Amber Daly

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Amber Daly

As an artist you’re constantly creating, imagining the world in a different light and trying make sense of things through your art. Stepping into Amber Daly’s studio, overlooking the hills of Highton and the Barwon River, there’s a scattering of sketches from her walks around home and a large painting of a table within her studio – seen in a new light of purple hues, grey and strong line work.
“As an artist I think you always need to continually create but you mightn’t have access to something really different, so you should still be able to find something within your immediate surrounds,” Amber says gesturing to her recent painting of the studio table.
“I think that’s a really good challenge as well. And I think that with my tools and everything it should be an inspiring place to work.”
And that it is, but for Amber her fluidity in creating new works didn’t flow on from her degree in fine arts. On completing the course, she actually took eight years off creating, before realising that she wasn’t doing what she wanted to do.
webHer realisation led to an application to two big name galleries in Melbourne, only to be turned away. Not wanting to be put off her dream to pursue her passion, she created a gallery herself in Richmond.
“Artists are meant to do new things and to step outside and say, ‘I want to start something’. I’d applied to a couple of galleries and wasn’t getting any work so I thought I’m just going to do it myself,” she says.
The decision to open her own gallery soon spring boarded her career and she was represented by a well-respected Melbourne gallery for five years.
Though while she was constantly creating, Amber found that her passion was getting skewed by the pressure to sell in a commercial setting.
“I’d reached a point in my painting where I wasn’t really happy with my work, it was just big paintings, bright colours – it was more than that – but it started to lack a bit of substance and it became a bit too commercial,” she says.
“I was moving away from what I was painting as my subjects and why that was important for me to paint or draw that particular thing. If I was interested in that what did you have to say about it? So many people are interested in that too but what’s your voice?
What do you then want people to get from it?
“I didn’t want people to buy my work because it simply matched their interior of their house, so I thought I need to find something to help me get back to why I’m doing what I’m doing and in the first three weeks I realised that was exactly the right thing to do.”
With this in mind, Amber has a memo of sorts on the wall in her studio, reminding her of the value each artwork has for an artist: ‘You aren’t buying a thing, you’re buying a piece of heart, part of a soul, a moment of someone’s life’.
Now back studying her masters in fine arts, Amber has had to unlearn all that she knows to understand the reasons behind her actions.
While she is relearning, her style is still the same, described as a naïve style it’s a raw take on the world coming purely from emotions and no outside sources.
“It’s very direct coming from my emotions and not particularly influenced by any other movements or outsiders, you get into the sway and get into the movements and that’s sort of the direct approach,” she says.
“You’re really in a vacuum and working in your own world and just working form that.”
Emotions are evident throughout each of Amber’s artworks, there are those featuring her experiences in losing her mother, the shock of the Bali nine trial and her wishes for those rushing through life without enjoying it. The latter of which is certainly something Amber no longer has to worry about, as she is truly doing what she loves and that comes through in each of her pieces.
When & Where: Metropolis Gallery, Geelong – until August 1
Written by Amanda Sherring