Amy D. Kotel-Swift.
Artist, Personal Trainer, Dancer, Mom, Wife, Friend, Muppet
I grew up on the North Shore and the middle of Long Island, NY. Before escaping at age 19, I had already began my illustrious career as an artist. HA! From a young age art was a therapeutic tool I used to avoid conversations and being bullied at school. Luckily for me, I was also was praised for my abilities, which made me want to pursue this passion more. This eventually lead me to audition and attend Long Island School For the Arts, my senior year of high school. While attending, I studied fine art and eventually landed at SUNY New Paltz, initially as an art education major. After a sudden intense chain of events that affected my family, I found the need to change degrees, eventually graduating with a BA in Women Studies and a minor in dance.
Since graduating I have gone back and forth between several different art disciplines. I toured professionally with a puppet company, I ran a peer education theater and a multi- art-displine farm camp. I danced professionally and taught dance, fine art, and theaters in traditional schools and in all kinds of nontraditional settings too. I often felt some guilt and lots of joy around the fact that I almost always love the work I am doing. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to try so many unique and interesting jobs throughout my life. Almost all have allowed me to explore my creativity, be of service to others and be somehow connected to nature.
While trying on many fun and interesting vocational hats, I also received my masters in education from Lesley University. At the same time I became a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer. I still work in that field and continue to get slews of certifications in the field, as time goes on. I find all the activity and socializing a lovely juxtapose to the stillness and inner focus I need to draw how I wish.
Since having my wonderful and talented offspring in 2011, I have had to lessen how I externally express my creativity and feelings. Initially, this change challenged my soul. About five years ago, I picked up colored pencils and started to create on paper again. While fine art feels very different from dance and puppetry, it still nurtures my creativity and expression equally well, just differently.I also find it grounding. I feel so grateful that fine art is once again a conduit of my creativity and a vehicle for my subconscious to become conscious. While I still dance when I have a chance, drawing has taken over almost all my free moments and this is a very good thing.
Utilizing colored pencils has worked for me on many levels. It’s portable and I can stop and start as much as needed. This works well when raising a very fast and strong willed young woman. I adore color and playing with hue and intensity. I appreciate the effect of layering colors. I feel free to express my emotions on paper, when it might not be helpful to express then around my child. Additionally, nature and the absurdity of being human are major theme of my work. Drawing nature as I like to see it, brings me peace, contentment, and centering. Visual stories of the human condition give me another chance to express my humor, the irony I see all around me and with in me, and the love of bodies, their expression and movement. There is so little I actually have power over and somehow drawing what irks me or what inspires me, gives me a false sense of power.
Since the pandemic, I have been finding circles creeping their way into my art… lots of them, slowly making the bigger picture. Drawing these tiny circles over and over, gives me more of that deceptive sense of control I desire, even if it is just in that moment.