Memphis, TN | Mixed Media
Amanda Sparks was born in Atlanta in 1976 and received a B.A. from Agnes Scott College and a M.F.A. in printmaking from Hunter College in New York. After living in New York for six years she returned to the South and fostered a deep love for the estate sales that continue to supply her growing collection of vintage books, the primary source material for her work. Amanda moved to Memphis in 2010 to work on the Crosstown Concourse project where she is currently the Director of Residency for Crosstown Arts. Known fondly by her co-workers and friends as “Sparks”, she lives with her husband (but would prefer to leave that part of the bio out to prove that she doesn’t really need him) and two young sons.
I work primarily in sculptural landscapes comprised of found vintage imagery, meticulously constructed into digital composites (usually hundreds of layers in Photoshop) that are printed, intricately cut out by hand and reassembled into physical layers inside shadow boxes and other encasements. The final works create a confluence between two-dimensional and three-dimensional art forms, drawing from over 20 years of personal experience and interest in the intersection of conventional printmaking, digital art and book art. The iconic, typically mid-century figures in the collages reference white, middle-class stereotypes and the alienation often found in the unrealized American dream. The figures are displaced in idyllic settings that have been compromised in some way and share an unmet longing and curiosity reflected in their presence. The images in my work are sourced from ladies magazines, educational textbooks, how-to guides and other popular materials from the 1940’s-1960’s and are used as cultural relics that represent to me an abstracted promise of modern life. Inspired, in part, by Walker Percy’s Love In the Ruins, the reconstructed scenes in my work are of a disoriented human experience, visual moments that exist in an unsettling, illusory middle ground between future and past, promise and loss, meaning and emptiness.