Amanda Shatzko’s Mixed Mediums

Amanda Shatzko’s Mixed Mediums

Artist on art, the circus and politics

  • Jan. 20, 2020 7:30 a.m.

– Story by David Wylie Photography by Darren Hull

Most artists don’t paint upside down while suspended in the air.

Amanda Shatzko blends her unique Cirque du Soleil training with formal art training — and it can be a tricky balancing act.

“You’ve got to learn perspective very fast, because you’re right-side up one second, then you’re upside down the other second,” she said.

“Before, I used to go up with huge multiple canvases and have a hanging bucket with paint, but then I’d start crashing into it and learned it’s a bad idea to have a bucket of paint moving around.”

The North Okanagan artist is always looking for ways to improve her craft and push her artistic boundaries, even if it means making mistakes along the way.

“People should not be afraid to try things and fail at them,” she said. “I really like trying to weave different things together and see how they work. Visual arts, performing arts, sports and now politics. As humans, we are multifaceted.”

How did Amanda end up painting upside down at corporate events?

While in Vancouver, she was recruited by the choreographers of Cirque du Soleil to do acrobatics. She was performing at corporate events as a circus performer and then doing live painting on the ground — sometimes at the same event.

“Vancouver is a small world,” she said, adding the same people book different events.

She started to wonder what her painting would look like if she put two and two together. That kind of thinking seems to permeate her work, with her prominent body of paintings being a blend of portrait and landscape fading into each other.

Art was a formative part of her life at an early age.

“When I was little I used to sit in front of the TV with my dad on weekends watching cartoons, and I would do colouring books and I would draw with crayons. I was a little bit meticulous with colouring in the lines and shading,” she said.

From there she branched out into school art projects that were eventually exhibited in the Vernon Public Art Gallery through a program for elementary and high school kids.

Having her knack acknowledged at an early age was encouraging, and Amanda started taking art lessons while in elementary school. She became involved in performing arts and gymnastics at that time, becoming a top-ranked Canadian gymnast and training for 30 hours a week. Hoping to make the Olympics, she travelled across the country and into the US to compete, something that inspired a life-long love of travel.

“But I always found ways to incorporate art,” she said.

Coming to terms with not realizing her Olympic dreams in gymnastics, Amanda instead opted for art school.

She studied at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design, where she tried out things like welding and sculpture. One of her takeaways was that artists have a responsibility to reflect and comment on current times.

Her art did eventually lead to an Olympic performance. When she was graduating from art school in 2010, there was a call for artists to paint live in Whistler at the Vancouver Olympic Games.

“Coming from a sports background, I thought ‘I can do that.’ I understand athletes’ bodies, and I was painting a lot of athletes at the time,” she said.

She was accepted as an artist and had a studio in the Olympic Village, at one point painting fellow Vernon resident and Olympic medal-winning Paralympic athlete Josh Dueck.

Among her artistic experiments have been upcycling and sustainability.

“With so much stuff that’s going on in the world, we need to get creative and innovative to solve the problems. People need to not be afraid to be creative and to be curious,” she said.

“The biggest thing people get afraid of when they get older is continuing to explore. They get out of this whole exploratory phase. I think that’s unfortunate because there are so many innovations that need to get created.”

Amanda works with students in local schools to create upcyling pieces, including a project at Vernon Secondary School where she helped kids encase everyday items in resin — a combination lock, keyboard, stamps, a fork, musical instruments and scissors.

“These were objects that were going to be discarded at the end of the year,” she said.

Her political involvement is a recent development.

About a year ago, Amanda was elected as a director for the Regional District of North Okanagan, where she is currently vice chair. At 33 years old, Amanda is now among a growing number of millennials who are adding their opinions and ideas to the table.

“Art can be used as a form of diplomacy,” she said. “The arts taught me there’s more than one way to get to an end goal.”

She had been sitting on boards for arts groups, and then became involved in the referendum for a new multi-purpose cultural facility in downtown Vernon, which voters approved in 2018. Those she’d worked with on that campaign suggested she run for office.

Amanda is now in the process of creating a new body of work on the theme of cultural diplomacy.

“What if the whole world could be a canvas? What would you create?” she asked.

Visit her online at amandashatzko.com.

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

ArtEntertainment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC CDC mapping for the week ending April 4, shows a sharp decrease in COVID-19 cases to 27 in Prince Rupert down 45 from the week prior. (Image: BCCDC)
Sharp decline in Prince Rupert COVID-19 cases

Prince Rupert lab-confirmed cases are down 62.5 per cent in one week

Blair Mirau, Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Society CEO, is seen in a hydroponic greenhouse the society purchased in 2020 to promote food stability and local supply. (Photo: supplied)
Three P.R. organizations partner to develop food distribution network

$167,000 grant awarded to GSN, PRDCC and Ecotrust Canada to strengthen food supply chains

Food security and local production were topics at the April 12 public hearing to discuss new zoning bylaws and new OCP bylaws in Prince Rupert. A shipping container-style hydroponic growing unit in Whitehorse on July 26, 2020 is similar to one purchased by the Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Society for local food production. (Photo: Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Food security and local production were growing concerns at city held public hearing

No provision in new zoning bylaws and new OCP for urban agriculture zones in Prince Rupert

Members of Prince Rupert Rotary Club gave back to their community on April 15 by providing a facelift to the city's gateway at McClymont Park. (Photo: K-J Millar)
Acts of Kindness Day being honoured in Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert Rotary Club is encouraging acts of kindness all week long

A ball balances on the rim. New basketball court surfaces and nets will be installed as part of the McBride Street Multi-sport Court Redevelopment project to which Pembina donated $20,000. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Nothing but net for $20,000 Pembina donation

McBride Street multi-sport court redevelopment project in the planning

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
Out-of-region B.C. vacation bookings, RV ferry reservations to be refused, Horgan says

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BREAKING: Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
B.C. health authority seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

Chakalaka Bar and Grill plans to continue serving customers without public health compliance

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

The former C&C Wood Products mill will begin producing products again later this month, under new ownership. (Observer file photo)
Williams Lake-owned company to restart production at bankrupt specialty mill in Quesnel

President of Kandola Forest Products says he expects to fill 90 full-time jobs by end of year

Most Read