The process of discovering & sharing the creative flow state through Art is Nourishment by Amber Bardell
In their attic room amongst their paintings, singing bowls, paintbrushes & the visiting cat, Amber Bardell and I chatted about life as a young creative. Described as a Multi-disciplinary artist, Amber works with mixed media paintings, experimental documentary film making, mural art, sound healing & much more.
As young creatives, some people struggle with calling themselves artists, but that's never been the case for Amber: "It came very naturally to me being an artist, everyone just said Amber was going to be an artist, it was a given." Throughout school and university, Amber was always actively seeking out new ways to express themselves and has since, discovered their way of working.
"As a maker, I follow my intuition before anything else. I don’t do a lot of planning, sometimes I actively go against it. I like to start my work with some immediacy, then have time to sit with it and discover where it will end up"
My path first crossed with Amber's, when they invited me to join 'GWAK!’. An online community of international artists run by young creatives with the aim to share their practice and learn from others. This was a project Amber helped grow for years, until it was archived in 2022. I was very curious to ask about the process of ending a project as there's a mentality that if a project ends, it is because it was not success. From someone who saw the growth and the community GWAK! built, I can easily say this was not the case.
“!GWAK became so much more than any of us anticipated. It came from a necessity to expand our creative circle but soon became an international community with a magazine, blog, film festival, an online residency, multiple exhibitions & really great connections between people.
In the end, as individuals, we no longer had the time to prioritise the upkeep and maintenance it required, so it became unsustainable. It was kind of heartbreaking but it’s always best to prioritise everyone’s wellbeing and respect the natural end of a project"
!GWAK was run as a non-profit & through volunteers, Amber reflects that if it had been run on more business-minded terms perhaps the outcome may have been different. However, those were not the initial priorities or Amber's skillset, therefore ending it when they did, felt natural. Recently, Amber echoed this when considering reapproaching a film treatment they had written at university. A piece that had felt incredibly relevant previously, but due to the pandemic, took a lot of cancellations:
"Perseverance can be so important when problem-solving to bring a project into fruition, but sometimes you just realise it’s not working. It’s okay to accept and move on to something else, you always bring what you’ve learned with you. Considering my wellbeing and drive to create has become so important to the way I work - I now know I can walk away. It is hard but ultimately, it's the right decision as now I am doing the work I want to be doing."
Personally, I love the freedom this mindset brings, as it reflects on the relationship you can have with what you create. Amber calls this their creative flow and has now focused their practice on further developing and sharing this feeling with others. This week, Amber is exhibiting their first solo show celebrating Art is Nourishment. Featuring expressive paintings, an experimental film and a sound bath event, you might even catch a hand poked tattoo session. Amber aims to introduce the public into their creative space, opening up the process.
"The goal is to share nourishing energy through the art. I’ve been creating from a place of joyful expressive release and I hope others will be moved to do the same
Art is often not accessible enough, so I want to share an open space for people to be around art and maybe even find their own flow"
Especially after the pandemic, Amber is discovering how to connect with people through creative experiences. One of the ways they aim to do this is through Sound Healing. This practice has allowed Amber to tap into a flow state that they hope to share with others.
"I wasn't sure what to expect from my first session but I found it to be the most restorative experience. I felt so creative and inspired that I knew this is the feeling I want to share with people & I instantly enquired about training"
Starting with a spoken guided meditation, then playing the singing bowls and other instruments, Amber fills the room with utter relaxation, allowing your mind to re-energise. The practice sits naturally with Amber's visual creative journey. As part of their exhibition, they will have a sound healing session, so if you're Bristol based, I'd highly recommend coming along for the experience on Sunday 11th September at 7pm.
Amber has only been pursuing their career for less than a year since leaving university and has already uncovered such a wealth of knowledge in they wish to pursue their future. I personally can't wait to see what's to come. Join us this Friday 9th September, for the private view of their exhibition and follow their process on social media and their newsletter, linked below.
Thank you so much for sharing your process with me, Amber and for everyone else spending time discovering new makers. Next week, we will be talking to Jess Strain all about grant schemes, business transparency & bucket hats.
Art is Nourishment Free entry at Centrespace Gallery
Sound Bath at Art is Nourishment £20 Sunday 11th at 7pm at Centrespace Gallery
Meditation Mondays Sound Bath £20 Monday 19th at 6pm at Made My Wardrobe Studio in Portland Square
One-to-One Sound healing session £40-£60
Amber Bardell: Website & Instagram
Exhibition Space: Centrespace
Interview & write-up by Ana Clark
Photographs & Artwork by Ana Clark, Amber Bardell & !GWAK Magazine