Art isn't always a precision act. Amanda Stoke knows this from experience — her medium is fundamentally a little chaotic. She works in fluid acrylics, mixing acrylic and oil paints with acetone, silicone, alcohol, dish soap, and more. The additives interact with her paints to produce a wide array of novel effects. When it clicks, the results are intricate plays of color and texture, sometimes almost cellular in design. When it doesn't, Stoke makes friends with her squeegee and starts again.
"Each canvas has its own personality, and once the paint hits it, it grows very quickly, from a baby to a grown adult within an hour," she says. "I've dabbled in lots of different things over the years, but this one has been my greatest inspiration."
She's the sole employee at Art 111, owned by Kate Brophy, and her first exhibition, Alchemy, will go on display Friday, April 14. Alchemy, Stoke explains, refers to that whole-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts nature of her medium, the chemical interactions that define her pieces. But as interesting as the show may be, it's the product of necessity. Stoke schedules the shows at Art 111, and has since joining in 2016.
"I'm booked through February of 2018," she says, "but I just couldn't fill April [of 2017]."
Before working for Art 111, Stoke spent 15 years working at Good Earth Garden Center.
"I played in the dirt all day," she says.
Now, when she's not organizing shows or making her own works, she also manages Art 111's supply store side, not only exhibiting local artists, but keeping them equipped as well. She talks about her situation like it's a dream job.
"I just get to do what I'm passionate about all day," she says. "I play all day. It's amazing."