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Amy Giust - Acrylics

As patrons of Southern Breeze Gallery, many of you have watched as Ms. Giust’s 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 Lisbon, Portugal.

"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 imagination."       
Sherry 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 next."   

- Amy Giust 


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