As patrons of Southern Breeze Gallery,
many of you
have watched as
career as an artist has grown and her work has matured through
the years. She has always remained humbled by the fact that she can do
something she loves, i.e. paint, and make a living… that people have
been so receptive to her work and all that represents. Born Sept. 14,
1952, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Amy received her BA (Art/Psychology) in 1974,
from Hope College, in Holland, Michigan. She continued to study both on
the university level and through the occasional workshop or
seminar. Prior to moving to Yazoo City, Mississippi in 1986 Amy had been
painting portraits but “…fell in love with the old “Southern” homes with
their white porches”. When the family moved to Hattiesburg, Amy joined
the South Mississippi Art Association and continued accepting
commissions for paintings of homes until, to use her words, “I felt like
a blue collar worker –
“Here, and copy this”.”
I had all these ideas – I wanted to be creative.” One day, the jazz
music playing, Ms. Giust covered a canvas with heavy paints in swirls of
color and musical instruments. Apprehensive and a little unsure about
this new direction she eventually entered the abstract work and a couple
of traditional paintings in the Magnolia Arts Competition at the State
Fair. The abstract won 1st place. Taking a workshop with Mississippi
artist and educator Patt Odom, Amy showed her the new work to a response
of “…You don’t have to go back.”
Amy credits the artwork of her own children as the original inspiration
for her bold and intuitive personal style. "One of my art professors
told me that the purpose of art is for 'off-loading the human spirit'.
I like that because it describes why children's art is so powerful. As
adults, we allow our judgmental ego to get in our way." Not unlike
Amy’s own fear of showing the new, abstract works, she was working on.
Her paintings reflect optimism, humor and spirituality.
Amy enjoys the interplay of lines and shapes. "Picasso was a great
shape-maker and probably my favorite artist." She also credits the
influence of other artists who deal with shape and color, such as
Matisse, the German painter Hundertwasser and Mississippians Patt Odom
and Lallah Perry.
The paintings of Amy Giust have won numerous awards. They are included
in permanent collections of both the private and corporate sector and
numerous institutions of higher learning around the country and world.
Ms. Giust was one of the featured artists at the "My South Celebration"
in New York City on September 1, 2004 as well as having had work on
exhibit in the U.S. Ambassador's Residence in
"Amy Giust lets
herself be led around by her paintbrush, and the destination seems a happy
one. Figures relax or move in a loose dance of shapes, shades and
patterns that delight the eye and tickle the
Lucas - The Clarion Ledger; Oct. 4, 1998
Ms. Giust's expressive style can bring reactions
from a smile to a chuckle to the "I've been there". She can take the
most ordinary occurrence and turn it into a moment of total and personal
intensity with a touch of joy in the highlights.
"For me, it's the idea of
playfulness - that I don't have to treat everything the way reality treats
it, I start with an idea and let the painting tell me where to go
- Amy Giust