty oil painting. My paintings are abstractions of the natural occurring splendor of the world around us. Rather than attempt to replicate what I see, I paint my personal emotional responses to the light and color. My hope is that my paintings inspire the viewer to slow down and to have a quiet moment of reflection; to take a moment to appreciate and be awed by the beauty we often take for granted around us. When I begin a piece, I don’t know what it will look like in the end. I love to paint intuitively, allowing one brush stroke to inform the other. The challenge is to get out of my own way and resist the temptation to over-analyze and instead let the piece reveal itself organically. This process of letting go of control, while painting, has become a powerful meditation that greatly benefits all areas of my life. I have found the more I am able to allow the creativity to flow unhindered the more expressive the painting and the more satisfied I feel after creating the piece. My goal, conceptually, is to create paintings that are visually stimulating while reveling in ambiguity, invoking personal emotional reactions for the viewer.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Being from out of state… I have lots of hot spots that clients from the DFW area have recommended but I think I would be most excited about checking out the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens for the natural scenery and then the Dallas Museum of Art for creative inspiration.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I could not do what I do without the support of my family and friends. Specifically, my artist community who is always there to cheer me on, offer suggestions and gently hold me accountable. I’m never alone on this journey. So thank you to a talented group of artists: Krizia Liquido, Shanae McDevitt, Lori Fowler and Kelli Wassom. I am so blessed to have you in my life. I also have to give a special shout out to my mentor, Dan Mackerman, who’s knowledge of the art world is unparalleled and has been there to help guide me since day one.
Nominate someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.