Amy Mayfield balances juggling ‘painter’ and ‘record store entrepreneur’
Amy Mayfield’s art is not something you will ever see on the cover of Southern Living. Punk rock’s big sister wouldn’t want her work to be doted upon by the masses, so don’t stare too long at the picture we printed here. Her paintings, darkly beautiful and macabre, appeal to an aesthetic that is unapologetically realistic, taking no prisoners as they murder your eyeballs.
Tony Mraz: What do you consider to be most important when creating?
Amy Mayfield: Enjoying it. If what I’m creating is frustrating me, or I feel just isn’t hitting its mark, then I stop, add it to my bone yard of dead paintings and work on something else, or just take a break from it for a while. You can work a piece to death.
TM: If you got to have coffee with three of your favorite artists, who would they be?
AM: Jenny Saville, Gee Vaucher and Sue Coe.
TM: All of these artists are alive and still working, so it could happen, right?
AM: There are several other obvious artists I would pick if I had a time machine, but they all died of drug overdose, suicide, and 16th-18th century venereal diseases… so I can’t imagine getting coffee with them being much fun. Just because you’re a genius with a brush doesn’t mean you’re going to be a pleasure to drink coffee with.
TM: What are some of the ideas and/or themes that you deal with?
AM: I like to toy with iconography, literary references, and satire…humor and chagrin added to something otherwise devastating and important. Trash culture, art, music, and literature have all had an important influence on a lot of my sociopolitical/analytical leanings, as well my tempo in life. As for “themes,” I like storybook layouts, old sci-fi book covers, record covers, and other dated materials. My favorite thing lately has been finding old broken toys and painting them into scenarios. There’s no real message behind it—it’s just fun. I’m generally overly cautious about social/political topics because I’m afraid the pieces will be perceived as exploitive and not benefit the idea or cause.
TM: What materials and processes have you been using recently?
AM: I generally use higher-quality acrylic paints and mediums, and cheap clearance-rack brushes because I forget to clean them properly and have a bad habit of chewing on the ends. My favorite process is acrylic over charcoal washes. I paint on hardboard that I gesso and sand down. The charcoal does most of the work, maps out most of the detail, and the acrylics are layered over in glazes and highlights. It gives it a gritty look that I like, and sometimes I’ll finish small details with a colored pencil.
TM: How does owning and operating a record store influence your work?
AM: I said “Hey, I know what I’m going to do with my art degrees to not make money! I’m going to open a store that sells outdated analog media to only a select group of people in the community who either haven’t discovered the internet yet, like to fondle stuff before they buy it, or make it a point to support record stores, and then I’m going to put it in this nondescript metal building in the dead center of Red Bank.”
We started it with $400 and records from our own collections. It was the most terrifying thing I have ever done. It has shown me what I am capable of doing if I quit sabotaging myself and take a huge risk. It has forced me to become more detail orientated, organized, and made me more conscientious about time and managing it. It has also shown me that the community actually cares if we succeed.
The store has been a labor of love and provision of public service more than a source of income. This is sort of a dream that my brother and I have had since we were kids, and we enlisted our sister. We rent out art space in the back of the building, and have a fully functional 4-color press and dryer that we let bands and other businesses use to print shirts. Sometimes we invite bands or individuals to play music in the back. We try to promote and sell items from other local artists and musicians, and lately we have been running out of room. Next year we are going to expand the store, and I would like to build a gallery into the back half.
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To see more of Amy’s art or shop for records, visit Mayfield’s All Killer No Filler Records at 2841 Dayton Blvd. in Red Bank or online at mayfieldsallkiller.com