My name is Amy and I am a painter, educator, and designer based out of Memphis, TN.
I began my journey as a full time artist about two years ago and I have loved every minute of it! You can find me in my studio most days, painting and making messes with my 3 year old daughter, Lily, right by my side. My work is a celebration of those things that ignite me as an artist: expressive color, pattern, texture, great design...just to name a few! I adore modern floral design and I also draw inspiration from the flora and fauna of the South. More specifically, I'm inspired by how I viewed this landscape growing up as a child. From the tulip poplar tree in the yard of my childhood home to the honeysuckle bush on my walk to school, I was always in awe of the nature around me. And now, as a mother, I get the privilege of seeing my daughter marvel at those same little things. The aim of my work is to take those tiny little delights in life and present them in a new an unique way, as if seeing them for the first time. Thank you so much for stopping by and getting to know a little more about me!
Creative souls are born creative. It's displayed in their inexplicable drive to authentically express themselves every single day they live.
Some artists may spend their lives searching to find their place in a world already so full. Others may waver about as they look for anything new to spur their senses. But the rare ones are working and brooding for much more. These few know that true artistic bravery is achieved when you bare your soul, not for yourself, but to leave a legacy. The story of Amy Hartelust begins with a tiny notion and surely ends with lion-sized might.
Young Amy recognized at an early age that she was quite the creative. It wasn't until her sophomore year of high school, however, that she found what it is she was made to do. Those precious first brush strokes revealed a raw talent that neither she, nor others, had ever realized she possessed. With a passion to pursue her purpose, she sought out a bachelor of fine arts degree at the University of Memphis and signed up for every single art class she could get herself into. But as graduation came and went, Amy found that all the accolades and accomplishment still weren't enough to make her feel like a real artist. Amy's beloved art professor, Beth Edwards, sent her into the world some poignant advice:
An artist doesn't have the choice to brush their work aside. It is simply a part of who they are.
For the next six years Amy served at a local elementary school as an art teacher and life, as it tends to do, moved fast. She married her best friend and together they welcomed daughter, Lily, into their lives. Amy was busy mothering and teaching; soon her art was left forgotten. Every now and again she would ask herself, "Should I be painting?" As much as she loved seeing her young students express themselves through colors and innocence abandoned, something began to stir within her. Without realizing it, Amy had suppressed the very thing that made her who she was. The creativity that had always been her driving force to pursue what she loved, was being pushed farther and farther down until; she couldn't even recognize herself. Those latter years, she would say, were her darkest times. How could someone surrounded by the joy of children, family and prosperity still feel so hopeless?
Amy's desperation bled into an outright petition for rescue and without warning, what little was keeping her held together came completely unhinged. Taking a step back, she saw how disparity and hopelessness had filled all of those once beautiful creative spaces. She knew she had to be better for herself, for her family, but more than anyone, for her daughter Lily. There was only one thing she could think to do... paint. Those first canvases were painful and awkward, like relearning to swim. But she pushed on, knowing this was more than a quest for perfection; she was painting for her life.
Having been tested by the fire, Amy now paints only to show the world what her eyes see. It wasn't until she lost herself, or rather lost who she thought she was, that she could begin to understand who a real artist is and how they can never run away from it. What only seemed a distraction actually served as her reawakening. Nowadays you can find her working full time in her fine art studio; adding strokes and bright swirls only someone with pure joy can make. And just when you think the pure love of art couldn't be any more captivating, you look down, and there her little one is sitting; watching her mommy chase a dream. With wide eyes and a heart full of curiosity she says, "Mommy I want to paint the sky with you."
– Written by Tarra Kruzan